After much speculation and hope, the original Captain Kirk, William Shatner (we should probably start calling him Kirk Prime), has confirmed that he has in fact been contacted by J.J. Abrams to come back to the role that made him famous nearly half a century ago.
Five days ago, Badass Digest broke the news that roles for both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy had been written for the forthcoming 50th anniversary Trek movie, and that all they had to do was accept the roles. This was plastered all over the internet, and was met with some measure of apprehension, disbelief and suspicion. However, to counter that there was also a lot of excitement at seeing the two biggest icons in all of science fiction together again playing an epic part in the new movie! As Star Trek nears its golden anniversary, should Shatner and Nimoy accept, it only makes sense that the two actors who started the franchise should bring it full circle to celebrate this milestone!
After Badass Digest broke the news, Shatner took to twitter saying:
“I don’t know anything about the current gossip. Nobody has contacted me. Right now it’s just rhetoric to cause hype.”
However, it now seems that he has changed his tune. Earlier today, at the Nashville Wizard World Nashville Comic Con, Shatner let it drop that he had indeed been contacted about the role, but had been sworn to secrecy by Abrams himself. He wasn’t even allowed to tell his wife. Apparently a couple of weeks ago while he was in Australia, Abrams called him to talk about it. Shatner said that Abrams told him:
“I’m calling because the director of Star Trek, the next movie, has had an idea where you might be involved, so I’m calling to find out whether you would be interested.”
Today on Nashville, the good captain told a crowd of thousands:
“It’s all over the Internet that the director had held an interview and said they want Shatner and Nimoy to be in the next movie. I’ll bet you J.J.’s frothing at the mouth at this point. So the news is out that they have an idea that they want Leonard and myself…they might want Leonard and myself in it. But I would love to do it. But how do you get me fifty years later into the movie? I mean how do you rationalize it? I know it’s science fiction, but even I couldn’t come up with an idea. So that’s the news on that.”
So, now it’s official! We may get to see Kirk and Spock Prime back in the saddle again, “boldly going,” into the, “final frontier,” where they belong! Many of us thought that 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was going to be the last time we saw these two together. But, as Spock himself always says, “There are always Possibilities…”
Many people have speculated that Shatner and Nimoy are too old to return, and that in the case of the latter, seriously ill. However, as reported by Word of the Nerd back in April, Mr. Spock may not be as ill as people think. Sure he does suffer from COPD after decades of smoking, but the images of him being wheeled through an airport looking frail in a wheelchair, were misconstrued. Mr Nimoy had this to say:
“I quit smoking 30 years ago. Not soon enough. I have COPD. Smokers, please understand. If you quit after you’re diagnosed with lung damage it’s too late. Grandpa says learn my lesson, quit now!! LLAP”
He makes it clear that the reason he was being wheeled through the airport wasn’t due to his impending demise, but to the fact that he is older, has a respiratory concern, and had to make a connecting flight. (See the full story here.) He may be getting up there in years, but without a doubt he’ll still be able to tackle the role that he is best known for.
So, what do you think? Is this a good move on the part of the directors, or is it a mistake? Shatner originated the role of James T. Kirk, but does he have a place in the Abramsverse of Star Trek? This writer for one thinks any homage to what has come before can only validate what is now, and what is to be.