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Anson Mount Doesn't Know Why Captain Pike Had Such An Actively Curious Fanbase - Exclusive

Anson Mount now stars as Dr. Ford Strauss in the new drama "MK Ultra," but when he's not portraying a scientist disaffected with clandestine and illegal CIA projects, the star is known for his excellence in the role of a particular starship captain. The original "Star Trek" series pilot saw an entirely different captain from James T. Kirk at the helm of the Enterprise, Captain Christopher Pike (Jeffrey Hunter), before Hunter pulled away from the project. Despite the character's unfortunately brief inclusion in the original "Trek," Pike stayed in the head of Trekkies worldwide and became a mysterious but important part of official "Star Trek" lore.

In "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds," Mount brings Captain Christopher Pike once again to our screens, taking the Enterprise crew on missions to boldly go where the Federation has never gone before. It's a wonderful addition to the "Star Trek" universe, and Mount is captivating as the principled and quick-thinking captain. In a new exclusive interview, we spoke with him about the deep historical interest in Pike in advance of the series' second season — and he shared that the longstanding curiosity the "Star Trek" fanbase had about Captain Pike continues to be a mystery for him.

Why do Star Trek fans find Captain Pike so engaging?

With one season of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" firmly under his Starfleet-regulation belt, Anson Mount is still floored by his presence in the long-running franchise's newest series. "It's the longest that a job has remained surreal to me," he explained. "Literally every single day, I'm stunned by the fact that I'm not only on 'Star Trek,' but I'm the captain of the Enterprise." The project means so much to him in part because it was a part of his childhood. "I was an early 'Trek' fan, a young 'Trek' fan, and it was my make-believe game as a kid," he clarified. Now, he has the opportunity "to be able to fill out a piece of history in the canon that everybody is so curious about."

Mount went on to discuss how interesting it is that "of all of the minor characters in 'Trek' canon," it is Pike that's provoked so many decades of fan intrigue. "I don't know why — I'm not sure anybody knows why — Captain Pike has that special place [or] why people are so curious about him," he noted. "Maybe because he's Roddenberry's original vision of what the Starfleet Captain should be — maybe that has something to do with it. The tragedy of losing Jeffrey Hunter so young probably plays into it as well," Mount theorized, given that the tragedy might have fuelled both sympathy and wonder from fans about what could have been. 

Regardless of the ease or difficulty of diagnosing said popularity, Mount concluded that playing Captain Pike "is one of the things I'm most grateful for in my career so far. It does come with a tremendous sense of responsibility and mischief." He expressed his hopes that "we get to tell the whole thing," finally getting to explore Captain Pike's curious character history throughout the show. They'll almost certainly get their chance, with a second season on the way and no clear end in sight.

"MK Ultra" is available in select theaters and on VOD. Season 2 of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" will premiere in 2023.