Bob Orci: Shatner Scene Not Included In Star Trek 2009 Because Of “Fan Pandering” + Poll: Was it?

shatIn late 2009 TrekMovie exclusively revealed a scene written for William Shatner for JJ Abrams Star Trek movie. In a recent roundtable interview, co-writer Roberto Orci discussed this scene and why JJ Abrams never approved it for the final script. Details below, plus a repost of the scene. We also have a poll asking if you agree that the scene was “fan pandering.”


Orci talks Shatner “Star Trek” scene

In a Hollywood Reporter round-table discussion with other screenwriters of Summer movies, Roberto Orci spoke briefly about the Star Trek (2009) scene written for William Shatner:

THR: Do you guys ever write scenes into the script that you know aren’t going to be in the movie?

Orci: We wrote a scene for William Shatner at the end of the movie where Spock, played by Leonard, gives his young self, played by Zach Quinto, something he’d kept with him. And it was basically a recording of Kirk singing “Happy Birthday” to him for the last time before he went off to die in Star Trek VI. J.J. had determined early on that he felt it might seem like it was, a) too small, and b) pandering to the fans a bit. But we wrote it anyway because as a fan you’re always trying to protect that thing where you want to be able to look fans in the eye and say, “We were ready.”

Here is the full (and lengthy) round table discussion with Orci, along with  screenwriters Jonathan Aibel (Kung Fu Panda 2), Greg Berlanti (Green Lantern),  Ehren Kruger (Transformers: Dark of the Moon), Christopher Markus (Captain America: The First Avenger), Ashley Edward Miller (Thor &  X-Men: First Class).

Repost of TrekMovie Exclusive (11/23/2009)

Putting Shatner into "Star Trek"

TrekMovie received the scene below from one of our trusted sources and it has been verified to be the scene written for Shatner (but never shown to Shatner). The “Alternate Scene B” actually creates alternative versions two scenes from the end of the movie: the moment between Spock Prime (Nimoy) and Spock (Quinto) in the hangar, plus the award ceremony with Kirk (Pine), Pike (Greenwood) and the Commandant (Tyler Perry).

Including Shatner would have made alternatives to these ending scenes

Shatner would have played Kirk, but would have appeared as a recording. The timing of the recording is not stated, but would have have been before Star Trek Generations and therefore not violate the canon that Kirk was killed in Generations. JJ Abrams has often noted that dealing with Kirk’s death was one of the hindrances of including him in the new Star Trek.

Shatner in "Star Trek Generations" (1994), his last time in the chair

The Scene
Here it is…



Then I ask that you do yourself a
favor… put away logic, and do what
feels right. The world you’ve inherited
lives in the shadow of incalculable
devastation… but there’s no reason you
must face it alone.

And from around his neck, he removes the PENDANT that
until now, we’ve only caught glimpses of. Places it on
the table beside his younger self. The feeling in his
eyes is profound…

This was a gift to me. Representing…
a dream. One we were unable to fulfill.
The way you can now.

And moves to the door. Stops. Offers the VULCAN SALUTE:

As my customary farewell would appear
oddly self serving, I will simply say…
good luck.

Their eyes hold. Spock turns, disappearing into the
corridor. Young Spock stares at the empty doorway a
beat, his mind a jumble of thoughts. Looks to the
pendant… and realizes it’s a HOLO-EMITTER. After
considering a beat, he hits an activation button and a
MOVING HOLOGRAPHIC MESSAGE materializes before him:

brash, wry, confident — and SINGING:

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to
(stops, grins)
I know I know, it’s illogical to
celebrate something you had nothing to do
with, but I haven’t had the chance to
congratulate you on your appointment to
the ambassadorship so I thought I’d seize
the occasion… Bravo, Spock — they tell
me your first mission may take you away
for awhile, so I’ll be the first to wish
you luck… and to say…
(beat, emotional)
I miss you, old friend.

… and we’re PUSHING IN on Young Spock, taking in the
image of Kirk’s future self, the message, but above all —
the clear, unquestionable friendship these two men had…


As Spock Prime walks off down the corridor, he passes
right by a man conferring with a nurse — the man pauses,
turns… it’s SAREK. Suddenly overcome by a feeling that
the stranger who’s just passed him is… oddly familiar.

I suppose I’d always imagined us…
outgrowing Starfleet together. Watching
life swing us into our Emeritus years…


MUSIC BUILDING — glass walls reveal THE ENTERPRISE at
dock, UTILITY CRAFTS floating around it, repairing.
Standing at attention in rows, THE ENTERPRISE CREW —
over four hundred of them wearing DRESS UNIFORMS — TRACK
DOWN the faces, all proud:

I look around at the new cadets now and
can’t help thinking… has it really been
so long? Wasn’t it only yesterday we
stepped onto the Enterprise as boys?
That I had to prove to the crew I
deserved command… and their respect?

And we STOP ON YOUNG KIRK. Composed, focused, proud. A
man. And to every fan’s delight, finally wearing his

This assembly calls Captain James
Tiberius Kirk…

Kirk breaks from formation, pivots, marches down the
hangar — past UHURA… SULU… CHEKOV… SCOTTY. All
Beaming. Notably absent, is Spock. Kirk ascends the
stairs, snaps to attention:

Your inspirational valor and supreme
dedication to your comrades are in
keeping with the highest traditions of
service and reflect utmost credit to
yourself, your crew, and the Federation.
By Starfleet Order 28455, you are hereby
directed to report to Commanding Officer,
USS Enterprise, for duty as his relief.

Kirk turns. Walks to… PIKE. In a wheelchair now,
wearing an ADMIRAL’S UNIFORM. Overnight, his hair’s
turned totally grey — but despite his trauma, his
pride’s overwhelming. They SALUTE each other:

I relieve you, Sir.

… I am relieved.

He opens a BOX in his lap — glorious in repose, a MEDAL:

And as Fleet Admiral, for your… unique
solution to the Kobayashi Maru, it’s my
honor to award you with a commendation
for original thinking.

Pike containing a smirk, pins the medal to Kirk’s

(a touch choked)
Congratulations, Captain.

Thank you, Sir.

Kirk turns to the crowd. Eyes shining. WILD APPLAUSE.
OUR MUSIC SOARS. Bones leans in to Sulu, rolling his

… Same ship, different day.

As Kirk rejoins his crew for hugs and congratulations, we
go to the BACK of the hangar… SPOCK PRIME. Watching.
Moved beyond words. He turns and leaves them to it… as
he goes…

I know what you’d say — ‘It’s their turn
now, Jim…’ And of course you’re
right… but it got me thinking:


Our montage comes full circle as we END on Kirk’s

Who’s to say we can’t go one more round?
By the last tally, only twenty five
percent of the galaxy’s been chartered…
I’d call that negligent. Criminal even —
an invitation. You once said being a
starship captain was my first, best
destiny… if that’s true, then yours is
to be by my side. If there’s any true
logic to the universe… we’ll end up on
that bridge again someday.

Stops, grins. Because this is the part he needs to say

Admit it, Spock. For people like us, the
journey itself… is home.

Young Spock’s face. Lost in feelings that flood through


POLL: Powerful or Pandering?

So JJ Abrams felt that the above scene was too small and pandering to us the fans, what do you think? Do you want pandering?




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This whole Shatner inclusion saga will never really end, will it?

Moving. Simply put.

I just wish they’d filmed it— even if it just ended up as a deleted scene on the DVD.

Well, I would’ve traded the Kirk happy birthday message for all the Delta Vega and tribble and Archer/beagle and Cardassian drink references and lines of dialogue from previous Treks that were haphazardly wedged into the script, but that’s just me. The happy birthday scene at least had something of an emotional punch, even if it would’ve been just “for the fans.”

Hey, the way that scene is written, it would have worked beautifully! I would like to think even Shatner would have been happy with this contribution to the new film. You don’t need a lot of lines of dialogue in order to grab the audience by the throat. Based on that criteria, this scene would not be considered small by any stretch of the imagination.

Well done, Bob!

Loved it! Can’t figure out why J.J Abrams couldn’t find a way to fit it into the movie. I mean, c’mon, he thought the Budweiser brewery would make a great engine room! I loved what J.J Abrams has done with Trek, but this one is something that CAN and SHOULD be rectified in the sequel, even if they have to shorten it a bit.

The only criticism I have of this is that it would have been a bit too lengthy for the movie as it might have overshadowed Chris Pine’s Kirk becoming captain.

But, like I said, it can be reworked for the sequel. If Shatner rejects it on the grounds of not being a big enough part, than its all on him. At least J.J could say he tried. If J.J doesn’t make an attempt, the blame will squarely be on his shoulders. Time to settle this once and for all.

Hey boborci, for gits and shiggles, you think you can get Shatner to record that voiceover now? :) I’d pay all over again to get that alternate ending on a second edition Blu-Ray disc.

… and if George Lucas can keep jiggering his old Star Wars movies with CGI updates and additional scenes, I’m sure JJ and the team could pull this off. You could release this in the theaters or BD/DVD right before Star Trek XII releases in summer 2012.

Would’ve been glorious.

Problem solved: Shatner could play Cyrano Jones in ST2. No cameos, and he would simply ROCK in the part.

This needs to put in the new movie. Beautiful and powerful.I for one love this scene. Find a way bob. Find a way.

I may or may not have teared up while reading that. It would have been amazing to see that on film.

Actually, if it had to pander… at least it pandered well. This is why I liked the writing on the new Trek so much. I was able to enjoy the fan pandering while accepting it was fan pandering and not being annoyed by it.

If Shatner’s gotta be in the new film, may it at least be as good as this.

….sigh. Oh what could have been. Still luv ya JJ, and your Trek was awesome but man oh man did you miss the mark with this.

I vote both. I like it, but have to admit it is also pandering to us. Of course Bob and Alex were also pandering to themselves as fans. But i can see JJ’s point of view. Although as I have said before, he told me it was his hardest decision.

Maybe for the next one

I teared up. This would have been a perfect ending.

Both. It’s touching, especially the stuff at the end, but it’s clearly fan pandering.

But still…this would have tied things in so well, at the end. It does overshadow Pine’s Kirk a bit. But it could have been improved rather than jettisoned, I think.

Ah, well…what might have been!

This scene leaves me curiously unmoved.

The main thing is we have have Trek’s greatest characters ever back on screen. The writers attention needs to be fully on making the characters true to how we know them.

It would appear pandering if it didn’t relate to the story, but the whole premise of the movie was how the timeline had been altered. Between showing NuSpock WHAT was changed in his life AND the importance of Kirk’s friendship (while making every fanboy want to touch himself), I think the scene would have worked.

THAT was powerful! Open ST XII with THAT!

No Star Wars “15” versions crap, just roll one movie into the next.

Not sure as i feel that scene would kinda take focus off the new/old characters but as a fan i would have loved it-it also proves how well bob n alex know trek n the fans–very well written n moving–in a way, jjs not being a fan helped the movie reset itself for everyone so i see the reasoning behind not using it–but i agree with harry n anthony et al it was beautiful–

I voted both. This should have been done.

Why not make a bluray special edition with this alternate ending included & release in the run up to ST12 via seamless branching on bluray ????

Its the logical thing to do!!!

Pandering? How about giving the fans what they wanted.

For Christ sakes every major character in ST has died and been brought back at one point or another… Bottom line is that Star Trek is always better with Shatner and Nimoy involved.

I thought that the secene worked and would have been a HUGE crowd pleaser. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

P.S. What happended to all of Abrams talk about wanting to get Shatner involved?


Uh, because Shatner would DEMAND at least $5 million for what would take 1 day to film?

And so starts another round of figuring out how to grease Shatner up and trying to stuff his round peg into a square hole……

Both, i would have loved that scene but the masses would likely have been taken out of the film, perhaps.

Also trekkies cannot be trusted to behave themselves in cinemas wheneever some in moment occurs and their behavior makes the movie going experience for non fans a freaky one.

Listening to the fans cream themselves laughing whenever data showed emotion during Generations was truly cringe worthy even for many fans.

Who knows how they would have responded during that scene. Either ridiculous laughter or some other vocal gesture to let everyone around them know “i get it”.

The charge that the scene was pandering to the fans begs the question:

What’s wrong with pandering to the fans?

What, we don’t deserve it for supporting Star Trek through thick and thin? For watching 3 awful seasons of Enterprise before (many say) it got good? And then massing a letter-writing campaign to bring the show back after it’d been canceled finally? For talking up the new Star Trek movie to anyone who would listen for two years in anticipation of the film’s release with more excitement and enthusiasm than any paid marketing could ever have done?

I can only assume that what JJ meant by his criticism was that the scene was a pander to the fans WITHOUT adding anything to the film. But I really don’t see how that could be the case. The inclusion of the most well-known actor of the franchise playing the most well-known character of the franchise giving a heartfelt well-wish to the second most well-known character in the franchise, the relationship of both characters being a major theme of the film, can hardly be considered lacking in relevance or import.

Either way, it’s a shame. At worst, that scene wouldn’t have hurt the film or offended anyone, and now Shatner may never get to end his career as part of the new Star Trek, and obviously we won’t get to have him be a part of it.

It’s a real pity. And it’s rather untoward to the fans.

P.S. — I’m guessing that Orci meant to write Shatner’s line as only 25% of the galaxy is “CHARTED,” as in seen and mapped, rather than “chartered,” as in a corporation officially organized as such.

It captures some of the nostalgia of Kirk’s final log entry in Star Trek VI. It would have improved my enjoyment of the movie. Not sure about “the masses.”

Might have been my favorite part….had it happened.

Love it, want it need it, someone make this happen in st12please

Beautifully written, however it would have stole the thunder away from the new cast and crew, also it did not contribute to the movie and story.

No thanks to pandering. What I expect from Star Trek is good fiction, not nostalgia-mongering.

pandering and lame

It’s a powerful scene. It would certainly help Spock to become Kirk’s friend. The one thing I hated about Star Trek 2009 was that it didn’t breathe. There was a fear of dialogue and of course a fear of us, the Trekkers. Fear that only Trekkers would go to the film. Remember the ad, “This isn’t your father’s Star Trek.” Of course, the studio didn’t realize how many Trekkers there were. .

And while I believe that J.J. Abrams is a fine director, he initially didn’t get Star Trek. He liked Star Wars more and viewed Star Trek through the spoof of Galaxy Quest. (Entertainment Weekly, 10-24-08, pg. 28-29) “I always thought it was a little talky,” said Abrams (Entertainment Weekly, 5-8-09, pg. 30) “WE WEREEN’T MAKING A MOVIE FOR FANS OF STAR TREK. We were making a movie for fans of movies.” said Abrams. (Entertainment Weekly, 10-24-08, pg. 31) So you can see Abrams wasn’t really interested in anything provacative that Star Trek wanted to say. Of course, Leonard Nimoy always says Star Trek works on multiple levels. Entertainment. Upltifing stories. And being provactive. (TrekMovie link where Nimoy at a convention describes what Star Trek is.)

While I criticize the approach of the 2009 film, I still like it. I think Abarams is a fine director and will do the next Trek with justice. That’s because he’s already said he wants to go deeper along with writer Damon Lindelof. Of course, there’s our friend Bob Orci who’s a major Trekker keeping them in line. Just remember, Bob. No Jar Jar Binks.

Check Leonard Nimoy’s comments at the 5:30 of the video.

As a Trek geek, I’d have loved it, As a filmmaker, Mr. Abrams was probably right. But it’s a nicely written scene and does the character a better send-off than he got (and this from someone who liked Generations).

Although as a Star Trek fan I had problems with the new movie I am actually glad this scene was not included.

It seems I must be the only one who seems to think it is a little contrived to get Shatner in the movie. Then again with all the contrivances in the script perhaps one more wouldn’t have mattered.

All I hope is that Orci and Kurtzman have done a better one for next time.

It would have been pandering,but,only to the fans who wanted to see William Shatner. I did not.

I hope the new cast will be allowed to shine in the sequel. I, personally, don’t need one more “passage of the torch”.

In all honesty there is no reason why you can’t play out that scene or the Spock young side of it with the hologram at the start of the next one sort of.


Have the pre credits bit like in the TV show whatever that is for this movie.
Play credits with voice over “These are the voyages”

Next scene Enterprise at Starbase

Spock prime gives young spock the pendant as the Enterprise is about to leave the starbase

Play out scene.

Young spock walks on to the bridge

Young Kirk: so are you ready to go?

I voted powerful, judging the scene on its own merits. I think it would have been great Star Trek, I think it would have made the fans happy, it would have been a bit of kissing up to the fans, etc. But it’s also just a great scene, period. You can see it all very clearly, happening right there on that movie screen in your mind…

You know, I would trade those additions for most of the other Easter eggs put into the movie. Having that recording of (Shatner) Kirk would have added a lot of meaning to the movie, especially with Spock and Kirk’s relationship. Things like the random tribble only added something that Trekkies would chuckle at and were mere references to TOS. The recording would have been something real.

Dear Bob,

Film the scene during the sequel.

Go back and insert it into a Director’s Cut of Star Trek (The Future Begins).

Re-release this Christmas to build anticipation for Star Trek To Boldly Go…

Who’s to say we can’t go one more round?”

Yeah! Give them their last round. Bring back Shatner and Nimoy as Prime Kirk and Prime Spock for one last round.

43. (cont) …or whatever Star Trek Something Something Something, is going to be called.

BTW – Give Scott Bakula (or indeed any ENT cast members) a cameo of some sort, in the next film.

Pandering maybe. But Star Trek has always been about nice stuff like that, an audience can go away and find out more about, on their own terms. Often they discover fan pandering like in-jokes are not as peripheral to the plot as they look.

45. (cont) Not have the whole story hinge on it. Just adds another level, for those who care to look for it.

very beautiful Bob!!! a bravo to you! ur the best writer around! i would have loved 2 have seen it in 09! but theres a reason 4 everything. hey Aurore!

Fan pandering? No, pandering is when you have people randomly stripping down to their underwear.


Did you check on the “Abrams Expected To Direct” thread?

Take a look at the comments in 78 and 118, if you can.


It’s a great sequence. And by the end of the movie it’s EARNED. Not pandering.