StarTrek.com and Paramount+ announced today that a new man would be stepping into the iconic uniform of James Tiberius Kirk, initially played by William Shatner in Star Trek: The Original Series. James T. Kirk 2.0 Edition is none other than long-time Star Trek Universe fan Paul Wesley, who will be playing the iconic captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
Wesley is best known for starring as Stefan Salvatore in eight seasons of the supernatural drama series The Vampire Diaries on CW, one of the network’s most-watched shows. He also earned two People’s Choice Award nominations for his work on the series—and let’s be honest, being a likable guy is a prerequisite for playing the dashing (and often shirtless) Captain Kirk.
In 2018, he was also featured in Paramount+’s series Tell Me a Story, created by Kevin Williamson. In addition to joining the cast of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Wesley is in the upcoming horror film for Shudder, History of Evil, and Lifetime’s Flowers in the Attic: The Origin, based on V.C. Andrews’ Dollanganger series.
“Paul is an accomplished actor, an astonishing presence, and a welcome key addition to the show,” executive producer Alex Kurtzman and showrunners/executive producers Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers said in a joint statement. “Like all of us, he is a life-long Star Trek fan, and we are excited by his interpretation of this iconic role.”
Paul Wesley is Deeply Humbled to Play Captain Kirk
Captain James T. Kirk was the original captain to “boldly go where no man has gone before” in Star Trek’s first episode, “The Man Trap,” in 1966. Shatner voiced the role for the show’s three seasons in Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and six subsequent films. Each time he appeared on-screen in the early years, the costume team had to have multiple uniforms on hand for filming because if one thing was consistent about young Kirk, he liked to lose his shirt.
However, now a new actor is taking over the part, as well as the iconic costume malfunctions? Immediately after the news broke, Wesley took to Twitter to share his excitement about the news. He was tweeting that he was a long-time fan of the series and sharing a fun anecdote about meeting the older version of himself. What a time travel episode already?!
He tweeted, “I am deeply humbled and still a little startled to have been given the honor of playing the inimitable James T Kirk. 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.”