This page contains information regarding Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and thus may contain spoilers.
Fleet Captain Christopher Pike was a 23rd century male Human Federation Starfleet officer who was perhaps best known for serving as the commander of the USS Enterprise. During his service, Pike was considered to be one of the most highly decorated starship captains in Starfleet history. (ST: "Q&A"; DIS: "Choose Your Pain", "Brother"; TOS: "The Cage", "The Menagerie, Part I")
- 1 Early life
- 2 Starfleet career
- 2.1 Starfleet Academy
- 2.2 Early postings and assignments
- 2.3 Commanding the USS Enterprise
- 2.4 Commanding the USS Discovery
- 2.5 Return to Enterprise
- 2.6 Passing the torch
- 2.7 Tragic fate
- 2.8 Return to Talos
- 3 Legacy
- 4 Intellect and personality
- 5 Awards and honors
- 6 Vitality
- 7 Relationships
- 8 Key dates
- 9 Appendices
- 9.1 Appearances
- 9.2 Background information
- 9.3 Rewriting the part
- 9.4 Recasting the part
- 9.5 Apocrypha
- 9.6 External links
Pike was born in the city of Mojave on Earth in the early 2200s. (DIS: "Saints of Imperfection") As a child, Pike had two horses – Tango and Mary Lou – which he rode through parkland that surrounded the city. (TOS: "The Cage", "The Menagerie, Part I")
Pike's father was a science teacher, and when he wasn't teaching science, he taught comparative religion. Because of that, it led to a very confusing household for Pike, causing Pike and his father to not agree on much. (DIS: "New Eden") At one point during his childhood, Pike heard a fable that described Hell-Fire, something that he carried with him into his adulthood. (TOS: "The Cage")
He was part of the graduating class of 3201.14. He also met Philippa Georgiou, who during their time at the Academy, was able to drink Pike and their fellow cadets under the table. (DIS: "Brother", "Saints of Imperfection")
Early postings and assignments
As an ensign, Pike served as a security officer. During an encounter with a Nausicaan, Pike drew his phaser and ran after the pants-less Nausicaan. After tripping during the pursuit, he discovered that he had been entangled in the Nausicaan's pants. Following the encounter, Pike's lieutenant pulled him aside and told Pike that maybe a career path in security wasn't for him. (SNW: "Children of the Comet")
Pike went on to serve on three Federation starships, the USS Antares, the USS Chatelet, and the USS Aryabhatta, before being assigned to the USS Enterprise as Captain Robert April's first officer. (DIS: "Brother")
Commanding the USS Enterprise
Losing Lynne Lucero
Sometime during his tenure as captain of the Enterprise, Pike oversaw the transfer of Lynne Lucero from the Enterprise to the USS Cabot as Lucero was taking command of the Cabot. He noted in his captain's log that the Cabot were lucky to have her. (ST: "The Trouble with Edward")
Testing Thira Sidhu
Pike also participated in a simulation, designed by Chin-Riley, to test Cadet Thira Sidhu's suitability to serve on the Enterprise during her evaluation; he was brought handcuffed and masked to Inventory Two on Starbase 28 as a mutineer. Pike told her that the station was under attack by Tholians and ordered her to release him; Cadet Sidhu stood her ground, going so far as to threaten to shoot the captain. This prompted Pike to reveal the situation to be simulated to test her resolve in a difficult situation. Pike then escorted Sidhu aboard the Enterprise and revealed her new assignment: engineering aboard the Enterprise. (ST: "Ask Not")
Meeting the Talosians
Four years after assuming command of the Enterprise, Pike led a landing party to Rigel VII. On this mission, the group was attacked by the Kalar, and Pike himself was trapped by one of the warriors in an abandoned fortress. Three crewmen, including Pike's own yeoman, were killed, while an additional seven, including Spock, were injured, some severely. The loss weighed heavily on Pike; with all the strain and overwork that followed, he began to question his own continuance as starship commander. The Enterprise then set out for Vega colony to hospitalize the sick and injured. (TOS: "The Cage")
En route to the Vega colony, the Enterprise intercepted an old-style radio-interference distress call carrying the call letters of the SS Columbia, a survey expedition from the American Continent Institute which had been lost in the Talos star group in 2236. At Pike's reluctant command, the Enterprise diverted and traced the signal to a crash site on Talos IV. After an initial encounter with supposed survivors, including an out-of-place young beauty named Vina, it was revealed that the native Talosians had used telepathy to create the illusion of an encampment; all the survivors except Vina were dead.
Pike was overpowered and kidnapped, and placed in a Talosian menagerie. There, the Talosians attempted to manipulate him into mating with Vina, to create a population of illusion-controlled Human servants. Due to the Talosians' telepathy, Pike was forced to relive old memories and placed in illusory scenarios of lives he could have, if he abandoned his career as a starship captain. The scenarios included reliving the fight on Rigel VII, a picnic in parkland near Mojave with his two horses, and an illusory day in the life of an Orion slave-trader dealing in green animal women. Pike refused to mate with Vina, so the Talosians began to take steps to convince him to breed with other females of his crew; to this end, Yeoman J.M. Colt and Chin-Riley, were captured.
Inside his cell, Pike managed to capture and hold captive The Keeper. Pike then threatened to break the Talosian's neck if he resisted, and all the illusions ceased from that point forward. Escaping with the others to the outside of the Talosian complex, Pike had Chin-Riley set a laser to overload, in an effort to make a statement to the Talosians about holding Humans captive. Indeed, the Talosians believed this violent reaction made Humans unsuitable for breeding. Vina's true appearance was then revealed, and Pike convinced the Talosians to restore her illusion of health and beauty while letting him and his crew members go free. Although the experience with the illusory worlds restored Pike's confidence in his command, it was recommended that all contact with the Talosians' powers be restricted. General Order 7 was enacted, threatening the death penalty should anyone travel there, for fear of the Federation falling to illusory indulgence. (TOS: "The Menagerie, Part I", "The Menagerie, Part II")
Sitting out the Klingon War
At the outbreak of the Federation-Klingon War in 2256, the Enterprise was engaged in a five-year mission and was ordered to remain on mission by Starfleet, held out of combat in reserve as a last resort. Missing the war took a toll on Pike and the rest of his crew. (DIS: "Brother")
Investigating the red bursts
As the war wound down in 2257, Spock took an unspecified leave of absence from Starfleet and voluntarily admitted himself to receive psychiatric care aboard Starbase 5, a fact that Spock requested Pike keep from his father, Sarek, and his foster sister, Michael Burnham. (DIS: "Brother", "New Eden")
Following end of the Klingon War in 2257 and the detection of seven red bursts across the galaxy, Starfleet ordered Pike to investigate the location of the only burst which could be traced. When the Enterprise suffered a catastrophic systems failure en route, Pike issued a priority one distress call that was picked up by the USS Discovery. (DIS: "Will You Take My Hand?", "Brother")
Commanding the USS Discovery
Rescuing the Hiawatha crew
During the encounter with the interstellar asteroid at the location of a red burst, Pike led a landing party to the USS Hiawatha. His landing pod was hit by debris, forcing him to eject using a malfunctioning exo-suit, after which he was rescued by Michael Burnham. When Burnham became trapped aboard the Hiawatha, Pike returned to the stricken starship to get her back to Discovery.
Shortly thereafter, Starfleet temporarily assigned Pike as captain of Discovery due to the Enterprise being damaged far worse than originally thought and tasked the vessel with determining the source of the signals and their intent. (DIS: "Brother")
A short time later, another burst led Pike and the Discovery to an inhabited planet deep in the Beta Quadrant. A distress call and subsequent scans of the planet revealed it was inhabited by Humans. Not wanting to violate General Order One, Pike led an away team with Burnham and Lieutenant junior grade Owosekun to the surface to investigate. On the surface, they discovered a unique syncretic blend of many Earth religions. While investigating, they were confronted by a local named Jacob, prompting Pike to claim that they were visitors from the Northern Territory. While attending a local religious ceremony that night, they discovered the planet was populated by people saved from World War III nuclear exchange by an "angel".
While doing further investigations on the surface, the away team was incapacitated by Jacob, who accurately believed them to be peoples from the "old Earth". They were able to escape, however, and returned to the Discovery. Pike returned to the surface, however, where he revealed the truth to Jacob, but told him he could not interfere in their society. As the two parted ways, Jacob gave him a World War III camera helmet in exchange for a power cell. In the camera footage, Pike spotted an angel-like figure, which Burnham admitted she had seen earlier. (DIS: "New Eden")
Going after Spock
Shortly afterwards, Spock's mother, Amanda Grayson, rendezvoused with Discovery. At her request, he contacted Starbase 5's commanding officer, Diego Vela, who claimed Spock had killed several personnel and fled the station. Pike, Grayson, and Burnham all rejected this possibility. (DIS: "Point of Light")
As part of his continuing investigation into the allegations against Spock, Pike met with Chin-Riley aboard the Discovery, discussing the repairs to the Enterprise. During this conversation, Chin-Riley revealed that Starfleet Command place a Level One classification of Spock's case, a very unusual decision to make regarding a line officer. They both agreed that the facts didn't add up before they parted ways. (DIS: "An Obol for Charon")
Shortly after he began his search for Spock, Pike came into contact with Leland and Section 31. Leland made his presence known while assisting Discovery in its mission to rescue Ensign Tilly from the mycelial plane. (DIS: "Saints of Imperfection")
After Michael Burnham and Spock escaped with assistance from Philippa Georgiou, Pike came into conflict with Section 31 while heading towards Talos IV to rendezvous with Burnham, who had discovered Spock. He learned of this fact when a projection of Vina once more appeared to him, who revealed the location of the two to him. When Pike and Section 31 operatives attempted to retrieve the two from the surface with a transporter, Vina appeared to Pike one final time, and convinced him to break off the attempt, which was a ruse to trick Section 31 into thinking they captured Spock and Burnham. Reuniting with Spock and Burnham, he ignored Leland's request for him to report for disciplinary action. (DIS: "If Memory Serves")
Conflict with Control
The situation came to a head when Pike and Discovery, now wanted for treason by Starfleet, arrived at Section 31 Headquarters. While attempting to reset Control, Discovery was attacked by the station's defenses in an attack that was ostensibly ordered by Starfleet. Upon beaming over to the station, the landing party discovered that Admiral Patar and all the personnel aboard the station had been killed two weeks prior when Control went rogue. (DIS: "Project Daedalus")
During a mission to the Klingon monastery world of Boreth to recover a time crystal, he experienced a vision of an unavoidable future if he continued with his quest. His vision showed him aboard a Class J starship on a training cruise when a baffle plate ruptured, leaking delta radiation into engineering, causing severe burns and damage to his body. The vision then transported him to an empty corridor where he came face-to-face with himself in the life-support chair he would inhabit following the accident.
After the mission to Boreth, he returned to the Discovery, only to detect thirty Control-commandeered Section 31 vessels on an intercept course. He subsequently ordered a distress call sent to the Enterprise and to prepare to destroy the Discovery to prevent Control from taking possession of the time crystal. (DIS: "Through the Valley of Shadows")
Return to Enterprise
In 2258, after a few months of serving as captain of the Discovery, Pike returned to his position as captain of the Enterprise to face a Control-possessed Leland and his Section 31 fleet. (DIS: "Such Sweet Sorrow") After Burnham and the Discovery traveled through the wormhole to the 32nd century, in order to preserve the truth and ensure the sacrifices made had not been for nothing, Pike and his senior staff reported to Starfleet Command that the Discovery was lost with all hands.
Following the mission to Edrin II, Pike and the Enterprise returned to Earth for downtime in 2259. During his downtime, Pike would spend his time in Bear Creek, Montana, where he pursued a relationship with Captain Batel. Affected by his vision of the future, Pike ignored several attempts at contact from Robert April, now an Admiral. April eventually visited Pike at Bear Creek, where he informed that Una had been taken captive during a first contact mission to Kiley 279.
Pike agreed to re-assume command of the Enterprise to rescue Una. Following the mission to Kiley and Una's rescue, Pike agreed to keep the captain's chair, leading the Enterprise on new missions of exploration. (SNW: "Strange New Worlds")
Passing the torch
Pike commanded the Enterprise for several more years before command of the Enterprise was passed to James T. Kirk. Pike and Kirk met only once, when Pike was promoted to fleet captain. Prior to joining Kirk on the Enterprise, Spock had served with Pike for a total of eleven years, four months, and five days. (TOS: "The Menagerie, Part I")
In 2266, Pike was on an inspection tour of a cadet vessel, an old class J starship, when one of the baffle plates ruptured, causing a radiation leak, just as he had seen in the time crystal vision on Boreth nine years earlier. Pike went in and managed to bring out all the cadets who were still alive, but found himself caught in the automatic lockdown as delta radiation reached critical levels. (TOS: "The Menagerie, Part I"; DIS: "Through the Valley of Shadows")
Prior to his injury, he was described by Jose I. Mendez as being "big, handsome man, vital, active." Afterwards, the disfigured Pike was put on a form of advanced life support which sustained his withered body and life functions, as he was too weak and incapacitated to move or respond to physical stimuli. The wheelchair he was confined to was tuned to his brain could use blinking light signals to respond to simple queries in the affirmative (one flash) or negative (two flashes), but that was the extent to which he could communicate. (TOS: "The Menagerie, Part I")
Return to Talos
In 2267, after being contacted by the Talosians, Commander Spock devised a plan to use a fake message in an attempt to divert the Enterprise (of which he was now first officer under Captain Kirk) to Starbase 11, where Pike was hospitalized. Spock's intention, risking execution if caught, was to deliver Pike to Talos IV, where the Talosians could tap Pike's mind with telepathy and illusions, providing a hospice of sorts in sparing him from dying helplessly in his lifeless body.
Pike, also contacted beforehand by the Talosians, at first refused Spock's plot to spirit him away to Talos IV. However, on the journey to the forbidden planet, images of Pike's earlier experience on Talos IV – presented during Spock's on-board court-martial (a court-martial later revealed to have been concocted by the Talosians) – convinced Pike to accept the Talosians' offer.
On Talos IV, with the help of the Talosians, Pike lived out a life of illusion with Vina, in which his devastating handicap no longer existed. Pike went into retirement from Starfleet active duty and lived on Talos IV permanently, with no further outside contact, since the secrecy of the Talosian power made his fate largely unknown. (TOS: "The Menagerie, Part I", "The Menagerie, Part II")
Intellect and personality
Pike had a strong moral center and devotion to the values he found embodied in the Federation, spending his life in its service and defense. In numerous incidents, he risked his life for causes he deemed just. Even when faced with evidence of his future, Pike accepted this fate as he had confirmed that his sacrifice saved lives. (DIS: "Brother", "New Eden", "Through the Valley of Shadows")
Awards and honors
- Starfleet Medal of Valor
- Medal of Excellence
- Order of Tactics
- Legion of Honor
- Star Cross
- Medal of Commendation
- Decoration for Gallantry
- Extended Tour Ribbon
- Starfleet Silver Palm
- Proficient Service Medallion
- Legate's Crest of Valor
- Scientific Legion of Honor
- Carrington Award
- Federation Citation of Honor
- Okuda Award
- Rigel Cup
- Campbell Award
The Christopher Pike Medal of Valor was named in Pike's honor. Benjamin Sisko and Solok received the award in the 24th century. (DS9: "Tears of the Prophets", "Take Me Out to the Holosuite") On the planet Cestus III, Pike City was named after him. (DS9: "Family Business", "The Way of the Warrior") There was also a shuttlecraft Pike carried on board the USS Enterprise-D. (TNG: "The Most Toys")
While on New Eden, a young girl named Rose discovered one of the landing parties' phaser and accidentially caused it to discharge. Pike pushed her out of the way, causing him to suffer from the phaser blast instead. Pike would eventually recover. (DIS: "New Eden")
Pike first met Spock in 2254 when he transferred to the Enterprise from Starbase 40 to become Pike's new science officer. (ST: "Q&A") By 2257, Spock became one of Pike's most valued bridge officers as he trusted him implicitly. (DIS: "Brother")
Even after Pike was promoted to fleet captain and left the Enterprise, Spock was fond of Pike even so far as to risk court martial in 2267 to kidnap his disabled former captain and bring him to Talos IV to live a life of illusion and happiness. (TOS: "The Menagerie, Part I", "The Menagerie, Part II")
During his lifetime, Pike and Section 31 agent Leland had been friends, though their differing career paths and resulting value systems strained that friendship considerably. (DIS: "Saints of Imperfection")
Pike and M'Benga became friends sometime prior to 2259. M'Benga toured Mojave with Pike and in return, Pike toured Kenya with him. The two were reunited when M'Benga was assigned to the Enterprise as chief medical officer. (SNW: "Strange New Worlds")
George Samuel Kirk
Sometime prior to 2259, Pike met George Samuel Kirk and was well acquainted with Sam and his family. Upon Pike's return to the Enterprise, he personally requested Kirk be assigned to the Enterprise. (SNW: "Strange New Worlds")
After Pike was critically injured to delta radiation exposure, Spock commandeered the Enterprise and transported Pike from Starbase 11 to Talos IV where The Talosians restored Pike to his normal state and he and Vina were finally reunited. (TOS: "The Menagerie, Part I", "The Menagerie, Part II")
Sometime after returning to Earth, Pike and fellow Starfleet Captain Batel began a romantic liaison. The day before Captain Batel was supposed to ship out, Pike made breakfast for the two of them at his home in Bear Creek, Montana. Batel inquired about if he had made a decision about returning to captain the Enterprise or resign. She also inquired about what was bothering him but Pike told her that it was so classified that even her high security clearance wouldn't allow him to tell her. Before she left, Batel told Pike that she hoped he wasn't around when she returned as she believed he had better places to be. (SNW: "Strange New Worlds")
- Early 2200s – Pike is born in Mojave, California on Earth
- Stardate 3201.4: graduates from Starfleet Academy
- Between stardate 3201.4 and the year 2245:
- 2245–2250: Assigned to the USS Enterprise under Captain Robert April as First officer
- 2250: Appointed captain of the USS Enterprise
- 2250s: Sets out on a Five-year mission
- 2254: Achieved first contact with the Talosians
- 2256–2257: Along with the rest of the Enterprise crew, sits out the Federation-Klingon War
- 2258: Returns to the Enterprise on Stardate 1050.8
- 2260s: Promoted to fleet captain
- 2266: Exposed to delta radiation leaving him disfigured and confined to a wheelchair.
- 2267: With assistance from the Talosians, is able to live out a life of illusion on Talos IV
Captain Pike was played by Jeffrey Hunter in the original unaired pilot, "The Cage", and in segments of archive footage from that episode which were included in "The Menagerie, Part I" and "The Menagerie, Part II". Actor Sean Kenney portrayed a disfigured Pike in the "The Menagerie" two-parter, because the part of a wheelchair-bound Captain Pike was a bit role in the context of the script and would not justify the expense of hiring back the more popular Jeffrey Hunter for such a small part, especially since he had moved on to other projects. Hunter's stunt double for the role, Robert Herron, made appearances in "The Cage" and "The Menagerie, Part II". In Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Short Treks and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Christopher Pike was portrayed by Anson Mount.
Name and preliminary depictions
Christopher Pike was originally named Robert April, which was then changed to James Winter. (Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry, pp. 206 & 209) James Blish noted that the scripts for Star Trek's original unaired pilot, "The Cage", were "heavily revised in various handwritings and Pike confusingly appears from time to time as 'Captain Spring' and 'Captain Winter.'" A revised draft of the script for "The Cage", from 20 November 1964, listed him as Captain James Winter.  However, that moniker was used only briefly; the name change from James Winter to Christopher Pike was made on 25 November. (Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry, p. 206)
An ultimately unused concept for the depiction of Captain Pike was suggested to Gene Roddenberry by "The Cage" Director Robert Butler. "I begged him to do […] a captain who had been out there for seven [years] […] but it all fell on deaf ears," Butler recalled. (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 101)
In the aforementioned script, Captain Winter was described thus; "Our first and most important impression is that he would not be completely out of place on the bridge of a naval cruiser in our own day. About thirty-four, he is a complex personality with a sensitivity and warmth which the responsibilities of command often forces him to hide."
Star Trek consultant and historian Larry Nemecek once claimed the character's full name, by the time the part was filmed for "The Cage", was changed to "Christopher R. Pike". Nemecek also suggested a holdover of the middle initial as a possible reason for why a tombstone commemorating Captain Kirk in TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before" is emblazoned "James R. Kirk", though his middle name was later established as "Tiberius". (Star Trek Monthly issue 98, p. 37) However, no canonical evidence provides Pike's middle initial as "R", or even states he had a middle name.
In reality, LeVar Burton knew, when he auditioned for the role of Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation, that the name of the captain from the original Star Trek pilot had been "Christopher Pike". He used that knowledge to "break the ice" with John Pike, the President of Paramount Network Television, during the audition. (Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek - The Next Generation, Part Two: Launch, TNG Season 1 Blu-ray special features)
The American author Kevin McFadden (b. 1955) took "Christopher Pike" as his pen name.
Trying to find a suitable lead actor for Star Trek was the most difficult factor in casting "The Cage". The role had several requirements. These included physical attractiveness, the ability to project a huge degree of personal warmth to increase the chances of likeability and, thirdly, believability in the part, such as by looking athletic and being convincing in a position of leadership. (Star Trek: The Original Series 365, p. 007; The Making of Star Trek, p. 111) By the time Star Trek started casting for the lead actor, so many other series were in production that there were very few performers available. Those who were could afford to be selective about what part they took. (The Making of Star Trek, p. 111)
Before Gene Roddenberry wrote "The Cage" (but once the captain's name was Christopher Pike), he asked Lloyd Bridges to accept Star Trek's lead role. (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 9; These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One, "Chapter Three: Designing Star Trek"; Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 2, p. 146)) "When I approached him with it," stated Roddenberry, "he said, 'Gene, I like you, I've worked with you before in the past, but I've seen science fiction and I don't want to be within a hundred miles of it…'" (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 9) Not only had Bridges seen science fiction, he had been burned by it. Less than two years had passed since Daily Variety had complained about an episode of The Lloyd Bridges Show wherein he had played an astronaut who landed on an alien planet. Thus, Bridges was not eager to participate in another outer space adventure any time soon. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One, "Chapter Three: Designing Star Trek") Concerning the performer's anxious reaction to the prospect of featuring on Star Trek, Roddenberry noted, "I understood what he meant then." (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 9) This was because Roddenberry accepted that science fiction of the time was poor. Hence, he thought the choice Bridges made "wasn't a foolish move on his part." (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, p. 9) Roddenberry attempted to make a persuasive argument that he could do science fiction differently, but was not yet sure himself if he could manage to do so. (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 9) Ultimately, Bridges made it clear that he strongly believed appearing in an outer-space series would obliterate his future credibility.
Following Lloyd Bridges' rejection, Gene Roddenberry spent several weeks in search of a suitable actor to play the part. (Star Trek Memories, paperback ed., p. 41) "I came to realize […] that there just weren't a lot of actors who would do it," he related. "I was talking about what was in many people's eyes a silly show." (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 9) Nonetheless, many actors were considered. Roddenberry noted, "We went through a lot of film in casting the part." (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, p. 9) Several casting consultants submitted lists of names to Roddenberry, which he then analyzed. One such list was comprised of forty names, including the following:
- Nick Adams
- Jack Cassidy
- Mike Connors
- Frank Converse
- Ray Danton
- Howard Duff
- Steve Forrest
- Peter Graves
- Sterling Hayden
- Earl Holliman
- Skip Homeier
- Ed Kemmer
- Robert Loggia
- Jack Lord
- Cameron Mitchell
- Leslie Nielson
- Hugh O'Brien
- Rhodes Reason
- Jason Robards, Jr.
- George Segal
- William Shatner
- Robert Stack
- Warren Stevens
- Guy Stockwell
- Liam Sullivan
- Rod Taylor
- Efram Zimbalist, Jr.
Though not included in the above list, James Coburn was an additional possibility; Majel Barrett strongly suggested him to Gene Roddenberry and a group of other men. Barrett found her suggestion rejected because Coburn – in the opinions of the aforementioned men, including Roddenberry – "wasn't sexy enough," although Roddenberry later revised his judgment. (Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry, p. 209; The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 9)
After analyzing the lists from his casting consultants, Gene Roddenberry sent a shorter list of names to the television network NBC for their comments. This list included James Coburn, Jeffrey Hunter, Dan O'Herlihy, Patrick O'Neal, and Tom Tryon. The next day, he was notified by Herbert F. Solow, via memo, that the network was "very much against" Jeffrey Hunter and two others on the list. NBC proposed several alternatives, including Patrick McGoohan and Mel Farrar. The memo ended by saying, "There was a strong reaction for both James Coburn and Patrick O'Neal." (Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry, pp. 209-210)
Gene Roddenberry finally selected Jeffrey Hunter – who had recently portrayed Jesus in King of Kings – to feature as Captain Pike. (Star Trek Memories, paperback ed., p. 41) "Jeff Hunter seemed to be about the closest to what I had in mind for a captain," Roddenberry stated. (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, p. 9)
At this point, Robert Butler – director of "The Cage" – was unfamiliar with Jeffrey Hunter, who was aged thirty-seven. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One, "Chapter Three: Designing Star Trek") Butler remembered, "Jeffrey Hunter had probably been cast beyond my control, which is the way it goes, but I certainly knew of him." (Star Trek Monthly issue 6, p. 53)
Joseph D'Agosta, a casting director who Gene Roddenberry consulted, later explained that the casting of Jeffrey Hunter as Pike was "a network-producer-Desilu decision." (Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry, p. 211) D'Agosta clarified about the actor, "That was a selection made from the name list given by the network and the studio. I was not even involved in that." (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 213) However, D'Agosta also laid claim to having somehow "dealt" with Hunter from a casting perspective. (Star Trek Memories, paperback ed., p. 58)
Though Jeffrey Hunter had found starring as the title character in the short-lived television series Temple Houston to have been a disastrous experience (one year earlier), he nonetheless accepted the Star Trek role, agreeing to make another TV pilot. The reference book These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One ("Chapter Three: Designing Star Trek") postulates that he did so while possibly motivated by "fearing his initial failure in television had hurt his chances to reclaim big screen status." In a comment Hunter made upon acquiring the Captain Pike role, he joked that any actor able to rule over all of Christianity could easily command a starship crew. After some typical haggling between agents, Hunter was hired. (Star Trek Memories, paperback ed., p. 41) Hunter was contracted to play Pike over the course of sixteen days, receiving US$10,000 in return. (Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry, p. 211) The captain was the final role in "The Cage" to be cast. (The Making of Star Trek, p. 111)
At about this time, Jeffrey Hunter was highly enthusiastic about Star Trek, particularly about the potential of the series. He talked enthusiastically about the project, after production on "The Cage" ended. In an interview for the Los Angeles Citizen News, he raved, "It's a great format because the writers will have a free hand [regarding the kinds of stories they could tell]." In addition, he told the same publication (on 30 January 1965) that the thing which most intrigued him about the show was the high reliability of its projections as regards the future. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One, "Chapter Four: Test Flight & Filming 'The Cage'" and "Chapter Five: Double or Nothing: A Second Pilot")
On 19 March 1965, Gene Roddenberry sent a note to Jeffrey Hunter, inviting him, his wife and a few other people to a Desilu screening of "The Cage". (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One, "Chapter Five: Double or Nothing: A Second Pilot"; Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry, p. 225) Although NBC had unofficially revealed they planned to give the unprecedented go-ahead for the making of a second pilot (having been dissatisfied with "The Cage"), Hunter's contract required his participation in only one pilot, not two. If the already-produced pilot sold, he would be locked into a five-year contract. If the pilot was not purchased, he was contractually free to pursue other interests. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One, "Chapter Five: Double or Nothing: A Second Pilot") Recollected Herb Solow, "We therefore had to devise a plan that would enable us to keep Jeff Hunter in the fold [....] We […] looked forward to running the completed pilot for our star, Jeff Hunter. We hoped it would convince him to do another pilot." (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, paperback ed., p. 63)
The screening, which turned out to be a fateful event, was held on 25 March 1965. (Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry, p. 225) Remembered Herb Solow, "Gene and I waited in the Desilu projection room for [Jeff Hunter] […] to arrive. He never did." Hunter's wife, Joan 'Dusty' Bartlett, attended the ceremony in his stead. "We traded hellos, and I nodded to Gene," Solow carried on. "He flicked the projection booth intercom switch. 'Let's go.' And so it went. As the end credits rolled, and the lights came up, Jeff Hunter's wife gave us our answer: 'This is not the kind of show Jeff wants to do, and besides, it wouldn't be good for his career. Jeff Hunter is a movie star.' Mrs. Hunter was very polite and very firm. She said her good-byes and left, having surprisingly and swiftly removed our star from our new pilot." (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, paperback ed., p. 63) Having decided she hated the pilot episode, Bartlett didn't want Hunter to remain in the role of Captain Pike. She convinced him that, being a dutiful husband, he didn't want to resume the persona either and that science fiction was beneath him. (Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry, p. 225; The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 10) In contrast to how Pike firstly contemplates resigning his commission and retiring from Starfleet but later changes his mind, Hunter's change of heart led him to want to quit. (Star Trek: The Original Series 365, p. 007)
In his 1993 autobiography Star Trek Memories (paperback ed., p. 70), William Shatner alleged that Jeffrey Hunter was essentially "fired" from playing the part of Captain Pike. Shatner asserted, "Apparently there were problems with Jeffrey. Not while he was shooting or on the set or anything like that, but afterward. They started when the go-ahead came in for the second pilot, and Hunter's wife, who was an ex-model, suddenly started coming to production meetings. Evidently she hated the first pilot, and as a result she began to frequently storm into Gene's office, loudly making demands like 'from now on, my Jeff must only be shot from certain angles,' and apparently it became 'Jeff wants this' and 'Jeff demands that.' Gene later told me that he'd much rather be dealing with Jeff and his agent, or even Jeff and a gorilla, than Jeff and his wife. He continued that there were so many tantrums, restrictions and ultimatums being laid out on the table that he finally thought, 'Well, I can't possibly do an entire series like this. They'll drive me nuts.'" In Leonard Nimoy's 1995 autobiography I Am Spock (hardback ed., p. 32), Nimoy agreed with Shatner, saying, "Jeff Hunter was let go when his wife began to represent him and made what Gene considered excessive demands."
In reality, Jeffrey Hunter – having decided to give up the character of Pike – made his feelings known to Gene Roddenberry within two weeks of the Desilu screening. On 5 April 1965, Roddenberry responded with a private letter between them in which he stated, "I am told you have decided not to go ahead with Star Trek. This has to be your decision, of course, and I must respect it. You may be certain I hold no grudge or ill feelings and expect to continue to reflect publicly and privately the high regard I learned for you during the production of our pilot." (Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry, pp. 225-226)
Even though a second Star Trek pilot was commissioned, Jeffrey Hunter was insistent that he not participate in the making of that episode, entitled "Where No Man Has Gone Before". "Business affairs negotiated with Jeffrey Hunter," remembered Oscar Katz, "and we all thought it was the usual actor/network situation. They don't want to do it for reason XYZ, and it's a device […] for getting the price up. We kept increasing the price and he kept saying no. One day I said, 'What's up with Jeffrey Hunter?' and I was told he just won't do it at any price. Finally I said, 'Tell Jeffrey Hunter to get lost. Tell him we're going to do the pilot without him.'" (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 14) Shortly thereafter, once the trade papers began reporting about a second Star Trek pilot, Hunter told J.D. Spiro for his Milwaukee Journal report, "I was asked to do it, but, had I accepted, I would have been tied up much longer than I care to be." Hunter's decision to depart was propelled specifically by the fact he wanted to focus on his career in feature films, instead of resuming his participation in television productions. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One, "Chapter Five: Double or Nothing: A Second Pilot") In his autobiography, Shatner acknowledged that the "official" story reported over years had been that Hunter turned down the role of Pike and was unable to commit to the series due to a film commitment, despite Shatner disputing this account. (Star Trek Memories, paperback ed., p. 70) Hunter's departure left an opening for the series lead. "I just had to pick someone else," noted Roddenberry. William Shatner was who he picked, Shatner going on to regularly appear as James T. Kirk. (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 11) The replacing of Hunter with Shatner was reported in Daily Variety on 4 May 1965. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One, "Chapter Five: Double or Nothing: A Second Pilot")
Desilu and NBC executives had discussed possibly broadcasting "The Cage" as a movie-of-the-week if Star Trek did not proceed as a series. After that pilot episode was rejected, Jeffrey Hunter was approached by Desilu; they requested he rejoin the cast in order to enable the filming of enough additional footage to make the movie option viable. (Star Trek: The Original Series 365, p. 092) The year was 1965 when Gene Roddenberry proposed to film added scenes to lengthen "The Cage" into a feature-length movie. He also planned to try organizing a theatrical release for it. Hunter refused, though, to have any participation in these plans. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, paperback ed., p. 251)
Rewriting the part
Despite Jeffery Hunter's rejections, the canon portrayal of Christopher Pike was affected when the decision was made for the archive footage from the original pilot to be edited into a two-parter together with contemporary scenes that would form an "envelope" around those depictions of the past. In an early version of the two-parter – which was called "From the First Day to the Last" and was written by John D.F. Black – an official review of Pike's actions on Talos IV took place at Trium Supply Base after Spock asked Kirk to take Pike, who was now in a disabled condition and confined to a wheelchair but was still capable of nodding, back to the planet, to die there. The request was opposed by Commander Jermane, a desk-bound officer who had placed a ban on travel to Talos IV, because he believed the Talosians were a menace, and he wanted to do everything he could to make Pike look bad. Although otherwise residing at the base hospital, Pike attended an initial, morning review session. He was then examined by his doctor at the hospital, who decided the strain was too much for him. After Jermane persuaded the doctor to change his mind, however, Pike was forced to attend another review session that afternoon, an arrangement Doctor McCoy protested against without success.
In the second part of the "From the First Day to the Last" two-parter, Kirk expressed that he was determined to enable Pike to return to the planet but that an imperative question for the review to consider was whether Pike had escaped from Talos IV or solved "the problem of Talosian menace" there. Despite the potential consequence of being hanged, McCoy was ready to take Pike out of the hearing room if he seemed at all to be becoming too ill. As the afternoon session got underway, Pike glared at Commander Jermane, moments before the footage of Pike's previous visit to Talos VI began to be displayed and analyzed by the group. After their review of Pike's past actions and a private (unseen) discussion between Kirk and Jermane, Kirk returned to the hearing room and asked Pike how he was feeling. Pike managed to answer Kirk with a small nod, just as a male nurse arrived to take Pike back to the base hospital.
As it turned out, "Commander Jermane" was actually a Talosian who had taken the place of the real Jermane, who had dreamt of personal glorification and had sought that dream on Talos IV but had died in the instant when the Talosians had given him it. Pike had been restricted from being returned to Talos IV because the Talosian impostor strongly believed that the gift of complete illusion was too powerful for any person to have. When the Talosian admitted defeat to Kirk, however, Pike was permitted to be taken back to Talos IV aboard the Enterprise on the condition that Kirk, even in his personal log, would subsequently maintain a lie that Pike had been murdered by the Talosians. Kirk felt this requirement extremely hard to accept, but the impostor insisted it was necessary in order to keep the planet restricted.
Pike, in his wheelchair, was beamed aboard the Enterprise together with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. At Kirk's suggestion, he was given a tour of the ship by Spock, who, at one point in the tour, mentioned that Pike had made numerous reports and recommendations about enlarging the Jefferies tubes, suggestions that Spock pointed out had evidently been taken notice of. Pike reacted to this discovery with a smile that was almost imperceptible but noticed by Spock. Other areas of the Enterprise which Pike viewed were the recreation room, engineering, and the bridge, the last of which nearly brought a tear to his eye. As Spock said farewell to Pike in the ship's transporter room, Pike tearfully nodded in response to Spock saying he hoped Pike would be successful in finding what he wanted to find on the planet, McCoy also wishing Pike "good luck." He was then transported down to Talos IV along with Kirk alone, although Spock had wanted to accompany them too. Pike's return to Talos IV, by the time it actually happened, felt very important to him. Upon beaming down to the planet, he and Kirk found nobody there, though a Talosian soon arrived and pushed Pike, in his wheelchair, away. The next thing Kirk knew, Pike seemed to be miraculously transformed into his younger, able-bodied form and appeared to walk up a slope with the youthful Vina, pause to turn back and wave, then move on, to which a surprised-looking Kirk waved back but not with vigor. Later, in his captain's log, Kirk mentioned he had "left Captain Christopher Pike in the care of the Talosians per his request." Contacted by "Commander Jermane" from Trium Supply Base, Kirk refused to lie about what had happened to Pike, explaining that his example provided evidence that, despite being potentially dangerous, illusion was not necessarily corruptive nor overly powerful.
While Roddenberry was scripting "The Menagerie, Part I" and "The Menagerie, Part II" in 1966, the production staff had some puzzlement about whether Jeffery Hunter would okay segments of footage from "The Cage" to be reused throughout the forthcoming two-parter. On 14 September 1966, Robert Justman wrote a fairly apprehensive message to Ed Perlstein at Desilu Legal, wherein – among other related points – Justman wondered, "Does Jeff Hunter's original contract allow for this sort of contingency? Perhaps you ought to check it out with his agent." (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One)
Gene Roddenberry had the idea, while the two-parter was in development, of casting another actor in the role of Christopher Pike for the new scenes. That method was to be used in the foreseeable eventuality that Jeffrey Hunter declined to take part in the envelope scenes himself. After Roddenberry turned in his first draft script for part one of the duology (on 21 September 1966), Herb Solow sent the teleplay draft to Grant Schloss and Jerry Stanley at NBC, telling them, "Should Jeff Hunter's wife won't [sic] agree to let him appear in any envelope, Roddenberry has come up with an interesting device to treat Pike [sic] Character (Hunter) as having been injured beyond recognition – this so the actor can play the part." (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One) The dramatic device of disfiguring Pike beyond recognition did allow a replacement actor to appear in the same role, apparently at an older age. (Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook, p. 188)
In the final draft script of "The Menagerie, Part I" (dated 7 October 1966), Pike was described as "A shadow of a man, the marks of Delta ray burns, impossibly thin and sagging, hair dull white, without life, skin pale, almost lifeless. He sits in a complex power wheelchair which operates on brain impulses. The dull eyes, once clear and blue." The script went on to say that, aside from merely a single tear, "the sagging, lifeless muscles are incapable of emotion."
Jeffery Hunter eventually agreed for the necessary archive footage featuring himself as Captain Pike to be reused in the two-parter. He was paid US$5,000 for the reuse of this footage, and his residuals were minimal. (Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry, p. 259) On 18 October 1966, Ed Perlstein wrote a memo to Shirley Stahnke at Desilu Business Affairs, announcing the news he had closed a deal to pay Hunter US$5,000. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One) Hunter was unwilling, though, to take part in further filming for the budget-saving remake of "The Cage" into the two-parter. (Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook, p. 188) Since he had turned down the prospect of "The Cage" becoming a movie, there was no chance he would cooperate to redo the pilot episode for televised Star Trek. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, paperback ed., p. 251) He was not only unavailable but also unaffordable for what amounted to a minor supporting role. (The Star Trek Compendium, 4th ed., p. 48) Therefore, finding another actor became a necessity to produce the two-parter.
Recasting the part
Since the story imagined Pike as being confined to a 23rd century wheelchair and so permanently wounded as to be unable to speak, there was considerable latitude in recasting the role. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 38) On the other hand, the two actors had to look somewhat alike. "Because Jeffrey Hunter wasn't available to play the disabled Capt. Pike, they had to find an actor who had the same facial structure and features," Sean Kenney pointed out. (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Three: The Formula")
At first, John D.F. Black – who had recently departed from working on Star Trek from behind the scenes – was asked to represent the disabled Pike. John's wife, Mary Black (who had also been involved in the show from a production perspective), offered, "Dorothy [Fontana] called and said that they had this really fun idea. Because John's eyes matched the eyes of Jeffrey Hunter – and they couldn't find another actor who had the right eyes, and they were so sure John's did – they wanted him to come in and sit in the wheelchair and be Captain Pike, with lots of makeup on." John Black himself stated, "Both of us immediately had the attitude that that wouldn't be very much fun. I didn't hesitate at all in turning it down." The search for a suitable actor resumed. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One)
Sean Kenney was initially invited to try out for the role of Christopher Pike one evening right after making a one-off appearance in the Los Angeles stage show "The Deputy", on its opening night. As he removed his makeup backstage, a woman who turned out to be talent agent Mitzi MacGregor approached him and explained that she wanted him to meet with a man at Paramount called Gene Roddenberry, even though Kenney didn't yet know who he was. (Star Trek Magazine issue 175, p. 74; Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter One: Lift Off!") The agent arranged to schedule an appointment between the two men, on the condition that Kenney – who didn't have an agent at that point – signed with her. (Star Trek Magazine issue 175, p. 74) "My life completely changed that night," admitted Kenney. MacGregor agreed to ensure him a lead role on Star Trek, which was in the very early days of its creation at Paramount. (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter One: Lift Off!") Kenney eagerly accepted the arrangement proposed by MacGregor. (Star Trek Magazine issue 175, p. 74; Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter One: Lift Off!") A profile picture of the actor was then promptly sent to Paramount. (Star Trek Magazine issue 175, p. 74)
One week after Sean Kenney first met Mitzi MacGregor and the image of him was dispatched, Kenney was interviewed by Joseph D'Agosta. (Star Trek Magazine issue 175, p. 74; Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Two: Ground Zero") D'Agosta recommended Kenney for the part of former starship captain Christopher Pike to Gene Roddenberry, with whom the actor met during the next week. (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Two: Ground Zero") Years later, Kenney noted, "Gene Roddenberry himself interviewed me and OKed my casting in the part." (Starlog #113) The interview between them was in October 1966. "I felt like I was in 'alpha state' when I entered Desilu Studios [....] I was ushered into a small interviewing office and waited about ten minutes until Gene's secretary came by and stated, 'Mr. Roddenberry wants to interview you personally. Would you please step into his office?' [....] [After doing so] I sat facing his desk and noticed my casting photo was lying there. I waited only a few minutes and when he came in, I stood up and shook his hands." (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Two: Ground Zero")
Gene Roddenberry began the discussion by speaking about the concept of Star Trek and the fact he had been searching for a lead actor to portray former starship captain Pike. "As I sat back down," continued Sean Kenney, "Gene got up and walked around me holding my casting photo in his hand." (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Two: Ground Zero") Meanwhile, Roddenberry looked at Kenney from every side. The actor, though, was perplexed by this behavior. Roddenberry finally stopped circling Kenney and spoke. (Star Trek Magazine issue 175, p. 74) "Continuing, he said that the lead character, Pike, had been severely injured in a training accident and was unable to speak or move any body parts. Much of this role would come from emoting feeling through my eyes." Roddenberry outlined that the Star Trek creative team would age Kenney to look about eighty years old and that Pike would answer all questions with "yes" or "no" replies using a specially rigged light system. Kenney contemplated the seeming oddness of hiring a young actor to play an old man, a main part without any lines whatsoever. "I'm thinking, why me, why don't they just get an old guy?" the performer related. Roddenberry also voiced some direct questions. For instance, he inquired about whether Kenney would be able to handle intensive makeup for the part. (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Two: Ground Zero") Another example was Roddenberry asking the interviewee if he had a problem with being confined within a tight area for long durations, to which Kenney declared he would be honored to play Pike. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, pp. 38 & 40) He believed the reasoning why Roddenberry "asked so many pointed questions when [Kenney] […] grabbed the role of Captain Pike" was that Roddenberry wanted to ensure the actor could be trusted to know what he was doing and was going to deliver reliable performances as Pike, whatever happened on the set. (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Twenty-One: Thespian Style")
According to a statement made by Gene Roddenberry in his interview with Sean Kenney, Jeffrey Hunter was unavailable because he was busy filming a movie in Spain. (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Two: Ground Zero") Of course, Kenney owed much to Hunter for his inclusion in the "The Menagerie" two-parter. "I received the part of Captain Pike in the wheelchair because of my strong resemblance to Jeff Hunter," Kenney explained. (Starlog #113) He elaborated that his extreme physical similarity to Hunter was "to the point that nobody else in town resembled him as much as I did, though I was only 24 years old." (Star Trek Magazine issue 175, p. 75) The huge resemblance between the two performers was first noticed by Joseph D'Agosta. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 38) Roddenberry noted aloud the strong degree of likeness between the actors, during Kenney's interview with him. (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Two: Ground Zero") Kenney later hypothesized, "Maybe there is some ancestral DNA at play here. Jeff's real name was McKinney and most likely his family was from Ireland like my own." (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Ten: Watch Your Back!")
Despite the similarities between Sean Kenney and Jeffrey Hunter, the role of Christopher Pike required Kenney to undergo some drastic physical alterations. After-the-fact, Director Marc Daniels remarked, "It took a considerable amount of preparation and work to get it done properly." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 33)
During their initial meeting with one another, Gene Roddenberry informed Sean Kenney that the sides of his eyes would be taped down with extensive makeup, that his hair and eyebrows would be dyed stark white and that latex makeup would be extensively used on his face, with the same makeup reconstructed every day for at least a week. (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Two: Ground Zero") In fact, Roddenberry even went as far as to explain that the latex makeup would so inhibit Kenney's movements he would likely end up having to eat through a straw. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 38) When Roddenberry asked if Kenney had any problem with having his hair and eyebrows dyed white, the actor stated he had absolutely no such difficulty, very eager to accept the role. Towards the end of their first encounter, Roddenberry ascertained the actor had no allergies to latex makeup. (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Two: Ground Zero")
Disfiguring Sean Kenney gave the makeup team a lot to do. "In retrospect, regarding the makeup, I have a few insights," detailed Kenney. "The two makeup geniuses who worked on my face, Fred Phillips […] along with a young artist named Ray Sebastian, had their work cut out for themselves." (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Three: The Formula") The creation of the makeup soon began. "When Fred Phillips, who was Paramount's head makeup man, had me come into the studio the week before," Kenney recounted, "we experimented with the different types of scars and aging processes available. I was then screen-tested for matching with Jeff's facial structure, makeup reality and hair color [....] Fred Phillips wanted to perfect the makeup by making a life mask of my face during the early stages of the experiments. They applied plaster of Paris to my face with […] two little rubber hoses in my nostrils for breathing." (Starlog #113) Phillips' interest in constructing a life mask was so he could use it as a makeup-testing device. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 40)
Sean Kenney found the creation of a life mask of his own face was "a scary time" and highly claustrophobic. "And, I'm no claustrophobe!" he exclaimed. "My face hardened up like a rock and suddenly, I wondered whether I was going to breathe or not. It was quite an experience." (Starlog #113)
Meanwhile, hairstylist Virginia Darcy commenced work on Sean Kenney's hair. Gene Roddenberry wanted it white and brittle, not merely streaked with temporary makeup, but dyed so white it made the entire character seem damaged as well as aged. After Darcy finished, she and Roddenberry walked Kenney to the set for testing his hair under the studio lights. The actor's hair was so bright, it was off the color band and consequently made the television signal almost crackle. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 40) "Gene felt the first screen test showed my hair to be too white looking on camera," he recalled. "They sent me back to the Paramount hairdresser who agreed something was amiss. So she dyed my hair to a light blonde color." (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Three: The Formula") The synthetic dulling of Kenney's hair was done with a beige powder. (Starlog #113) Darcy combined this with a hair preparation and combed the resulting mix through Kenney's hair, before allowing it to dry. Afterwards, the hair color passed the color registration assessment, then Kenney was moved onto another stage of makeup tests. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 40) In hindsight, he decided he "wasn't too happy about" the dying of his hair. (Starlog #113)
Two days before filming, Fred Phillips and Ray Sebastian initiated camera tests on the makeup layouts they'd devised using Sean Kenney's life mask. Applying the designs for real and testing them on camera depended on a six-and-a-half-hour application procedure. Sebastian, instead of Phillips, was in charge of applying the makeup and was assisted by Fred Obringer. The makeup was arranged directly on Kenney's own skin, rather than using latex appliances. The first step of the technique was applying spirit gum all over the actor's face to produce a tacky surface on the skin, which subsequently was covered with cotton. The excess cotton was removed. Then, liquid latex was stippled onto various parts of Kenney's face while the skin was stretched tightly. Owing to the fact they were working under tight time constraints throughout the process, the makeup artists used hair dryers to quicken the drying time, opting not to wait for the latex to dry naturally. They next applied a second coat of latex. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 40)
Representing the scar on the right side of Pike's head was originally very difficult, when the Sean Kenney mask was under development. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 40) After the makeup appliances began to melt a lot in rehearsals, a piece of fabric was designed to be incorporated into the makeup. Recalling how this came to be, Kenney offered, "One day, they were so frustrated with the melting of the horrific scar on the side of my face that Ray [Sebastian] came up with an ingenious solution. He reached down and cut out a piece of his own Levis he was wearing, made it into the shape of the scar, then taped it to the side of my face, creating an ideal radiation burn scar that would not melt or appear to be healing." (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Three: The Formula") After the material was applied, a base color of Rubber Mask Greasepaint was put on, covering nearly all of Kenney's face. The only exception was the artificial scar, which was next colored with a blueish-purple center and a deep red outer area to make it seem constantly painful. The entire makeup was lastly set with a translucent face powder. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 40)
The makeup designers gave Pike's eye special attention because, amid their tests, they realized Pike would appear more sympathetic if he had a drooping eyelid. Hence, Ray Sebastian pulled down the outer edge of Sean Kenney's eyelid using clear medical tape. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 40) Tying the corners of the actor's eyes down with scotch mending tape had the added effect of giving him an aged appearance. (Starlog #113)
The development time for the Pike makeup was at least twenty hours. (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "gallery pix") Daily, it took the makeup artists nearly five hours to apply. (Starlog #113) "Every day, they would have to start from scratch applying the same makeup," Sean Kenney reported, "and placing that valuable piece of jean material in the correct spot [....] The makeup job on the first day took almost five hours to construct while on the last day they had it down to two and a half hours." (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Three: The Formula") As a result of the multiple reapplications that were needed each time over the course of five production days, Kenney found the proceedings painstaking and tedious. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 40) Because the appliances started to often melt in rehearsals, his time in front of the camera was extremely limited. (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Three: The Formula") He practically lived in the makeup room, spending ten to twelve hours there each day of the shoot. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 40)
Due to Sean Kenney's long hours in makeup, the shooting company did not become familiar with the appearance of the actor under all those appliances. "I'd come in before everyone to get the make-up on and left after everyone because I had to get the make-up off," Kenney recollected. "It was the weirdest feeling, because no one ever saw me." (Star Trek Magazine issue 175, p. 75) Moreover, Kenney was rendered unable to converse with any of the cast and crew due to the restrictive makeup. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One; Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Two: Ground Zero") Looking back, he said, "With the Captain Pike makeup limiting my socializing, I didn't linger on the set after we wrapped for the day. I would quickly remove my […] latex mask [....] Through that whole eight day shoot, I walked and talked to everyone outside the studio as a perfect looking albino gent." (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Three: The Formula") Kenney's predicament during the shoot elicited pity from fellow actor Malachi Throne, who mentioned, "Poor Sean – Sean was stuck in the box." (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One)
Sean Kenney once described his latex mask as "dreaded." (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Three: The Formula") "The appliances were very tight around the face," he expressed. "Eating was very difficult [due to the heavy makeup restrictions] so my lunches were taken through a straw, consisting of soups and mush, so to speak." (Starlog #113) Kenney elaborated, "On the set, I actually felt like I was being starved." (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Two: Ground Zero")
For his portrayal of Christopher Pike, Sean Kenney concentrated much of his attention on his eyes. "Most of the feeling had to come through my eyes," he stated, "especially due to the fact that they would tie the corners of my eyes down with scotch mending tape." (Starlog #113) The actor clarified, "It was an immense acting challenge, trying to say so much only through my eyes."
For one specific scene, Sean Kenney thought about his father having died when he had been eight years old. "That's where the tears came from in my big scene," he reflected. "I remember everyone saying, 'OK, we got it.'" (Star Trek Magazine issue 175, p. 75)
Towards the end of filming the scenes involving the injured Christopher Pike, an issue arose concerning the scrap of denim used as the character's scar. Sean Kenney remembered, "About the eighth day into the shoot, Ray [Sebastian] was so tired he placed the scar on the wrong side of my face. When I looked in the mirror, I knew something was wrong and we both cracked up, realizing exhaustion had finally taken its toll." (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Three: The Formula")
Reception and aftermath
Originally, NBC, Herb Solow, Gene Roddenberry, and Robert Butler were all delighted they were able to secure Jeffrey Hunter for the part of Christopher Pike in "The Cage". (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, paperback ed., p. 36)
Robert Butler was left with the feeling Jeffrey Hunter's stint as Christopher Pike was not wholly satisfying. "I thought he was probably a good, chiseled hero for this type of part," Butler critiqued about Hunter. "He was an extremely pleasant, centered guy, and maybe decent and nice to a fault… I remember thinking, 'God, he's handsome,' and this was sadly the opinion of him at the time. When one is trying to bring reality into an unreal situation, that usually isn't a wise thing to do – to hire a somewhat perfect looking actor. You should find someone who seems more natural and more 'real.'" (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One, "Chapter Three: Designing Star Trek") Butler also stated about Hunter, "I […] found him to be a real cooperative good guy. He was a little heroic and a little stiff, and I tried to modify that a little bit, and maybe I did and maybe I didn't." (Star Trek Monthly issue 6, pp. 53-54)
According to Joseph D'Agosta and Robert Justman, the executives at NBC opted for William Shatner as James T. Kirk rather than Jeffrey Hunter as Christopher Pike because they were disappointed with Hunter's depiction of Pike. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 11/12, p. 56 Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 14) "The network seemed to feel that Jeff Hunter was rather woolen," remembered Justman. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 14) D'Agosta concurred, "When they saw the pilot, they didn't like Jeffrey Hunter. They'd pick up Star Trek based on recasting him." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 11/12, p. 56) In accordance with these opinions, the Press-TV Radio reported in 1967 that Hunter was let go from Star Trek because "he didn't cut the meteoric mustard as the Captain." (Star Trek Magazine issue 166, p. 55) However, in the book Inside Star Trek: The Real Story (paperback ed., p. 60), Herb Solow recorded that, upon specifying their wants and desires for the second Star Trek pilot, NBC proclaimed, "Jeffrey Hunter was okay, and if you want to use him again, that's fine with us." In the book Star Trek Memories (paperback ed., p. 70), Shatner referred to Hunter as "one of the few cast members [from 'The Cage' who was] spared the wrath of the network."
Robert Justman thought Jeffrey Hunter lacked a sense of energy in his portrayal of the captain, whereas William Shatner provided the much-needed quota of energy. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, paperback ed., pp. 71-72) Justman also claimed he and Roddenberry felt strongly that Hunter was a less "accomplished" actor than Shatner, with less "dimension" and unable to exhibit as varied an emotional range as Shatner could. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One, "Chapter Five: Double or Nothing: A Second Pilot"; Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 14) Joseph D'Agosta agreed with this notion. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One, "Chapter Five: Double or Nothing: A Second Pilot") However, Roddenberry himself speculated about Hunter, "He would have made a grand captain." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 14) Likewise, writer D.C. Fontana once commented that, in her view, Hunter regularly appearing as Pike would have resulted in "a good captain," and also said, "He wouldn't have been Captain Kirk; his approach would have been very different, but I think he would have been perfectly fine." (Star Trek Magazine issue 128, p. 45) TOS fan and Star Trek spin-off writer/producer Ira Steven Behr concurred, "I would have been just as happy if Jeffrey Hunter had played the lead. I liked him a lot." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 42)
Actor Mark Lenard once voiced an alternative opinion, commenting, "Using a straighter fellow like the original choice, the character would have been stiffer than [William] Shatner with less of a personality. I don't think it would have worked as well with Jeffrey Hunter in the lead." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 11/12, p. 77) Leonard Nimoy similarly expressed that he believed Pike's relationship with Nimoy's own character of Spock would not have been anywhere near as successful as that between Kirk and Spock. "Hunter was more reticent and less dramatic in his acting choices," Nimoy criticized, "leaving Spock's maneuvering space less clearly defined." (Starlog #63) Despite liking Jeffrey Hunter as an actor, Ronald D. Moore was also doubtful that Pike would have been as successful in the lead character role as Kirk turned out to be. "I don't think Jeffrey Hunter, as Captain Pike in the adventures of the Enterprise was really going to work," he noted. In agreement, Michael Taylor commented about Pike, "Looks like he stepped out of Forbidden Planet or something." (audio commentary, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (Blu-ray) special features)
By 2009, Jeffrey Hunter's performance as Captain Pike had become highly popular. Bruce Greenwood, who played the alternate reality version of Christopher Pike, referred to Hunter as having a "legion of fans he had from creating that role."  "People feel so strongly about every tiny little aspect of it," Greenwood stated. (Star Trek Magazine Souvenir Special, p. 34) On the other hand, Hunter's portrayal of Pike is less well known than William Shatner's depictions of Kirk and Leonard Nimoy's take on Spock, a situation which Greenwood pointed out. (Star Trek Magazine issue 175, p. 16)
In the critical review reference book Trek Navigator: The Ultimate Guide to the Entire Trek Saga (pp. 144, 29 & 30), Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross make remarks on Jeffrey Hunter's characterization of Captain Pike. Altman refers to it as "a powerful performance" and reckons of Hunter, "Although he probably wouldn't have proved Shatner's equal in a continuing series, he shines in his sole Star Trek outing." Gross opines, "Jeffrey Hunter is a bit stiff as Captain Pike, but he's an effective enough progenitor of William Shatner's James T. Kirk."
British writer Paul Cornell found Jeffrey Hunter in the role of Captain Pike particularly memorable and a performance "no one is ever likely to forget." (Star Trek Monthly issue 19, p. 75) Similarly, British journalist and author Andy Lane rhetorically asked, "Who can resist speculating on an entire parallel Star Trek history where Christopher Pike is captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise?" (Star Trek Monthly issue 28, p. 40) American writer Robert Greenberger observed, "There's a lot of [Horatio] Hornblower in Jeffrey Hunter's Pike, but it's mixed with a dash of Hamlet." (Star Trek: Enterprise Logs, "Introduction") American writer Stuart Moore noticed a particularly curious element of the character, commenting, "Pike […] had an interesting set of relationships with the women under his command." (Star Trek Magazine issue 154, p. 9)
Michael Okuda thought recasting the character of Christopher Pike for the "The Menagerie" two-parter, due to the unavailability of Jeffrey Hunter, worked "perfectly" and was done in an exceedingly clever fashion. Concerning how Sean Kenney adopted the role of Pike, Okuda supposed, "This is probably his most famous role, on Star Trek at least." ("The Menagerie, Part I" Starfleet Access, TOS Season 1 Blu-ray)
In the two-parter, Christopher Pike is highlighted in the credits. "I guess they figured top feature credit," Sean Kenney speculated, "was the least they could do to compensate all the restructuring to my anatomy and reward my patience." He revealed, "I had no misgivings about not being recognized. It was a thrill to be in the show [....] All in all, I felt proud of my efforts." (Starlog #113) However, he also conceded, "I'm not tooting my own horn I hope, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time for their sake and for mine." (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Three: The Formula")
Sean Kenney's appearances as Pike were highly successful with Marc Daniels, who directed Kenney in the "The Menagerie" two-parter, as well as with the creative staff at large. Daniels characterized the method in which they dealt with Jeffrey Hunter's absence as "a neat way out if it." Additionally, the director commented, "We were all satisfied by the results." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 33)
Gene Roddenberry also approved of Sean Kenney's performances as Pike. Said the actor, "On the last day of the shoot Gene came up to me and congratulated me for my terrific 'emoting job' [....] He said that I had put up with a lot and he wanted to reward my tenacity and good spirit. I certainly agreed with his point." (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Three: The Formula")
One reason why Sean Kenney concurred with the idea he had gone through a lot was because he was still suffering hair loss. He specified, "My hair was falling out from the two dye jobs they'd done on me [....] After the show wrapped [the Paramount hairdresser] […] had to dye my hair back to its original dark brown color (a third dye job within a month). My hair was coming out in large clumps. I remember she used a product called Fermadil from Austria (placenta from unborn sheep), and rolled it into my scalp and it stopped the hair loss." (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Three: The Formula")
After playing the deformed Christopher Pike, Sean Kenney sent a photograph of himself in the part to Fred Phillips. On it, the performer had written a message including the statement, "Thank you for your wonderful 'face lift'." (Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook, p. 188) The photo was from the series of screen tests conducted while the Pike makeup had been in development. The particular image Kenney used showed the makeup in its "final" form. (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "gallery pix")
In 1966, a TV Times Preview – misunderstanding that the wheelchair-bound Pike was Jeffrey Hunter under heavy makeup – was amazed by the performance. The publication praised Hunter for doing "excellent work" in the part. (Star Trek Magazine issue 166, p. 55)
The representations of Christopher Pike in "The Menagerie" inspired curiosity in J.K. Woodward, who (decades later) collaborated with Stuart Moore on the comic Captain's Log: Pike. Woodward's interest in Pike was piqued when he saw "The Menagerie" at age seven. He related, "I remember thinking at the time, 'What's that guy's story? How do you get from being like Captain Kirk to being stuck in that chair?'" (Star Trek Magazine issue 154, p. 9)
Sean Kenney's stint of playing Christopher Pike was instrumental in landing him the role of Lieutenant DePaul, the casting of which was one way Gene Roddenberry attempted to reward Kenney for the job he had done as Pike. While Kenney was playing DePaul in "Arena", however, very few people really knew he had played the earlier part. When McCoy actor DeForest Kelley became curious how such a young actor could have been cast as DePaul, it was one of the men assigned to the makeup department who revealed Kenney's previous role, to which Kelley either responded, "You were Pike? Damn, you're so young," or "You played Pike? You're so damn young." (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Three: The Formula"; Star Trek Magazine issue 175, p. 75)
Pike was to have been mentioned in the original version of the episode "Bem", undeveloped for TOS. (The Trek 25th Anniversary Celebration, p. 51) In the original outline of that installment (dated 14 March 1968), Kirk told Spock, "I remember reading Captain Pike's reports on the trouble you had adjusting."
One night after ten years had elapsed since his appearances on Star Trek, Sean Kenney was visiting Chuck Norris' wife's restaurant in Marina Del Ray when he had an encounter with Jeffrey Hunter's wife, Emily McLaughlin. "As I approached her table, her face nearly turned white," Kenney related. "I did resemble her late husband quite a bit and by now I was in my late thirties and more mature looking than when I played Pike. As I sat, I calmed her nerves and relayed the story of how Gene Roddenberry had hand-picked me to play Pike because Jeff was not available. She kept shaking her head at the strong resemblance [....] I often wish that I had met Jeff at some point, while he was still alive." (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Ten: Watch Your Back!")
Andy Lane noted that Pike's disfigured face is "not unlike that of the Phantom of the Opera." Lane went on to comment, "The result on the audience is horror tinged with disquiet [....] We are only too aware that disease or accident might one day result in us wearing the same face." (Star Trek Monthly issue 9, p. 15)
In Cinefantastique (Vol. 22, No. 3, p. 27), the mistake of crediting Jeffrey Hunter with the role of the disfigured Pike was made by critic Thomas Doherty. He also likened the character's fate, as established at the end of "The Menagerie, Part II", to the experience of watching science fiction fantasy. He concluded, "Like the viewer, locked in a chair, Pike is free to roam the galaxy in his mind."
Star Trek: Enterprise Co-Executive Producer Chris Black reckoned that, had he recommended that ENT adhere to canon by portraying someone other than Jonathan Archer as the first captain of the starship Enterprise, he would have suggested that Pike had historically filled that role (whereas Robert April had actually preceded Pike). Black therefore reasoned that he would have submitted that Pike, rather than Archer, be prominently featured in ENT. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 646)
Christopher Pike was an influence on one particular military protocol, which Sean Kenney learned when two F-16 pilots approached him. One of the pilots, who was extremely military-looking, asked Kenney if he was aware the Air Force uses "a Captain Pike code" when flying over hostile territory in Iraq. Kenney was highly surprised and at first questioned whether the pilot was joking. (; Star Trek Magazine issue 175, p. 73) "He said, 'No. When we break radio silence we say, "Is that a one-beep or two-beep Roger?" Only a person who is a Trekker would know that code,'" Kenney relayed. (Star Trek Magazine issue 175, p. 73) He was still stunned by the news. "I thought that's hilarious," he expressed, "that now I'm a code in Iraq for the pilots there." 
Shortly before his death in 2008, a wheelchair-bound Robert Justman introduced himself to Sean Kenney at an annual Star Trek convention in Las Vegas and thanked him personally for having played Pike. "He told me," relayed Kenney, "that if Gene and he hadn't found me for the role of Pike they were in big trouble." (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Three: The Formula")
Sean Kenney was proud of the ways in which his representation of Captain Pike inspired physically disabled people, in general. When interviewed in 2010, he mused, "Here was a guy, Captain Pike, who was almost the first physically challenged person anyone saw on TV in a major part [....] I meet people now [in wheelchairs] who roll up to me and say, 'When I saw that show I thought, what if I lost my voice? I've only lost my legs.'" (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One; )
At a San Francisco signing show called Wondercon in November 2012, Christian Slater directly thanked Sean Kenney for, in Kenney's words, "the Pike inspiration." (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Twenty-Two: Looking for a Galaxy… Try Ours!")
In 2013, Sean Kenney referenced Pike in the title of his autobiography, Captain Pike Found Alive! He ended the book by addressing Star Trek fans with the statement, "I […] want you to remember what Captain Pike would have wanted to say to you as you look toward the heavens… 'Your being here does matter.'" (Captain Pike Found Alive!, "Chapter Twenty-Six: The Future")
Bruce Greenwood learned about the popularity of the Pike character, especially Jeffrey Hunter's presentment of it, after he received the task of adopting the alternate reality variant.  "Regardless of what I choose to do, I thought I'd better know what other people's frame of reference is," he remembered. (Star Trek Magazine Souvenir Special, p. 34) He noticed the original Pike was highly ambivalent and torn about remaining with Starfleet, whereas these qualities seem to be essentially reversed in the character's alternate reality counterpart. (Star Trek Magazine issue 175, p. 16) Greenwood pointed out, "The central dilemma for Jeffrey Hunter is not the central dilemma for my Pike."  The actor suggested, "They are almost opposites [....] Yet you can look at it as though they are two sides of the same coin, because of the parallel universe." Owing to the relative obscurity of Hunter's portrayal of Pike (compared to William Shatner's and Leonard Nimoy's depictions of Kirk and Spock respectively), Greenwood admitted feeling no need to infuse any of Hunter's performance style in the way he re-enacted the character, being unsure if such likenesses would actually be apparent. As a result, only one unmistakable "tip of the hat" to televised Pike was included in Greenwood's portrayal, which was that Pike ends up in a wheelchair at the end of the film Star Trek. (Star Trek Magazine issue 175, p. 16) Despite this, Sean Kenney reckoned, "I think Bruce was inspired by Jeffrey Hunter's work because, obviously, I played the crippled Pike." He also announced, "If J.J. Abrams ever goes into looking for the crippled Pike, I'd love to do it again." 
Although the alternate reality version of Pike dies in Star Trek Into Darkness, a scene in Star Trek Beyond, involving Captain James T. Kirk and Doctor Leonard McCoy, was inspired by Pike's interaction with Dr. Boyce in "The Cage". Beyond director Justin Lin, during his boyhood, had repeatedly been confused by seeing Pike in that episode, while Lin was watching out-of-sequence reruns of TOS. (SFX, issue 276, p. 47)
In 2019, Anson Mount appeared in the role of Christopher Pike during the second season of Star Trek: Discovery, serving as the captain of the USS Discovery in-between stints on the Enterprise. Reception to Mount's portrayal of Pike was largely positive. In a review of the season as a whole, Kyle Hadyniak of the site TrekNews cited Mount's portrayal of Pike as the highlight of the show's second season. He stated that Mount "brought charm, intelligence, gravitas, and authority" to a character that had previously been seen only briefly in the franchise and that it was easy to see why fans had grown attached to the character.  Keisha Hatchett of TV Guide described Mount's portrayal as dashing and charismatic, stating that he was "very much the man Gene Roddenberry envisioned so many decades ago but never feels like a relic of the past."  Following the news that Mount's Pike character would not be a part of the program's third season, fans began a petition for the character to return to the franchise in some form, possibly as part of his own spin-off series. Mount expressed openness to the idea, saying "It’s a character I love; it’s a franchise I love; it’s an experience that I have already loved."  In May 2020, the series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, featuring Mount's Pike character, as well as Spock and Una Chin-Riley, was announced. The fan reception to the characters was stated to have played a part in the decision to create the series. 
Outside of the canon information derived from Christopher Pike's on-screen appearances, Diane Carey's Final Frontier novel lists his full name as "Christopher Richard Pike." His adventures as captain of the Enterprise were the center of Marvel's Star Trek: Early Voyages comic book series, establishing his father as retired Admiral Josh Pike. Pike was also featured in a handful of novels and comics, some of them depicting his life after being injured and left on Talos IV, some of them depicting his earlier adventures.
The Pocket novel Vulcan's Glory by TOS script writer D.C. Fontana states that Pike previously commanded the starship USS Yorktown, a reference to the original name intended to be given to the Enterprise. Some stories (published prior to it becoming canon in DIS: "Brother") have also said that Pike served as the executive officer on board the Enterprise under Captain Robert T. April. (Crisis on Vulcan; Star Trek: Federation - The First 150 Years)
In the Star Trek novel Enterprise: The First Adventure, Pike is promoted to commodore upon relinquishing command of the Enterprise. This could indicate that "fleet captain" was considered a position and not a rank.
Pike is also the main focus of the non-canon novel Burning Dreams, which gives a detailed account of his life and career, as well as The Captain's Table #6: Where Sea Meets Sky. Burning Dreams establishes that, after the incident on Talos IV, Pike spent much of the rest of his career wondering if his life and everything that he was experiencing in life was an illusion and if he was still in the cell on Talos IV, until, while on a mission with Spock, Pike asked him about it. Spock clearly refutes the idea, saying the idea that the Talosians could have made such a perfect illusion that none of the crew ever saw through it as extremely unlikely. According to the novel, his parents were Charlie Pike and Willa McKinnies, and he lived on Elysium as a child.
In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel Unity, Ezri Dax said that Pike was part of the joint Starfleet-Trill mission where the parasitic being was first discovered. At that time, Pike was a fleet captain. This is from The Lives of Dax.
The novel The Enterprise War depicts Pike and the adventures of the Enterprise and its crew during the 2256-57 Federation-Klingon War.