Spock And Kirk's First Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Meeting Is Something The Writers Are Taking Very Seriously

In the first season finale of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds," titled "A Quality of Mercy," Captain Pike (Anson Mount) is transported about seven years into the future thanks to exposure to some Klingon Time Crystals. He finds himself inserted into the events of the original series "Star Trek" episode "Balance of Terror," and faces off against a mysterious Romulan captain. Pike, more committed to diplomacy than Kirk ever was, manages to talk his way through the situation and ... almost ... makes it out unscathed. 

In this alternate future, Kirk (Paul Wesley) is in command of a ship called the U.S.S. Farragut, and aids Pike during the crisis. Kirk, true to form, is a little more aggressive and has more of a mind for tactics than diplomacy. Kirk also meets Spock (Ethan Peck) for the first time, a dramatic event for Trekkies who have seen the characters as best friends since 1966. Although, in "Strange New Worlds," the occasion is less than auspicious. This was, after all, an alternate timeline. Kirk and Spock's first meeting was also dramatized in the 2009 "Star Trek" feature film wherein Kirk (Chris Pine) was grilled by Starfleet Academy after cheating on the notorious Kobayashi Maru test. Spock was the Academy's envoy. But, again, alternate universe.

The first proper meeting of Kirk and Spock from the central "Star Trek" canon has yet to be staged. According to TVLine, however, this event will happen in the second season of "Strange New Worlds," where a young Kirk, still a lieutenant on the Farragut, will meet Spock on Pike's Enterprise. The meeting gave the show's writers some headaches, however. For fans, this will be a significant event. For the characters, they're just meeting. How will the showrunners manage this balance of terror? 

Fan service

It's worth noting that Kirk's brother Sam is already a semi-regular on "Strange New Worlds" as a lieutenant, played by Dean Jeannotte. Indeed, the vast bulk of the "Strange New Worlds" characters are so-called "legacy" figures. Number One, Uhura, Spock, Pike, Dr. M'Benga, Sam Kirk, and Nurse Chapel all appeared on Trek back in the '60s, and La'an Noonien Singh is the granddaughter of Khan from "Space Seed" and "Star Trek II." The only wholly original character on the cast is Lt. Ortegas played by Melissa Navia. There was also the grumpy engineer Lt. Hemmer, played by Bruce Horak, but he was killed by a Xenomorph. I mean a Gorn. 

Despite an Enterprise loaded with familiar names, "Strange New Worlds" has — "A Quality of Mercy" notwithstanding — been mercifully ginger with its fan service. The stories and scenarios don't rely on Trekkies' familiarity with vast "Trek" canon, nor does the show require remembering details from 55-year-old episodes to obtain a stale, nostalgic thrill. In classic Trek fashion, "Strange New Worlds" sticks to the basics: There is a new problem every week, and intelligent people suss out a way to solve it. 

The first meeting of Spock and Kirk appears to be rolling with the fan service angle, but co-showrunner Henry Alonso Myers is aware of where Kirk lives on the "Strange New Worlds" timeline, and understands that treating the character right takes precedence over everything. He said that Kirk is "not yet the person who he is going to be. He has some stuff to figure out before he becomes that person." 

Slash fiction

It seems that the showrunners of "Strange New Worlds" are attempting to actively skew away from what might be called Star Wars Prequel Syndrome. The "Star Wars" prequel films (the ones released from 1999 to 2005) were a pointed Darth Vader origin story, declaring the character to be a vital linchpin in the construction of the very galaxy. Going back to the original 1977 feature film, however, Darth Vader was a striking villain, but was little more than a mystical cog in a bigger story. He wasn't yet elected Space Jesus. Fandom tends to expand the importance of favorite characters, making them celebrities in their own worlds. 

This also happened with "Star Trek" — albeit to a lesser degree — as Captain Kirk became a notable legend in future generations of the show. Kirk, however, also retained his mortality, cited as but one notable captain of many. Kirk is important, yes, but "Trek" has always kept him on the ground, as it were. As such, constructing a "legendary" moment for fans will require the utmost care. There will be a dangerous temptation to make Kirk's and Spock's first meeting into something enormous, something full of catchphrases and references. Myers admits that a lot needed to go into it, and promises something notable:

"We think about it every day. In the moment, when they finally meet, we absolutely make a big moment of it and hope people will enjoy what we come up with."

Although, how fun would it have been if Kirk and Spock shook hands, made mild, indifferent note of the other, and went their separate ways? Turn the moment into an anticlimax. That would be amazing.