Who is Captain Pike in Star Trek?

Ian Sandwell
Photo credit: CBS via Getty Images

From Digital Spy

Warning: Contains spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery's season one finale.

After a season of fans worrying about its place in the canon, Star Trek: Discovery delivered a huge moment at the end of its season one finale.

Having successfully brought an end to the Federation-Klingon War and been rightly lauded by the Federation, the crew of the USS Discovery were happily on their way to Vulcan to meet their new captain when their journey was interrupted by a distress signal.

And if you haven't seen it yet, spoilers follow after the photo.

"Hail's from Captain Pike, sir," Lieutenant junior grade RA Bruce (Ronnie Rowe Jr) announced, leading Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) to add: "It's the USS Enterprise."

Now even the most casual non-Star Trek botherer knows what the USS Enterprise is, but since Discovery has definitely introduced a whole new set of fans to the universe, there's a chance that the name Captain Pike won't hold any significance.

So, helpful as we are, we thought we'd round up what is established in Star Trek canon about Captain Christopher Pike.

1. He's the second USS Enterprise captain

Star Trek: The Animated Series revealed that Captain Robert April preceded Captain Pike in command of the USS Enterprise, who of course was then followed by the one and only Captain James T Kirk.

There have previously been some canon issues over Captain April, including from Gene Roddenberry, but Discovery seemed to solve all those (more on that later).

2. He's not been in the show much

If circumstances were different, we might never have heard of Captain Kirk, as it was actually Captain Pike in charge of the USS Enterprise in the original pilot episode of Star Trek: The Original Series.

Sadly for actor Jeffrey Hunter, 'The Cage' wasn't aired (at the time, anyway) and when Star Trek officially hit the screens, Pike was nowhere to be seen and William Shatner had taken Hunter's place as Captain Kirk.

We did, however, see Hunter's Captain Pike in season one's two-part episode 'The Menagerie' where he wasn't in the best of shape. Having been promoted to fleet captain, Pike suffered radiation damage as he rescued cadets on training vessel USS Republic, leaving him paralysed in a wheelchair and unable to speak. For these scenes, Pike was played by Sean Kenney.

But the episode sees scenes from 'The Cage' used as flashbacks during a court trial after Spock makes secret plans to take Pike to Talos IV. This turns out to all be an illusion and Pike is invited to spend the rest of his life among the Talosians "unfettered by his natural body". How nice.

3. He's got a comic book series though

Marvel's short-lived Star Trek: Early Voyages comic book series was actually set around the same time as Discovery and followed the USS Enterprise under the command of Captain Pike, but it was unfortunately cancelled after 17 issues with a cliffhanger to resolve.

Pike has also appeared in various canon and non-canon novels and comic books, such as Vulcan's Glory by The Original Series script writer DC Fontana.

4. He's crossed paths with Michael Burnham before

Photo credit: CBS

Star Trek: Discovery tie-in novel Desperate Hours is set in 2055, one year after 'The Cage' and one year before the start of Discovery. It sees the USS Enterprise team up with the USS Shenzhou to protect a Federation colony, including Burnham working with her foster brother Spock.

That could explain the knowing look from Burnham in the season finale, but there's every chance this novel won't be considered canon, even though it is officially licensed. We'll have to wait until season two to find out.

5. He's a decorated captain with a medal named after him

Whatever he got up to in charge of the Enterprise, we do know that Captain Pike is well respected in the Federation, thanks to Discovery.

In 'Choose Your Pain', we saw Saru do a search of famous Starfleet captains, bringing up a list of five decorated captains: Robert April, Jonathan Archer, Matthew Decker, Philippa Georgiou and Christopher Pike.

Photo credit: Netflix / CBS

Not only that, he has a medal named after him. The Christopher Pike Medal of Valour is given to Starfleet officers who have excelled in the line of duty, such as displaying acts of personal bravery like Captain Benjamin Sisko in the battle to retake Deep Space 9.

6. He's dead in the Mirror Universe

We might not have seen Pike again in the original series after 'The Menagerie', but we did hear about him in season two episode 'Mirror, Mirror'. Well, the mirror version of him anyway.

Apparently, in the Mirror Universe, Captain Kirk assassinated Pike to take over control of the ISS Enterprise. You mean, it wasn't enough that he took over his whole show as well?

7. He's dead in the Kelvin timeline too

Honestly, Captain Pike really doesn't have the best luck. In the alternate "Kelvin" timeline created by JJ Abrams's rebooted 2009 movie, Pike (played by Bruce Greenwood) takes Kirk (Chris Pine) under his wing, which is fortunate since Kirk later rescues him after he's taken prisoner by Nero.

Pike is not so lucky in Star Trek Into Darkness, however, as even though he's recovering from the injuries caused by Nero's torture, he is killed during a meeting with Starfleet commanders after John Harrison – otherwise known as KHAAAAAAN – carries out a terrorist attack.

There's a chance Greenwood could reprise the role in Star Trek: Discovery as the timelines synch up, but we reckon they'll probably recast instead.

8. He's fond of his mother's chicken tuna sandwiches

Just in case you were wondering.

Want up-to-the-minute entertainment news and features? Just hit 'Like' on our Digital Spy Facebook page and 'Follow' on our @digitalspy Twitter account and you're all set.

You Might Also Like