Star Trek: Enterprise was never a ratings juggernaut, and in its fourth season, it aired with the proverbial axe hanging over its head. So having William Shatner guest star would have been huge. The publicity for that episode alone could have potentially carried the remainder of the season. And Shatner wanted to guest. In fact, he met with show creators Rick Berman and Brannon Braga along with showrunner Manny Coto and pitched a story he’d developed along with novelist collaborators Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens.
The story had Shatner appearing as Tiberius, who was Captain Kirk’s mirror universe self. Sent back in time, he would have met Captain Archer in the Prime Universe, and because of their efforts trying to get Tiberius home, they would have been responsible for creating the Mirror Universe. Sounds like an episode I would have loved to have seen…as would most Star Trek fans.
And the producers response to this pitch? They came up with one of their own in which Shatner would play the Enterprise’s chef, who we never got to see. He would have been an ancestor of Captain Kirk who took on the chef’s identity because he just wanted a time travel adventure. It comes as no big surprise that this pitch didn’t interest Shatner. In fact, when it was proposed to him, Manny Coto said there was a long silence. And that was the end of that.
Enterprise went on with its own two-part mirror episode, In A Mirror Darkly. During production of those two episodes, the cast and crew was notified the show was being canceled. I can’t imagine the same news coming down had this been an episode with William Shatner. On top of that, one collaboration with the man who was the star of the first Star Trek series could have led to others. One has to wonder what kind of impact that would have had on the series.