This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe. An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
Welcome back to Character Insight! This week, we continue reviewing the characters of the Abrams timeline with Captain Christopher Pike.
Pike is the Captain of the new flagship the U.S.S. Enterprise during the time when James Kirk and his future crewmates go through Starfleet. Indeed, Pike is the driving force behind convincing the Kirk of this timeline to leave his podunk Iowa life and shoot for the stars like his late father George did. Although Pike challenges Kirk on many occasions, he is a mentor and friend that was vital to Kirk's development as a true Captain deserving of the command chair.
Pike sees the great potential in young Kirk even when many others see nothing but brashness and inexperience, and that leads Pike to promote Kirk and to rally behind him when others in power (including Spock) would send him to the brig or back to the Academy for more training. By continuously taking the volatile Kirk under his wing, Pike instills wisdom into the new captain that sinks in just in time before John Harrison murders many Starfleet leaders including Pike in the beginning of Into Darkness.
Pike rose to the rank of Captain in just four years, which was the fastest anybody had achieved that feat until Kirk came along. Pike challenged the young potential cadet to do better than his father and himself, and Kirk does just that by taking over the flagship as Captain in a mere three years. Pike also has the distinction of being the first major Starfleet character to die and stay dead in the Abrams Timeline (too bad we didn't have some extra magic blood laying around...).
Assuming a third movie is made, it will be interesting to see how Kirk grows without the steady hand of Christopher Pike at his side. Spock will eventually have to stop relying on Spock Prime, but at least his mentor is still around when required.
One similarity with the Pike in the prime timeline is that the character gets badly injured enough to be put in a wheelchair, Abrams timeline Pike by Nero's torture and the Prime timeline Pike by a baffle plate explosion and delta particle radiation poisoning. Pike meets a grim end in both timelines, although his importance as a mentor and possible father figure to Kirk in the Abrams timeline makes him much more critical than just being the predecessor to Kirk.
Our notable quote this week comes from Star Trek 09:
""Your father was captain of a starship for twelve minutes. He saved
eight hundred lives, including your mother's and yours. I dare you to do
Actor: Bruce Greenwood took on the role of Pike in the Abrams timeline. Greenwood had been previously known for many television appearances over the past three decades as well as roles in I, Robot and Deja Vu.
Until next time, live long and prosper...