As most everyone knows, the original Star Trek series was cancelled in 1969, after just three seasons on NBC. But that was hardly the end of the voyages of the starship Enterprise. The fans kept the show and characters alive via their own stories and conventions. The show really caught on in reruns and eventually spawned tons of official merchandise, an animated series (recently released on DVD), three “spin-off” series and a string of popular movies (starring the original cast and then the cast of the spin-off Star Trek: The Next Generation series). The original Star Trek series is currently enjoying its 40th anniversary and is being aired on TV Land with “improved” special effects.
William Shatner, who continues to have an interesting and varied career, will forever be associated with Captain James Tiberius Kirk. After playing the role for almost 28 years, Captain Kirk was killed in the seventh Star Trek movie entitled Star Trek: Generations. It’s generally felt that the death of the iconic hero was anticlimactic and the character was not given the proper send-off that he deserved. More than one fan’s come up with an alternate ending that would have allowed for a fitting death scene or even Kirk’s return.
William Shatner himself realized there was room for more Kirk stories and co-authored a series of popular books that resurrected the Captain and followed him on a series of adventures in the time of Captain Picard and company.
But will Captain Kirk ever be resurrected on film? Well sure, there are rumors that Matt Damon may play a younger version in the upcoming J.J. Abrams film. But what about the “real” Kirk? Doubtful… and yet…
William Shatner, taking time off from Boston Legal, Show Me the Money game show, his DVD club and his dozens of other projects, recently filmed a DirecTV commercial as Captain Kirk. Using CGI, the new Shatner footage is combined with footage from the Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country film. Kirk lives again — though hawking 21st century satellite television services. The spot is fun and quite probably provides our last glimpse of William Shatner playing Captain Kirk on-screen.
This isn’t the first time that William Shatner has played Captain Kirk in a commercial. Both Kirk and Scotty (the late James Doohan) appeared in a United Kingdom PowerGen commercial in the 1990s. To see this spot, and other Star Trek-related spots featuring the original cast, visit this Star Trek video clip page.