The second season of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ got off to a running start earlier this month, and a big part of that was the shot in the arm that accompanied the addition of Captain Christopher Pike to the show’s core cast. Pike, of course, is famous in ‘Star Trek’ lore for having preceded Kirk as commander of the Enterprise (and for starring in the original series’ first pilot episode, ‘The Cage‘), and now that he’s finally joined the ranks of series regulars, the writers have been given a chance to flesh out the character a bit.
But while it’s long been a given that this season would be important to our growing understanding of Pike as a character, the question of how important these events would be to the character has remained an open question. Now, though, it’s looking like the answer might well be “very.” Speaking to CinemaBlend following a Television Critics Association panel, Pike actor Anson Mount approached the subject in broad terms, saying that Pike “goes through some major emotional challenges this season,” adding that he was “challenged as an actor on this job as much as I’ve ever been.”
But as much as that might pique one’s interest, it actually wasn’t the most intriguing part of Mount’s remarks. That came when the actor mentioned that in the course of this season, ‘Discovery’ will be “referencing canon associated with Pike, but probably not in the way that most people are imagining.” If that doesn’t raise your eyebrows, I don’t know what will.
If you’re in need of a refresher, prior to his appearances on ‘Discovery’, Pike was known for three things in the ‘Star Trek’ canon:
- He commanded the Enterprise before Kirk.
- Under his command, the Enterprise visited Talos IV, a planet later declared off limits by Starfleet. (See ‘The Cage’)
- An accident on a training mission left him crippled, dooming him to spend the rest of his days in a life support chair, capable of little more than answering “yes” and “no” questions. (See ‘The Menagerie’)
So that doesn’t really leave much to pull from. The Talos mission is about three years behind him, while the training accident takes place at some unspecified point after Kirk assumes command of the Enterprise, which itself is still the better part of a decade in the future. It’s certainly possible there could be a reference to ‘The Cage’ or something along those lines, as the events of that episode were something of a transformative experience for the captain. But an explicit reference to the only episode in which Pike plays a significant role (well, to the only one that has “happened” at this point) would probably be the least surprising thing the ‘Discovery’ writers could do.