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Let’s Hit It: Every Version of Captain Christopher Pike, Mercilessly Ranked

Get out your tricorder and mousse up that hair, it's time for Pike.

Anson Mount as Captain Pike in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season one came in this year with phasers set to stunning! The new series (a spin-off of Star Trek: Discovery) perfectly blended the best of old Trek tropes and new. This version of the Enterprise crew was having a blast and I was having a blast watching them! And because Strange New Worlds has blessed us with this young new cast playing familiar old favorites, it is only proper that we look back upon all their former iterations. And rank them. Mercilessly. 

And by that of course, I mean that we are going to dive back through the annals of time to look back at every Captain Pike who has ever donned a Starfleet uniform and graced our screen. Which Pikes nailed that captainly essence and which struggled to…“hit it?” Buckle up and let’s find out. Here’s every version of Captain Pike, ranked. Until the second season of Strange New Worlds debuts that is…

4. Sean Kenney in Star Trek: The Original Series 

Captain Pike, wounded, in his medical chair
(Image: CBS)

To be honest, Sean Kenney’s portrayal as the catastrophically injured Pike from the classic Original Series episode “The Menagerie” is iconic. It is the version of Pike that, until recently, is fixed in my brain as the definitive image of the Enterprise’s second captain (technically Robert April was the first). His ominous black chair, his burned face, his little beep-boops. “One for yes and two for no” plays on a loop in my mind to this day. He is where every Pike is fated to end up, and we have already begun seeing our current Pike (Anson Mount) struggling to accept his future.

Kenney actually came in to play Pike in “The Menagerie” because the original Pike, Jeffrey Hunter, withdrew from the show after the original pilot was not picked up for series! However, the episode uses extensive footage from the unaired pilot to build out Pike’s backstory and Kenney is only seen as the post accident Pike. And so, while it is an iconic Star Trek moment, he gets last on this list because, well, all he does is sit there.

3. Bruce Greenwood in Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Bruce Greenwood as Captain Pike in Star Trek (2009)
(Image: Paramount)

Oh that dang Kelvin-verse. Greenwood is actually pretty solid as the Captain Pike of JJ Abram’s Star Trek and its follow-up Into Darkness. In Abram’s alternate timeline films, Kirk joins the Enterprise while Pike is still captain, and Pike, being the one to convince Kelvin-Kirk to join Starfleet in the first place, ends up as a mentor to the brash young Starfleet cadet. 

Greenwood’s performance as the original Star Trek daddy is great, however, he’s hampered by Abram’s frustratingly nonsensical scripts. On a larger level, Abrams is great at giving big, fun, bombastic explosions and space fights, but he also has Pike promote Kirk from cadet straight to First Officer. I know this is movie logic, but it’s still a wild leap! And don’t even get me started on Into Darkness! A film that Abrams even admitted was more of “a few sequences written by friends” than an actual story! It’s not Greenwood’s fault. But he goes in at number 3.

2. Jeffrey Hunter in Star Trek: The Original Series 

Captain Pike fighting a Talosian in the Star Trek unaired pilot
(Image: CBS)

OOOooie. Yes. The original. He’s handsome, he’s commanding, and he was almost never seen! Jeffrey Hunter played Pike in the original unaired pilot of Star Trek titled “The Cage.”  “The Cage” centered around Pike and his crew being lured into a trap by Talosians (an alien race with very large noggins) who want Pike and their other captured human, Vina, to breed a race of slaves for them. When Pike and Vina prove that humans despise captivity too much to be useful, they let them go.  

However, when the pilot was not picked up by NBC (they ordered a new pilot with several changes) Hunter decided to leave the show to go back to his film career. (Which would, unfortunately, be the cause of his premature death.) This is how we ended up with William Shatner as Captain Kirk! The show would eventually use a lot of footage from the pilot in their two-part episode “The Menagerie,” as a way to reintroduce Captain Pike. The full pilot was not released until 1986, as a VHS special, and was made up of the clips used in “The Menagerie” and Gene Roddenberry’s personal black and white workprint! He was the first! He was the blueprint! However, there is one Pike that trumps him…

1. Anson Mount in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Christopher Pike in his captain's chair
(Image: James Dimmock/Paramount+ )

Let’s be real. We all knew Mount would claim the top Pike billing! Ever since he was first introduced in season two of Star Trek: Discovery, fans have been clamoring for more of Captain Pike and his Enterprise crew. Mount’s Pike is confident and commanding, but there is a familial gentleness to him that really works. He is like a cross between Captain Kirk and Captain Janeway, a combo that you might never expect, but is actually great. In a sense, he is both the “dad” and the “daddy” of Strange New Worlds. And while at first, I groaned that Discovery introduced his fated sacrifice too early, I have actually enjoyed watching Mount’s Pike grapple with the knowledge while still trying to captain his ship in the best way possible. It’s a performance that can only get better as Pike works his way towards acceptance.

Plus, his silver bouffant is next level. It gets taller with each episode and I am living for it. I hope by the end of the season it touches the ceiling!

(Image: Paramount+)

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Brittany is a lifelong Californian (it's a big state, she can't find her way out!) who currently resides in sunny Los Angeles with her gigantic, vaguely cat-shaped companion Gus. If you stumble upon her she might begin proselytizing about Survivor, but give her an iced coffee and she will calm down.