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Ever since 2009's feature film reboot of Star Trek, the possibility of William Shatner's incarnation of Captain Kirk appearing in the new adventures of the USS Enterprise has been a subject of constant discussion. While no clear opportunities to do so have popped up, and Star Trek Beyond won't be changing that anytime soon, Shatner is still more than up for donning a uniform and playing his part once more.
During a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, the famed Sci-Fi actor vouched for his enthusiasm with the following statement:
I would play an old Captain Kirk, absolutely. You would have [to have] an interesting character, not a cameo, like 'Here I am, aren't I interesting?' It's the ongoing world, it's the world within science-fiction. Yes, you age within the universe. Time goes on, but time bends, as well. There's so many things you could do.
While William Shatner is definitely right about the nature of science fiction being fluid enough to allow for the older version of Captain Kirk to come back to the screen, the time travel element of Star Trek has made things a bit more complicated. While the late Leonard Nimoy's older Spock fell through a temporal wormhole, thus stranding him in his own past, James T. Kirk has no such convenient excuse to lean on. In fact, by the time "Spock Prime" made his accidental voyage to the past, Kirk had been dead for years after the events of Star Trek: Generations.
The bigger problem with William Shatner's possible return to the Star Trek series is the fact that, much like Lynda Carter's wishes for any involvement in the new Wonder Woman film, he doesn't just want to be a cute little cameo. Interestingly enough, the Star Trek reboot did at one point include a scene where Kirk made a holographic cameo in a birthday message to Spock Prime. Obviously, this wouldn't have worked, and the only real option that presents Shatner with the sort of role he's looking for would involve either another time travel adventure, or some sort of "pocket universe" in which the older Kirk somehow reaches out to the world of the younger crew.
Science fiction may have loose boundaries, but to bring back the elder statesman version of Captain Kirk into the Star Trek universe is going to be a trial of the most heroic proportions. Still, if the writers of the franchise ever manage to crack the code and put the older, wiser man in the same room as the brasher, cock-sure youth, you can bet that William Shatner will be ready to sign on and continue to bear the torch of Starfleet wisdom. For now, you can enjoy the adventures of Captain Kirk the younger, as Star Trek Beyond will be beaming into your local movie theater on July 22nd.