Paul Wesley On Kirk’s Evolution Into ‘Strange New Worlds’ Season 3 And Readiness For His Own Series – TrekMovie.com

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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was nominated for six Saturn Awards, and actor Paul Wesley came away with the show’s only trophy, for his guest role as James T. Kirk in season 2. TrekMovie had a chance to talk to Paul (before and after he won) about his evolving performance as James T. Kirk, his return in season 3, and whether he is ready to step into the captain’s chair to star in his own Star Trek show.

You started off with one episode in season 1 and then three in season 2; did you feel like you needed that first one to get it under your belt to get used to it, and was it weird that even in your second time it wasn’t the “real” Kirk either?

Yeah, to be honest with you, what I liked was that it kind of wasn’t the real Kirk, in the first episode. So I was like, “Okay, let me get my footing, let me see what’s happening here,” because this is a Kirk that exists in an alternate reality. And I think once I got a little settled, then I approached season 2 in a completely different way and I was able to sort of maybe learn from those mistakes. And I love for me, Kirk evolves and Kirk is constantly evolving and he is evolving because he’s growing up. He’s not the Kirk that we know from The Original Series. So I’m able to just sort of do things that perhaps an actor wouldn’t be able to do if it was in the same exact time period. And so I’m really grateful that I can sort of gradually grow into the character.

Kirk is such an iconic character, but there is also a cliché of Kirk in popular culture. In season 2, your portrayal went in the other direction, leaning into how smart he was, playing chess and stuff like that. Was that something you researched about the character?

Yeah. There’s a great book called The Autobiography of James T. Kirk that I’ve read that actually goes into Kirk as—it humanizes him in many ways. And I’m not suggesting he wasn’t humanized in The Original Series, but there was something, he was very evolved. And it was very much an episodic show. And Kirk in season 1, episode 4 was very similar to the Kirk in season 2, episode 3. So, what I loved about The Autobiography of James T Kirk and what I loved about looking into canon and Memory Alpha and studying all those things was that Kirk really was sort of a bookworm. He was a very serious guy at times. And he also had a lot of charisma and all that, but I think I wanted to explore those layers and do something different. I wanted to do something that perhaps people didn’t automatically think of when they thought of James T. Kirk.

You are recurring again in season 3?

Yes.

More or less episodes than season 2?

I am not allowed to quite say.

Any fun Kirk/Scotty moments, now that he is there too?

Scotty’s there although I have not had any moments yet.

Celia Rose Gooding as Uhura and Paul Wesley as James T. Kirk in “Lost in Translation” (Paramount+)

Your recurring role could be seen as the longest backdoor pilot for your own show. Let’s say after a few years of Pike, [showrunner] Henry [Alonso Meyers] or whoever is like, “It’s time for you to take over.” Would you do a series regular starring role?

First of all, I would one hundred percent do a series regular starring role, one thousand percent. But I think Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, the pre [Kirk’s] Enterprise is so fascinating. It’s so well done. It’s a huge hit. Anson Mount is brilliant. I don’t think that show is going anywhere, I don’t want that show going anywhere anytime soon. I think it would be something that—who knows? Maybe it will happen, but I don’t think it would happen certainly any time in the next—I think there’s a long road to explore here with Strange New Worlds and I’m just really happy to be a part of it.

Pike, as they say, has a hard out, as it were…

[Laughs] That is true. He does have a hard out. But who knows? I don’t know when that is, do you know what I mean? But yes, he does have a hard out, as we all know. [Laughs]

And if and when that happens, are you ready to step into the big chair?

I’m ready but also very happy to be where I am now exploring Kirk on Strange New Worlds.

Paul Wesley with his Saturn Award for Best Guest Performance (Saturn Awards)

QUICK CHAT WITH PAUL IN THE PRESS ROOM AFTER HE WON THE SATURN AWARD

Congratulations on the award, did you expect this?

[Laughs] No. First of all, I wasn’t expecting the nomination, and I certainly wasn’t expecting to win. It might be a clerical error, I’m not sure. Yeah, I’m just blown away and honored.

This is your first Saturn? Did you win for Vampire Diaries?

No. I won a People’s Choice Award and I won a Teen Choice Award, but never a Saturn. I hate to say it, but this is much cooler.

I know you had done Vampire Diaries conventions, but now you are doing Star Trek cons…

Yeah, I did one actually and Bill [Shatner] was there in in Las Vegas with my buddies over at Creation Entertainment and it was so cool, because just totally different crowd. It’s a totally different, obviously more adult, and they talk to you from a very sort of intellectual place. And they really want to share sort of ideas and opinions with you. It’s much less sort of—for lack of a better word—like fanboy or fangirl. It’s much more, “Hey let’s talk about this character” and why this character is so important to me and to you and to and for everyone. It’s a totally different energy.

William Shatner with Paul Wesley and Dan Jeannotte at STLV 2023 (Photo: Jon Spencer/TrekMovie.com)

More red carpet interviews from the Saturn Awards

TrekMovie spoke to more Star Trek presenters, nominees, and winners at the Saturn Awards so come back for more interviews and updates.

Check out our earlier Saturn Awards interviews:

Doug Jones on Discovery

Tawny Newsome on Lower Decks and Starfleet Academy

Terry Matalas on Picard season 3 and hopes for Legacy

Nicolas Cage’s desire to be in Star Trek

Danai Gurira’s almost casting for Star Trek 4

You can hear audio from these interviews and more in the latest All Access Star Trek podcast.


Keep up with news for the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.

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