Last summer, when news about the upcoming Star Trek film was first leaking out, the big question was whether original castmembers would be included somehow in the prequel. When it was announced that Leonard Nimoy would be returning as Mr. Spock, it seemed very strange that William Shatner, the original Captain Kirk, didn’t also have a role in the project.
Shatner became very publicly vocal about his puzzlement and disappointment over not being included in the movie. It was assumed that the original Kirk wasn’t going to be in the movie because he’d been killed in 1994’s Star Trek: Generations, the seventh Star Trek feature. Now it seems that Shatner could have been in the movie but didn’t want to do it.
In an interview with AMC, movie director J.J. Abrams set the record straight. He said, “We actually had written a scene with [Shatner as Kirk] in it that was a flashback kind of thing, but the truth is, it didn’t quite feel right. The bigger thing was that [Shatner] was very vocal that he didn’t want to do a cameo. We tried desperately to put him in the movie, but he was making it very clear that he wanted the movie to focus on him significantly, which, frankly, he deserves.”
Abrams continued, “The truth is, the story that we were telling required a certain adherence to the Trek canon and consistency of storytelling. It’s funny — a lot of the people who were proclaiming that he must be in this movie were the same people saying it must adhere to canon. Well, his character died on screen. Maybe a smarter group of filmmakers could have figured out how to resolve that.”
The co-writer of the new movie, Bob Orci, subsequently told TrekMovie.com, “Alex [Kurtzman] and I did indeed come up with a sequence for Shatner that we wrote before the [writers] strike, although technically it wasn’t a flashback.” Orci said that, once the movie had been released, he would post the Kirk scene in question. Stay tuned!