Rare interview with Trek's 1st Captain reveals hopes for a series

Before Capt. James T. Kirk was at the helm of the U.S.S. Starship Enterprise, there was Capt. Christopher Pike, played by the late Jeffrey Hunter. The actor played the now-iconic role in the original un-aired 1964 Star Trek TV pilot, titled "The Cage," which now serves as some sort of prequel to TOS.

Hunter died in 1969, way way way before there were Star Trek conventions. So the fans never really had the chance to hear the late actor's opinions on the sci-fi series.

Until now.

In a rare January 1965 interview that was reprinted in Starlog Magazine, Hunter told a Hollywood columnist how he hoped "The Cage" would be picked up as a series.

Thanks to Trek Web, we now have a few excerpts from this rare and fascinating interview.

"We run into pre-historic worlds, contemporary societies and civilizations far more developed than our own. It's a great format because writers have a free hand — they can have us land on a monster infested planet, or deal in human relations involving the large number of people who live in this gigantic ship."

"We should know within several weeks whether the show has been sold. It will be an hour long, in color, with a regular cast of a half-dozen or so and an important guest star each week. The things that intrigues me the most is that it is actually based on the Rand Corporation's projection of things to come. Except for the fictional characters, it will be like getting a look into the future and some of the predictions will surely come true in our lifetime."

"With all the weird surroundings of outer space, the basic underlying theme of the show is a phylosophical approach to man's relationship to woman. There are both sexes in the crew and, in fact, the first officer is a woman ['Number One' played by Majel Barrett]"

 

As some of you may know, the pilot was deemed too cerebral by the studio and was scrapped before a brand-new and more "action-packed" pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (the episode that features a certain Gary Mitchell) with William Shatner as Kirk, was shot. However, the new pilot aired as the third episode in the regular series, after "The Man Trap" and "Charlie X."

What remained of the original pilot was then later re-used in the two-part season-one episode "The Menagerie," and the character of Pike—now played by Bruce Greenwood—was successfully rebooted in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek films and is more popular than ever.

What do you think about Hunter's vision for the series? And how about his comment that the show was a "philosophical approach to man's relationship to woman?" Do you think it fits with what Star Trek—Gene Roddenberry's "Wagon Train to the stars"—became just two years later, when the show first aired in late September 1966?

(via Trek Web)