William Shatner is the man who originally played Captain James T. Kirk, yet fans everywhere are surprised that Shatner doesn’t want to return to the role.
Why this is news is beyond me. William Shatner has not reprised the role of James. T Kirk since 1994 in Star Trek: Generations, where he was killed off in the closing moments of the film. Since then Shatner has stayed steadfast in his desire to not reprise the iconic Starfleet captain.
This whole thing started on Twitter when Shatner was asked by a fan if he’d return to Star Trek now that Patrick Stewart has in Star Trek: Picard. Shatner replied back with a simple “No”. He would go on to say that he felt Kirk’s story is played out, further explaining in another Tweet that with Kirk’s death, what’s really left to explore?
He’s not wrong and honestly, fans who are shocked by this need to realize that Shatner is 88 years old. It’s beyond hard to watch a near-80-year-old Stewart try to run around (but mostly sit) and it’d be even worse with Shatner.
Part of the complaints about the modern franchises of Trek is the desire to redo history. Recast roles, retell stories, and just stick too much into the past and what worked. Star Trek used to push the envelope. They used to create new characters, new ships, new series. They used to try new.
Now they’re sticking to the tried and tested ‘nostalgia’ approach. Something Shatner wants no part in and frankly, I don’t blame him. Star Trek would do wise to avoid Star Wars pratfalls and make a wholly new property that doesn’t rely on past characters like Spock or Picard to sell interest.
Remember, the tag line was “Boldly go where no man has gone before…”.