The vegan actor Paul Wesley has been cast as young Captain James T. Kirk in season two of Paramount+ series Star Trek: New Strange Worlds.

Known for his leading role as Stefan Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries, Wesley has been a vegan since at least 2012, when he co-hosted the Humane Society of the United States’ H-Couture 2012 event, a fashion show to promote cruelty-free clothing. In 2020, Wesley took to Twitter to encourage his then 4.1 million followers to learn about the horrors of factory farming and its links to zoonotic diseases. On Earth Day of 2021, he posted on Instagram “A plant-based diet is hands down THE single biggest way to reduce your impact on this earth. I encourage you all to try to reduce your dependence on animal products. Not only will we be saving the planet, but we’ll also be saving many animals from the unnecessary suffering that is a sad reality of today’s industrialized food system.”

Alex Kurtzman, Executive Producer of the series, and co-showrunners Akiva Goldsman and Henry Alonso Myers, said in a joint statement “Paul is an accomplished actor, an astonishing presence, and a welcomed key addition to the show. Like all of us, he is a life-long Star Trek fan, and we are excited by his interpretation of this iconic role.”  He will fit right in as there has been a tradition of vegan themes in the Star Trek Universe. The Star Trek Next Generation’s character Commander William T. Riker says in one episodeWe no longer enslave animals for food purposes.”