Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Star Paul Wesley Speaks Out on Taking Over Captain Kirk Role

On Tuesday, Paramount+ announced that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds has officially found its James T. Kirk in Vampire Diaries and Tell Me a Story star Paul Wesley with the actor joining the series in its already-greenlit second season to take on the role originated by William Shatner in Star Trek: The Original Series and also played by Chris Pine in the currently-running series of live-action Star Trek films. News of the casting was met by a great deal of fan excitement and now Wesley himself is speaking out, sharing his admiration for Star Trek as well as sharing a story about a recent encounter with Shatner that he feels was more than coincidence.

"I am deeply humbled and still a little startled to have been given the honor of playing the inimitable James T. Kirk," Wesley wrote in a post on Twitter. "Ever since I was a kid, I have been awed by the imaginative world Gene Roddenberry created. Recently, I boarded a flight to LA to discover that the man in the empty seat beside me was the one and only William Shatner, having himself just returned from space. I could barely put two words together but ultimately I managed to say hello and we chatted. I'm not one who usually believes in fate but this was more than a coincidence. And of course I had to get a picture. So thanks Mr. Shatner for the good company. And for seating us together, my thanks to the great bird in the sky. Can't wait for all of you to see our Captain Kirk on your screens."

Wesley is best known for playing Stefan Salvatore across the eight-season run of The Vampire Diaries, as well as stints on Smallville, Tell Me a Story, and Army Wives. He has also become a prolific director and producer, with episodes of Roswell, New Mexico and Shadowhunters.

"Paul is an accomplished actor, an astonishing presence and a welcome key addition to the show. Like all of us, he is a life-long Star Trek fan and we are excited by his interpretation of this iconic role," Alex Kurtzman, Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers said in a statement.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds brings back fan-favorite stars Star Trek: Discovery Season 2: Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike, Rebecca Romijn as Number One, and Ethan Peck as Science Officer Spock. The series follows Pike, Spock, and Number One before Captain Kirk's command of the USS. Enterprise, as they explore new worlds across the galaxy. The series also stars Jess Bush as Nurse Christine Chapel, Christina Chong as La'an Noonien-Singh, Celia Rose Gooding as Cadet Nyota Uhura, Melissa Navia as Lt. Erica Ortegas, and Babs Olusanmokun as Dr. M'Benga.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will stream exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., Latin America, Australia, and the Nordics. The series will air on Bell Media's CTV Sci-Fi Channel and stream on Crave in Canada, with additional announcements about international availability still forthcoming. Paramount Global Content Distribution distributes the series. 

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will debut on Paramount+ on May 5th.

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