Why William Shatner Thinks That Star Trek Movie Gig That Almost Happened Was Stupid

William Shatner as James Kirk in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Even though Zachary Quinto took over as Spock in 2009's Star Trek, the reboot also included the return of Leonard Nimoy as the original Spock, a.k.a. Spock Prime, since his spat with Nero is what led to the alternate timeline being created. But the movie could have also featured a cameo from William Shatner's Captain James T. Kirk, who would have been seen in a recorded message kept by Spock Prime. However, that scene was never included in the final version of Star Trek, and when a fan recently went over the specifics of this cameo to Shatner, he promptly declared it to be stupid because it didn't have any substance. In Shatner's words:

That is the stupidest scene I have ever heard of! When I saw Leonard [Nimoy] in the first movie that J.J. [Abrams] made and he went back in time, I said to Leonard, 'You know you are old when you go back in time and you are still old!'... Those are gratuitous scenes! I want to play something -- well the question is, How do you put this 50-year-older captain into that thing?

William Shatner was among the many guests at Star Trek Las Vegas (via TrekMovie) a few weeks back, and during his panel, a fan asked him about the Star Trek cameo that was written for him. At first, Shatner declared the reports about this scene to be "fake news," but then "seriously" added that he had heard about this story, but it was never in his "consciousness." As has been pointed out, the Star Trek creative team discussed this scene "internally," but they never approached Shatner about making an appearance. Judging by his reaction when the fan at Star Trek Las Vegas started describing this scene (which would have had Shatner's Kirk speaking in a hologram message for Spock's birthday), it's probably for the best that they never talked to him about it, as he might have balked at it in a similar way.

As longtime Star Trek fans know, William Shatner's iteration of James Kirk died while helping his fellow Enterprise captain Jean-Luc Picard stop Tolian Soran in 1994's Star Trek Generations. Although he was brought back to life in the "Shatnerverse," a series of non-canon Star Trek novels co-written by Shatner himself, Kirk Prime has remain deceased in the main continuity, which is why, as J.J. Abrams noted, it's been extremely difficult to effectively feature him in these reboots. It was rumored that Shatner might show up in last year's Star Trek Beyond as a future version of Chris Pine's Kirk, but that was later debunked. However, Shatner did get to cameo in a way in Beyond when Zachary Quinto's Spock was looking through his future counterpart's possessions and found a picture of the main Enterprise team from the original timeline in their older years (the photo itself was a promotional image for 1989's Star Trek V: The Final Frontier).

It's worth mentioning that the upcoming Star Trek 4 has been implied to include time travel, as Chris Hemsworth would reprise George Kirk, James Kirk's father who died at the beginning of the first Star Trek reboot movie. So if/when the fourth installment is greenlit and does indeed involve temporal manipulation, there may still be an opportunity for Shatner to cameo, provided he likes the material written for him.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.