William Shatner’s role as Captain Kirk ended on Star Trek: Generations…or did it?
As has been said, people don’t really die in the Star Trek universe, and even though Captain James T. Kirk died in the Star Trek: The Next Generation film, Generations, William Shatner devised a plan to bring the good captain back to life in his novel, The Return. In it, the Romulans steal Captain Kirk’s body, and the Borg bring him back to life and use implants to turn him against the Federation. Of course, he was originally thought to be deceased at the beginning of the movie, but he’d only fallen into the Nexus. Does this open up a possibility of a return in Star Trek: Picard?
In June, Shatner expressed interest in returning but to the role, but he clarified that the captain’s resurrection would have to make “reasonable sense.”
"If they wrote it and it made reasonable sense then I’d love to [revive Captain Kirk]. I wouldn’t do a series. If the role was written properly and it wasn’t a cameo or gratuitous; being there just to show my face, I wouldn’t do that."
With Admiral Picard recently passing away then being brought back to life with an android body, it opens the door to a Kirk revival on Star Trek: Picard. Picard did talk Kirk into helping fight to stop the opening of the Nexus and, as a result, Kirk died. There has to have been some guilt on the Admiral’s part. And what better way to help Picard’s memories than to show a very much alive Kirk?
As to the possible scenario that would allow Captain Kirk to show up over a century into the future, Star Trek writers have always been able to get creative with saving lives of important characters. Spock returned after his body was restored on the Genesis planet, and even Scotty, the engineer on the original Star Trek series was brought back to life by Nomad, a technology-advanced life-form. More resurrections have taken place by restorations of timelines and the like.
Kirk and Picard worked well together in Generations, and it wouldn’t be unfeasible for the two captains to come together for another important journey. As Picard turned to Deanna Troi and Will Riker for assistance when he was trying to protect Soji, he could do the same upon learning that Captain Kirk was alive. Saving the galaxy is Kirk’s forte. He thinks outside the box, and with both minds working together, Kirk and Picard would, once again, be a formidable team.
So it’s up to the writers to create a return to the role that would entice William Shatner enough to put on the old, familiar boots. There’s little doubt he’d be welcome in the Star Trek: Picard world.