I think it's difficult to judge from "The Cage" alone how Pike would have worked as a character in contrast to Kirk. Remember, at the beginning of "The Cage," Pike is coming off a major event in which several of his crewmembers were killed. He's naturally upset, and he's doubting his own ability to make good decisions. But that's not an indication that Pike is always a gloomy, brooding character. It is a reaction to a specific incident, which is what Boyce tries to make him see.
Then, for most of the rest of the episode, Pike is dealing with an extremely serious situation in which he is a prisoner and having his mind manipulated. Naturally, he's going to be rather serious during this situation.
But by the end of the episode, Pike's attitude has changed. When he banters with Boyce on the bridge at the end, he's rejuvenated and recharged and ready to move on to the next mission. Had we seen the character again, he might have been far more upbeat and outgoing than what we saw in "The Cage". One episode is simply not enough to judge by.
Yes, exactly. Pilots are often more self-contained and TV-movie-like than regular run episodes, and so with "The Cage." Here the central character had kind of a psychological dilemma and didn't know whether he wanted to continue with the life he was leading. After his experiences in the episode, he seems to be more at peace and, of course, ready for more adventures.
I like Jeffrey Hunter as an actor, he gives a very effective foundation to Martin and counterpoint to John Wayne in The Searchers
. Sergeant Rutledge
as mentioned above is really good, too. But in the performances I've seen he doesn't show much of a looser, joking, lighter side comparable to how Shatner is, so I think the captain character would have evolved differently if he'd kept the role. Which would probably have been fine, we'd never have known any different.