Starring Jeffrey Hunter, Majel Barrett and Susan Oliver, The Cage was the first pilot episode of Star Trek. It was commissioned by NBC Studios, who then rejected it once they saw the finished project, deeming it to be 'too cerebral'. In a rare move, they commissioned a second pilot, which would be 'Where No Man Has Gone Before.'
However, fifty five years after this failed pilot was written off by the studio, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is set to take up the story of Captain Pike and his crew.
While this is largely thanks to the wonderful performances by Anson Mount, Rebecca Romijn and Ethan Peck on Star Trek Discovery, it is also a testament to the timeless ideas introduced in that first hour, all those years ago. The Cage introduced a broken Captain, with an aversion to inclusion and a fantastical Star Ship that had just broken the time barrier.
The blueprints for much of what the Star Trek franchise would become are all there in that first episode, which is really rather wonderful. The subsequent thirty four seasons of Star Trek (to date) have all, in some way, held on to the ideas, the technology and the presentations that were present in The Cage.
As the franchise now warps toward its eleventh iteration, including the animated Lower Decks and the as-yet unproduced Section 31, it is an excellent time to travel back to Talos IV and revisit Star Trek's first Captain.
Writer. Reader. Podcast Host. I'm Seán, I live in Ireland and I'm the poster child for dangerous obsessions with Star Trek. Check out my weekly podcast on all things....well all things film! https://anchor.fm/sean-ferrick