Media Already Playing The Trek XI Recasting Game… joins in

Star Trek XI is still months away from getting a finished script and budget, but the recasting buzz is already building. Many Trekkies are still debating if recasting is the right way to go, but the mainstream media is way past that. Even though it is too early for Abrams to start approaching actors, Matt Damon just saying he hasn’t been approached yet resulted in hundreds of articles around the web and in print.  It may not have been Abrams intention, but the buzz about ‘who will be the new Kirk/Spock/etc’ is guaranteed to generate tons of free publicity for Star Trek XI. It is still unclear how many original characters will be in the new movie, but each one will create its own mini buzz. And the media aren’t waiting to see who Abrams picks, they are already choosing their favorites (usually going for the whole crew). Here are some recent examples of some journalists’ recasting advice for JJ Abrams



Houston Chronicle
(Amy Bioncolli)

Deseret News
(Jeff Vice)

Starburst Magazine

(Chris Beaumont)


Christian Bale

Matt Damon

Matt Damon 

Matt Damon  


Heath Ledger

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck

Billy Zane


Jason Lee

William H Macy

Callum Blue

Gary Sinise


Angus MadFadyen

Dominic West 

Greg Grunberg

Mike Myers


Thandie Newton

Gabrielle Union

Gina Torres

Regina King


Gael Garcia Bernal 

Shia LaBeouf

Benjamin MacKenzie 

Frankie Muniz


Daniel Dae Kim

John Cho 

Ken Watanabe

Parry Shen


Reese Witherspoon


Maggie Grace


My Picks
Some of the journalists choices above are excellent. I thought I would get into the game and provide some of mine (note these are based entirely on speculation and not any inside info)


Anthony’s Picks


Matt Damon

He has the right look for a Commander or a Captain Kirk. He can do drama and action and has enough star power to help bring in new audiences to the franchise. Rumor or not, JJ Abrams can do a lot worse and the Trek franchise would be lucky to have him.


Joaquin Phoenix
No one can brood like Juaquin Phoenix. An excellent actor who can bring depth and nuance to probably the hardest to cast role. No one can replace Nimoy but then again no one could replace Johnny Cash. He also has good name recognition and should also bring people into the theaters


Gary Sinise

Gary Sinise is Doctor Leonard Mc Coy, if you cant see that then get your eyes checked. Over his career he has demonstrated great range and the awww shucks charm of our favorite southern Doctor would be a walk in the park for him. You need an actor of his calibre to be believable as Kirk’s conscience.


Gerard Butler

How about an actual Scot to play Scottie? Butler has played Dracula, Atilla the Hun, Beowolf and the Phantom of the Opera. He would bring a more serious tone to the faithful engineer, but these are seriuos times we live in.


Sophie Okonedo

Beautiful and talented, this oscar nominee for Hotel Rwanda could raise the bar on the sole African crewmember. Maybe these days Uhura can do a bit more than just answer Kirk’s phonecalls and she has the talent to do it.


Aleksei Chadov

Those who have seen the Russian SciFi hits ‘Night Watch’ and ‘Day Watch’ will recognize this talented young Russian. Throw on a Davy Jones wig and he is ready to say ‘phasers weady’.


Shin Koyamada

If Sulu gets a chance to show off his sword fighting skills this action star is ready to go. He appeared with Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai and was also on UPNs Jake 2.0.



Reese Witherspoon

Works for me. Witherspoon can switch from swooning over Spock to assisting McCoy handily…so hello nurse!

Britney Spears
Lets face it, the job of a yeoman aint rocket science…even on a spaceship! The film needs some sex appeal and teen appeal, so why the hell not?
Tom Hanks
Hanks is a huge Trekkie and would be perfect for a cameo to hand the keys to the Enterprise over.
Gary Mitchell


Ben Affleck

Of course Damon’s buddy Affleck is totally wrong for Spock. But who better for Kirk’s buddy Gary?
The Villain

Tom Cruise
Every film is only as good as its villian, and you couldn’t do better than the man we love to hate…Tom Cruise. He is talented, has global name recognition and takes JJ Abrams phone calls. Brilliant as the baddie in Collateral, an over the top Trek villian is just what you need right now Tom. What if it were called Xenu?
Kirk’s Leading Lady
Evangeline Lily
Kirk has to leave someone for his true love, the USS Enterprise. Lily is just the kind of brilliant, talented babe that might make him think twice before setting sail. And I think Abrams has an in with her.
First Red Shirt to die


Greg Grunberg

Give him a glorious death JJ.


One thing is for sure, with Star Trek XI recasting classic characters Paramount have built in free publicity that no ‘Nemesis sequel’ could ever get. Whether people are speculating or arguing over it, it all builds momementum for Star Trek XI.

…so what is your dream cast? 


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Great lineup!! I hope that most of these get cast.

I’m surprised no one has mentioned Josh Hartnett for Spock. If you look at some old movies of Nimoy before Trek, Hartnett looks surprisngly like him.

Well… Reese Witherspoon as Christine Chapel is insanely unrealistic (she’s one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood, and is too big a star to take such a small supporting role), and don’t even get me started on the vomit-inducing thought of Britney [CAN’T ACT!] Spears as Rand, but I gotta say…

Tom Hanks cameoing as Captain Christopher Robin Pike is truly inspired (and I like the Okonedo/Uhura, Chadov/Chekov and Koyamada/Sule suggestions, as well).

Also, Sinise (or Macy) as McCoy would be pretty great, and it’s tough to think of a better choice than Damon for Kirk. Spock’s the really, really hard one, and may be best served by an unknown.

If we’re going for an “older” young Kirk (Damon is as old as Shatner when he started the show back in ’66) then let’s get Russell Crowe in there. He filled Kirk’s boots as Capt. Jack Aubrey in “Master and Commander” a couple of years back. Damon is not nearly as charismatic as Crowe. Ask yourself this: who would you be willing to follow into the heart of a burning star? That’s what made Kirk a great captain– he inspired his crew to sacrifice everything for the mission. As for Spock and McCoy, I like the suggestion of Phoenix and Sinise respectively. Tom Cruise as a villain will never happen as Cruise and Paramount Studios are on the outs. How about Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) as Chapel? Or Rand? Just find her a place on the ship!

Tony, those choices are great specially Joaquin Phoenix and Tom Hanks.

Christopher Pike – Ray L;iotta

I love Macy as McCoy — and, honestly, I think Sinese could pull Spock off (though he might be too old).

Then again, I like Adam Cohen’s suggestion above for Crowe…Master and Commander was one of the best Trek movies in a long time.

Oh, and I am all over the Thandie-Newton-as-Uhura suggestion.

For this budget and type of film I think they get one, maybe two A-listers. It ain’t “Ocean’s Eleven.”

So, a big name for Kirk and a big name for the villain — if there’s a villain as such.

I’d rather be surprised by Abrams than have the cast suit my preconceptions, and physical resemblance to the established Trek actor is really low on my list of requirements for a part. Out of all the folks discussed above, I’d choose Phoenix or Ledger — but for Kirk, not Spock.

My picks are just based upon the above pictures: Christian Bale as Kirk. Everyone else Anthony picked is fine except Britney Spears. That’s just too bubblegum for me. In a decade after the film is over, people will be looking at that casting like as Eddie Murphie type of thing in ST IV.

Good suggestions (Witherspoon and Spears are joke choices, right?). I suggested Hanks as Pike a couples months ago. I’ve since been leaning toward Ray Liotta as Pike, but Hanks has been a Trek booster for so long he deserves his choice of roles.

Scotty -Mike Myers lol great idea

Beyonce as Uhura ,Paris Hilton as yeoman Rand ,Spock is gonna be a tough one to cast pheonix is a good suggestion ,but I think he broods too much which suggests he’s barely holding it in (emotion)Spock is cooler than that .He’s more AUSTERE than brooding.The leading lady should be someone who really shatters Kirk ,which would explain why he never is able to commit.That explains Paris Hilton as Rand because she’s kinda like The Clean upa lady.

Great choices, except I’m not sure about Joaquin Phoenix as Spock. I know this is a daft point, but Damon is two inches taller than Phoenix and the pointy-eared one should be taller than Kirk.

But now I’m just REALLY nit-picking…

As a Brit, I love the idea of Gerard Butler as Scotty. If anyone even remotely entertains the idea of Mike Myers…grrrr

The first time I saw “Rome” on HBO I saw a guy who I thought immediately was a young Leonard Nimoy – Tobias Menzies. Look at their website or Google him and tell me he wouldn’t be great. Fine actor as well. For that matter stick with the Rome cast and give Kirk to Kevin McKidd (Lucius Vorenus). For me relative unknowns are the way to go — otherwise you run the risk of looking like an episode of “The Love Boat” (tho Sinise would be a great McCoy!)

I don’t like the idea of a recasting.

My dream cast is…. The original cast!

Hire ILM and have them push the state-of-the-art to recreate the original characters as they were. Most of the original cast is available to do the voices (and voice doubles can do those who are departed).

That would be ideal in my book…

Gary Sinise as McCoy would be among the best casting ever in the biz. If only the others were so obvious. Josh Hartnett does look a good bit like a young Nimoy. Matt Damon has never shown the nads needed to portray Kirk. I can’t think of any actor with the goods to recreate what the young Shat did as Kirk.

Damon – Yes. Sinise – Yes. Hanks – YES! All the rest do little for me. I agree with the post that said Reese would never take such a nothing role as Chapel. And Spears? Puh-leeease! May as well double cast the Olsen twins. I love Macy as well but he’s probably too old to be Damon’s contemporary. If you want a wild choice how about this (even though me might be too old). Scotty played by Colm meany?

I like most of your suggestions Anthony (with the exception of Witherspoon and Spears!). However, my first choice to play Spock is an actor named Eric Balfour. He was Milo on 24 and has been on numerous other shows. I’d need to see him try to play Spock to be sure – but he definitely has the look. I have photoshopped an example for your viewing pleasure.

IMO, he totally nails the look of a younger Spock. Come to think of it, he looks a lot like the guy who played young Spock in The Search for Spock.

What do you guys think?

Agreed. Parodies are not needed, but the 3 main role chemistry is “Paramount” for the rebirth to succeed. And the supporting roles should be cast with great care. Rand doesn’t need to be in the script.

Woo Gina Torres! Give Firefly some love!

And good call on Joaquin Phoenix and Gary Sinise I think they would work very well as Spock and McCoy respectively.

I had to chime in…. lots of really good thoughts on the wish list. We all know that to get half of these bigger names would be a fantasy. but we’ll see. And as for the few who mentioned… no recast… How does that work other than CGI actors? We need to haul some bodies back to Genesis?

Greg, good call on Damon. I posted that same sentiment in a prior string. Damon doesn’t have the charisma or the presence to play the Captain. Hartnett, eh. I’ve never seen him as anything more than a pretty boy. Don’t find him particularly talented. Sinise has a warmth to him that I think would translate into a fine McCoy.

I’d also mentioned earlier that this new crew should probably be comprised of semi-unknowns. Good actors, that’s a given, but performers who haven’t hit the big time yet. This, I think, would enable the audience to be better submerged in their performance. Otherwise I seriously see fans pointing at the screen, elbowing their buddies and saying “Look at Matt Damon pretend to be Captain Kirk.”

Oh yeah, and I seem to be in the minority around these parts that wants Shatner and Nimoy to book end the film.

I agree with those sentiments. Many of the “known” actors that have been tossed around don’t fit the characters at all really. The roles of kirk and spock especially should be handled by unknown actors. They do not have to look exactly like Shatner or Nimoy or play the characters 100% pf what we have seen, but I think that the filmmakers should at least strive for 90%-80%. They should look at as many choices as possible, even if that does mean even doing limited open casting calls then so be it. It would be better both creatively and financially for the film if they were to get actors for both roles who can portray the characters in a way that allows for the audience to “believe” they are the characters they have come to know and love. Casting a who’s who of hollywood would only make the film more of a gag and not a film for the fans.

As for the shatner-nimoy bookend, i feel they should do a scene at the beginning of the film that shows Spock visiting the grave of his friend and then having a flashback of when they first met at the academy from there. Then u can go on to show how Kirk and Spock first met at the end of their time at Starfleet academy, (which i really do feel should be with these two not getting along initially and growing into the friendship we have come to know. Those two types of personalities would not mix at first.), Kirk’s friendship with the Gary Mitchell character, his love relationship with Carol Marcus and how that fell apart, through to Kirk and Spock graduating from the academy ending with them starting out on their first assignments on board a starfleet vessel.

Alot of great casting ideas. Gary Sinise as McCoy is dead on. He played trumman and that southern govenor, he is perfect. I’ve been saying Ray Loiotta as Pike for years. A hot chick for Rand is important, but no jokes like britney and forget about Mike Meyer his career died with Austin Power gold member.

Matt Damon could play Kirk but he cant be doing a parady. Got to be careful they cant make it there own they have to keep the eccence. The movie has to serious but with humor. If its the begining, then you have to see the relationships start to build. Plus dont forget Gary Mitchel is Kirks bud if its pre where no man gone before.

I can go on for pages expalining how this movie should start and what should be in it. Like Kirk playing Spock in chess and winning and Spock and McCoy having a classic fight. The idea of Kirk lost love is perfect, I was suggesting the same thing. Like the line, Jim I’m leaving you! This movie has such potential. Hope JJ Abrams doesn’t screw it up.

I agree with Anthony that there must be Star Power for a Blockbuster. Sorry kiddies, but it’s the way of the world…
Ok, I’ll play your silly little game…
But, I honestly think that J.J. Abrams will do it right.

Personally, I don’t believe that Matt Damon could be a convincing Kirk.

Agree that Sinise “feels” right as Bones, my only concern there would be the age difference with a younger Kirk/Spock. More so with Macy. After thinking it over, I think that Jason Lee could be an inspired choice.

Spock…This may throw you for a loop…Christian Bale. Great in the Bat Suit, but if you have seen any of his other films. Especially American Psycho, you should be able to see that he could BE Spock. Not the Great Nimoy, but Spock.

Please, Please no Britney Bimbos, and whoever said Paris should be shot out of a Photon Torpedo Tube into the nearest event horizon.
Evangeline Lily, Sophie Okonedo, Aleksei Chadov, & Shin Koyamada, Great Ideas!

The idea of a Tom Hanks cameo as Capt. Pike is Amazing, and I would buy a ticket on that ALONE!!!
And lastly, How about if we make Tom Cruise the first Red Shirt?

Yes, the film can have some star power in it, but it does not have to be NOR SHOULD IT BE COMPLETELY star-powered with every role filled by a known celebrity. People will go to the film if the characters are done right, no matter who is in the role. But a much greater potential lies both creatively and financially if new actors are involved.

Take the first X-men film. Hugh Jackman was completely unknown prior to the film, but other key parts were filled out by the likes of Ian Mckellan, Patrick Stewart and Halle Berry nor was Hayden Christensen before Episode II. Tobey Maguire was not a go to actor til he did Spiderman and you bought him as the character because he was still up and coming. Technically, you can even say the same for Christian Bale in Batman Begins. Not completely recognized but is a very strong actor, but was supported by an established cast and look how that film came out both financially and quality.

Star Trek XI does not need a complete cast of known faces nor should it have one. I do feel that some of the roles should be cast that way, but i think keeping the roles of Kirk and Spock open for new faces makes it more interesting for the audience. And it will not be impossible to find someone new to do the roles and do it right. The notion of an needing an all-star cast is a fiction created by hollywood.

As for what should be in the film:

*Kirk and Spock in their last year at the academy. They should not meet at the beginning of their training there.

*Kirk and Spock actually not getting along initially. There would be a personality clash between these two at first that as the film progresses begins to show their friendship being established.

*Kirk and Carol Marcus’s relationship and it falling apart due to his own aspirations in Starfleet. Kirk was 50 in star trek 2, and his son was in his mid twenties. that would mean kirk had to be with Carol while still at the academy, but towards the end of it. Also, Spock and Carol know each other in Star Trek II. Go back and watch the scene where they first come face to face.

*Kirk and Gary Mithcell friendship.

*Kirk and the Kobei Oshi (i spelled that wrong) test scenario.

*And they should have the last portion of the film set around something in regards to a final exercise at the academy. Maybe in regards to ship to ship combat simulation with Kirk made acting captain, Gary Mitchell and Spock assigned to his ship as well as a crew of starfleet cadets engaged in a “outmatched” type battle where they are forced to see if they have the capabilities of taking on a superior vessel using what they have at their reserve and their wits. Here you can show the forming of the Kirk and Spock dynamic of relying on one another and working together to out smart their opponent. Then if you have something end up going wrong during the exercise and they are forced to save both crews in a last second escape you would have every fan cheering by the end for the next film.

I know this is all fantasy fun, but I can’t help but think about how the powers-that-be rarely take the fans all that seriously. Of course, we, the fans KNOW if the studio would only listen, would only give us what we want, we would make ST XI one of the biggest blockbusters of all time. But they are usually more interested (apparently) with doing their own thing, as uninspired and uncreative as that can be. Just because someone sits behind the largest desk at Paramount doesn’t make them a creative genius.
I’m not as concerned about WHO is in the film as I am with what kind of story will be told. If they were making a totally new Trek film, with an entirely new crew, and gave me the story-of-the-year (at least), I wouldn’t care who was in it.
I will admit, knowing that JJ Abrams is a huge Trek-fan makes me feel a little better, and the guy obviously has some imaginative bones in his body. Will he give the fans the kind of Trek movie we are yearning for, the kind of movies “The Wrath of Khan” or “The Voyage Home” were? The failures of the TNG films (save, perhaps, “First Contact”) were due to the rather “tv-esque” quality of the scripts. They were not BIG SCREEN FEATURE quality. The film had better take you where no one has gone before or else…
In any case, I’m willing to give them a chance.

First, the actors already suggested with whom I agree:

1. Gary Sinise is dead-on for McCoy. Probably the best pick of them all.

2. Daniel Dae Kim *is* Sulu.

3. Shia LaBeouf is a fine choice for Chekov. This is a prime role for a hot young actor with chops. Adam Brody might also do well. First, however, test Elijah Wood.

OK, now onto my own picks:

1. Ben Browder for Kirk.

2. Keanu Reeves for Spock.

3. Craig Ferguson or Colin Farrell for Scotty.

4. Wanda Sykes or Vivica A. Fox for Uhura.

5. For Chapel: Claire Danes, Brittany Murphy or Kate Hudson.

6. For Rand: Elisha Cuthbert, Jessica Alba or Hilary Duff.

7. And absolutely, positively Majel for the computer voice.

Umm… Hello? As a life long fan of the original series, it just occurred to me that James Caviezel would make an excellent Spock!

Gary Sinise is a great match for McCoy, but let’s face it, he’s too old.

Christian Bale would be an excellent choice for Spock, as he fully inhabits all his characters and can be quietly intense and inhuman when called for.

All the choices for Kirk are wrong.

And other than the big three — and maybe Uhura (Anyone mentioned EXCEPT Thandie Newton), the rest of the cast should be relative unknowns.

Frankly, if the casting was strong enough, they could do the whole thing with unknowns!

I dislike the idea of trying to fit cookie-cutter actors like Damon and Affleck into already-established roles they will undoubtedly overpower.

Gary Sinise is the perfect McCoy, older than Kirk, already established as a practiciing doctor, Ray Liotta is Pike, Thandie Newton as Uhura, Tom Hanks as Robert April the first Captain of the Enterprise NCC-1701, Ben Affleck as Gary Mitchell, Scotty is a hard one, another older gentleman, already established engineer, almost near the same age range as McCoy. I”ll get back to that one later . Matt Damon just might carry the Kirk role, the Bourne films showed he could do the action sequences that Kirk is known for and he can also act.. OK !!!Hugh Jackman as Scotty, he looks like he could love the Enterprise more than Kirk does! A little make-up could make him look older. Spock , Spock, I will write that one up later.

I made a mistake concerning Scotty. I will admit. I was looking at a recent episode of Stargate Atlantis, Paul McGillian who plays the doctor on that series definitely looks like Scotty and being Scottish does not hurt, and apparently has done some work in Canada as well. Coincidence? I think not. Sorry Hugh.

For me Tobias Menzies (Brutus in HBO’s Rome) would be ideal for Spock. He looks the part and is an excellent actor but in particular is brilliant at comedy and drama. While not that important he’s also great fun, very popular with cast members and very approachable with fans which I for one like. Nothing worse than a miserable guy who hates sci fi fans coming onto them.

There are some clips on You tube :

I’d second Tobias Menzies for the role of Spock. He’s an awesome actor and he looks the part. There’s noone better for the part.

i am irish , so i might as well give it a go , Brendan Gleeson as scotty , Cillian Murphy as spock ( he has the look i think , but just too young)

Another vote for Tobias Menzies as Spock.

Great Job Anthony with your Hanks recommendation!