STAR TREK: The Cage
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(Captain Christopher Pike) In one of the most enduring roles of his career, Jeff stars as the iconic first captain of the Federation starship, the U.S.S. Enterprise, in “The Cage”: the first pilot for what became the first Star Trek television series (a.k.a. “The Original Series”). Although NBC did not pick up the first pilot, the network did pick up a second pilot starring William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk. Kirk succeeded Pike as captain of the Enterprise.
Plot of “The Cage”
In “The Cage,” aliens capture Captain Pike when he visits the surface of the planet Talos IV in response to a distress call. The crew of a research vessel that had crashed on the planet many years before had apparently sent out the call. In fact, the call had been sent by the aliens. To return to the Enterprise, Pike has to overcome the aliens’ ability to immerse him in compelling illusions. Co-stars Susan Oliver as Vina, Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, and Majel Barrett as Number One.
“The Menagerie”, the only two-part episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, re-uses most of the footage from “The Cage”. This episode, which aired during Star Trek‘s first season, won a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.
In “The Menagerie,” which occurs some years after the events in “The Cage,” Pike, severely disabled by a radioactive explosion, is now confined to a wheelchair and can only communicate through “Yes” or “No” electronic signals. The Federation has court-martialed Mr. Spock (Nimoy) for trying to take Pike back to Talos IV, which had been declared off-limits to Federation vessels after Pike’s prior misadventure there. “The Menagerie” uses footage from “The Cage” as backstory for Spock’s defense during the court-martial proceedings; Sean Kenney plays the disabled Pike. Regular cast members of Star Trek: The Original Series co-star, including William Shatner as Kirk and DeForest Kelley as Dr. McCoy.