Shatner: JJ Abrams Called About Possible Star Trek 2016 Role – Would Be Delighted To Do It [UPDATED w/ VIDEO]


ARTICLE UPDATED: Today at Nashville Comic Con, William Shatner revealed that he has spoken to JJ Abrams [who is producing the next Star Trek movie] about how there "might" be "an idea" for him to play a part. We have full transcript of Shatner’s comments and video below.

Shatner: JJ Called me about Star Trek 2016 – There ‘might’ be a part

UPDATED: Article updated with full transcript and video

Today at his panel at Nashville Wizard World Comic Con, William Shatner talked about the recent rumor about a role for him in the 2016 Star Trek movie. It started when he was asked a question which wasn’t actually directly related to the rumor, but only if he had any interest in reprising the role of Kirk. Here is Shatner’s full answer:

The weirdest thing has happened and I think I can tell you because it is so weird. So I’m in Australia a couple of weeks ago…and JJ Abrams calls me. He called me in Los Angeles and I’m not there, so my assistant calls me and says “JJ called and is going to call back.” I said “great” and hung up the phone "I wonder what JJ wants?" Because the last time I talked to JJ was before the first movie came out and I went to meet him at his office and he said "are you interested in being in the Star Trek movie?" "And I would play the captain?" "No, no. Not as Captain Kirk. We have a young, handsome guy to do that." But he handed a script and I read it, and it stunk…It is like telling people “You know that little cute baby you got there. It is the ugliest thing I have ever seen!” So I didn’t say that to JJ. This is the worst script I have ever read and it is the next Star Trek movie and the beginning of the whole thing and it was awful! Turns out it wasn’t the script at all…He was assessing whether people were interested in being in the movie and handing them a dummy script because the final movie was really good, but it wasn’t the script that I read.

So now I get this call and he is going to call me back and a week and a half goes by and he never called me. I wonder if he is going to call me? Maybe it is a trick? Maybe it is TMZ? Could he be that cruel. So he calls and says "I’m calling, Bill, because the director of the Star Trek movie, the next one, has had an idea where you might be involved in it. So I am calling to see if you would be interested." I said "Oh, yeah. If it is meaningful." When Leonard was Spock in that first movie, I said to Leonard "you know when you go back in time you are still old." So it depends on what you do with the character. I said "I would be delighted." And he said "you can’t say anything." And I said "I wont even tell my wife. I wont tell anyone. I wouldn’t do that, JJ."

So I get back from Australia and it is all over the Internet, that the director held an interview and said they wanted Shatner and Nimoy to be in the next movie. I bet JJ is frothing at the mouth. So the news is out that they have an idea that they want Leonard and myself. They might want Leonard and myself . I don’t know what to do with it. How do you get me fifty years later into the movie…I know it’s science fiction, but even I couldn’t come up with an idea.

Here is a clip of that portion of the panel (via Jayson Bumbalough on YouTube)

So where does that leave us?

So Bill seemingly confirms that the team are considering putting him and Leonard Nimoy into the 2016 Star Trek movie. However, he did twice emphasize there only "might" be a part for him in the film and how the team has an "idea." So there still is no confirmation that Orci and Abrams have made a final decision. And of course Shatner and Nimoy have to agree to the roles.

As for why Bill is now spilling the beans (remember four days ago he was denying he had any contact), it appears he thinks that the original rumor reports came from an interview with Roberto Orci, when they were actually all citing an unsourced report. Bob Orci’s only comment about the rumor was that he couldn’t confirm or deny it. So Shatner has seemingly confirmed the rumor under the belief that it was Orci who blabbed first.

As always, TrekMovie will monitor any developments with this story and anything to do with the upcoming movie, so stay tuned.

Full Shatner Panel video

You can watch Bill’s panel below (video via

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Hopefully no one in production will be childish and change and because their sacred secrecy has been breached.


Awesome! What a great tribute to them and to us fans to see the two together once again.

I like it. Hope it turns out well. Let’s face it, no Shat, no Nimoy, no Trek…

If its only half as good as that unused scene that was published, it’ll rock.

Looking forward to it.

If JJ is mad, well, maybe he’ll just go fall on his light saber.

Make it so, Bob!

I am wondering weather this is just Shatner doing what he does best, which is creating buzz, I am looking Forward to Star Trek 2016 and know Parmount isn’t going to miss the Annversery…

Please don’t screw this up, guys.
It would mean a lot to folks with 50 years invested in this silly space-show.

Seez? I told ya’. Ice is breaking. Shatner is onboard. I and I like that!
Just give him something to sink his teeth into, like Kingdom of Spiders!

If its done well and makes good sense for the story Im fine with it. I cant see it being much more than being the future versions of the Pine- Quinto characters, but will have to see the creativity in how they do this in order to appreciate the idea much further. For now its all speculation. I want to know is John Harrison in the flick?

I love it.

I’ll tell you why Shatner got the impression that Orci had done an interview which was responsible for the news about Shatner being in the new movie being all over the internet…

Because he’s 83!

I give him immense credit just for having a Twitter account. Nobody in my family over the age of 70 will go anywhere near social media.

And clearly Shatner would love to be in the new movie with his old friend Leonard Nimoy. The man is excited, and I’m excited to see him excited, and I’m excited to see people excited to see him excited.

On with the show!!

P.S. Better luck next time, Phil. ;-)

This would be the perfect feather in the 50th anniversary cap!

Somebody please, make this happen!

Shatner’s age notwithstanding, he is internet saavy, and I guarantee you it was Orci’s comments here that gave him that impression, be it misunderstanding or not.

I doubt Shatner comes to this website, and may not have read what boborci said, and it’s possible one of his people gave him that impression.

I don’t care.

All I care about is that Kirk Prime is alive post-Generations, and stays that way. No clones, doubles, mirror universe counterparts, older Pines, etc. Kirk Prime–the man that disappeared on the Enterprise B.

Notice, I’m not saying the one that died with Picard.

Subtle but important difference since it allows another version of Kirk to leave the nexus, equal and original to the one from Generations, and he never died, so he can age.

But even without the nexus, I’m really hoping this happens, and Kirk Prime and Spock Prime can be important, and end the movie alive and well, and off to the next adventure.

THAT is Star Trek.


If we just get old Kirk in a meaningful way that doesn’t screw up the movie, we are square. The mistake will be fixed.

And unless Nimoy’s role is small and unburdensome to the man, let the guy rest.

What makes anyone think that the events of Generations will even happen in this timeline? The Enterprise B may enter service at a different date, so Kirk never gets sucked into the Nexus, and never dies with Picard. Heck, Picard may never exist. There are lots of ways an old Kirk could be explained in this timeline.

I have a feeling it will be a cameo of sorts for Bill and Leonard. But at this point I’ll take anything.
If they could have meaty important roles…so much the better !

Watching Charlie X on METV right now. Truly the prime crew, as in ‘in their prime’. And looking better than ever – in HD on a 42″ flat screen that itself would’ve been science fiction to the little boy who first saw a fuzzy lo-def black & white version of these very images in 1966.

And now, confirmation that Mr. William Shatner (Oh Captain my Captain!) and, presumably, Mr. Leonard Nimoy (logically) will appear together again (for the first time) in the nuStar Trek of this 21st century in celebration of fifty years of wonderment! Wow!

Do right.
Make me happy.
Do it well.
Make it good, boborci,

Well I guess that should be – firm confirmation that Shatner and, presumably, Nimoy are wanted for the next Trek.

Still, WOW!

I think JJ put Orci in the Doghouse for the slip-up in the interview.

I do like the idea of Shatner and Nimoy in the movie and am likewise
curious as to their roles in the film.

What the heck! Secret or no secret – Go for it guys!

This is awesome news! (You know, I haven’t posted on this site in months, but in the last few days I’ve put up three comments all on this topic — I guess it just shows the excitement and interest are palpable across the ST Fan Galaxy!)

I like the positive reactions I’m seeing and the enthusiasm — that has to mean a lot to Mr. Orci who is a frequent visitor and hopefully this will validate his instincts and show that he is indeed on the right track with this idea.

To quote a scene that comes a little later than the one pictured above in ST: TWOK —

Kirk: “It’s two hours, Spock, are you ready?”
Spock: “Right on schedule, Admiral.”
Kirk: “Alright. I don’t like to lose.”

Go for it!


What interview? Bob never gave any interview on this subject. Bill only seems to think he did, not exactly sure why. It is possible Bill is talking about interviews from years ago when Bob talked about wanting to put Bill into the 2009 movie, but Shatner seems to be conflating the rumors this week with an on the record interview. He then assumed (based on a false premise) that it was ok to break his promise with JJ to not talk about their phone call.

But even if Bob did comment on the record about this, that still wouldn’t change Bill’s promise to JJ.

If this thing ever does happen, and if they show Bill the whole script, then book a seat at the next convention Bill goes to and take notes.

I get the ‘ Secrecy ‘ thing that Mr. Abrams likes to strive for. But I really think that this will only help to build.the excitement… I really hope that Shatner and Nimoy will have meaningful scenes they can get their acting teeth into. Scenes that are integral to the story. NOT a cameo … Please ! Everyone I’ve told about this thinks this is GREAT … Done right it could be The BIGGEST money making Star Trek ever ! So looking forward to this … Whoot !

20. Anthony Pascale

I don’t think JJ will tell or show Shatner anything again from now on let alone the whole script. ;)

FYI, just talked to a guy who was there, he is uploading video of the event now. We will update the story when that is available. Hopefully by the end of the night.

Nice!! Music to my ears! Would’ve loved the surprise, but I’m not picky! Don’t get too upset with Shat, Bob, for spilling the beans…we still don’t know the details, and we don’t need to know because we have the faith! The point is, whether or not the stars align, your trying! Make it happen, if you can. If you can’t, no harm no foul.

I really want to see Shatner + Nimoy as Kirk + Spock again, but what is Shatner thinking going public with a private conversation? I hope tptb don’t feel he is too much trouble + don’t include him.

That said I’m very excited about the return of William Shatner/James T Kirk to Star Trek. This could be historic…Please Bob Orci get this done despite Shatner + his big mouth.

Well, the Shat’s really going to hit the fan now!

Does anyone have an idea how Devin Feraci at Badass Digest (the site that broke the story) got a look at the script this early on?

I would imagine there are very few people who would have access to the script at this point. It looks like someone close to the production either leaked the story to him or showed him the script. I’m just curious as to how this happended at such an early point on production?

Not to sound like a conspiracy theory lunatic, but could this info have been intentionally leaked? Is this script just floating around + a lot more people have access to it than I would expect? Just wondering.

Thrilled. Please do, please do.

For all we know JJ could have spoken with Shat sometime before this appearance and said Screw it its out so you might as well talk about it

I knew keep a kind of JJ secrecy it would be a bit difficult for Mr. Shatner! :D

Anyone else think it’s entirely possible that Paramount or Bad Robot or just Bob leaked this to Faraci (he who bemoaned the “dumbness” in STID and was on/blogged about the small con panel where it was voted the worst)?

If so, interesting strategy.


Here is what Faraci said:

“I have learned that the script for Star Trek 3 includes a scene that reteams Shatner and Nimoy onscreen as Kirk and Spock for the first time in canon since 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. […] The movie is still a ways out from shooting, but unlike the cameo intended for 2009’s Star Trek this appearance is plot-driven and integral enough that it might just survive any future revisions.”

From the last two lines, it sounds like he did read the scene or at least was given a very detailed description of it.

Thanks to whoever leaked it, the report ignited excitement for ST 2016.

@31. Jack

“Anyone else think it’s entirely possible that Paramount or Bad Robot or just Bob leaked this to Faraci ”

It is very possible that it was an intentional leak from them or perhaps someone on the team was too excited to keep it a secret :-)

Btw, when this site reports on Bob’s comments here as “Trekmovie Exclusives” — well, it’s pretty not completely insane for someone to think that Bob was indeed interviewed, especially after it gets rereported in other places and further diluted by facebook/Twitter etc.

Modern entertainment blogging is one big game of broken telephone.

34. Jack. You got that right!

Let’s hope it isn’t some cheesy solution, like the NuTrek crew being captured by the Talosians and, at one point, the bad guys showing Pine/Quinto the image fantasy of them being held captive until they are old men (Shatner/Nimoy scene).

The new uploaded video is 21 minutes long??!!

How about just showing the excerpt where Shatner talks about being in the next movie? Say 2-3 minutes tops?

The confusion isn’t how someone could confuse reports of Bob’s comments here as an interview, that is reasonable in the way the Internet works. Bill said “the director held an interview and said they wanted Shatner and Nimoy.” That simply never happened.

@37. Harry Ballz

“How about just showing the excerpt where Shatner talks about being in the next movie? Say 2-3 minutes tops?”

Here is the video with just the relevant part:


Thanks for the transcript.

Yes Yes Yes….geek heaven

Please Please Please

Shatner will be playing an older version of John “Khan” Harrison, but keep that to yourself.


Thanks, Ahmed and Anthony!

Anthony, nobody care’s if Shat hasn’t kept JJ’s secret. I think we are all heartily sick of JJ trying to keep secrets.

It probably stemmed from all the tweets bouncing back and forth the other day. Regardless, I hope they work it out, it would only be fitting and even epic if they were were woven into the story like Nimoy was.

But no reason for anyone to get too bent out of shape, it was an honest mixup and just knowing Shatner and Nimoy MIGHT be involved is exciting! Half the fun is trying to figure out how they are going to do it. Fans will have a field day speculating. We knew Nimoy was going to be in the first movie and it only built up the excitement. I expect the same here, just elevated 10-fold due to it being the 50th anniversary!!

And most importantly, to Bob Orci, I say this…whether you can acknowledge these latest developments or not, from one fan to another…thanks for all your effort and hard work! Trek couldn’t be in better hands!

Talk about confusion. William Shatner did not “keep mum” about his conversation with JJ Abrams. Surely, no matter what the internet/media had been saying, implying, rumour mongering, Shatner should have kept his promise to JJ – unless, of course, JJ communicated that Shatner could comment.

Frankly, as usual, nothing has been set in stone. Just more fluff and hype.

Re: this bringing prime Kirk back through the Nexus. Which Nexus? the Nexus from the prime universe which is where Shatner/Kirk found himself – or the alternate universe Nexus, which we have no idea if it even exists?

Is the next Star Trek to be about crossing over multiple universes just so Shatner can play an old prime Kirk again? A good many people had/have problems coping with the idea of two universes…

William Shatner is no longer Captain Kirk. Chris Pine has that role. However, there is no doubt that Shatner is a Kirk but in this alternate universe, he is Denny Alan Kirk, older relative of this younger (Pine) Kirk, who reminds people of Jim Kirk in terms of leadership, humour, intellect, quirky expressions like asking crew to “mind the store” and living off world on a planet which is in trouble…

Chris Pine is Captain James T Kirk of this alternate universe and Zachary Quinto is Spock living in the same universe. This is their time to shine.

I think that William Shatner knows and accepts this, as does Leonard Nimoy. If only some of the fans would accept also…

I have a feeling that this might have been a planned leak. Viral marketing comes in many forms, both 2009 and Into Darkness had different styles of marking. Even if the leak was not planned I doubt JJ and Orci are petty enough to write him out because of the leak. I don’t believe that for a second.

With the negativity around Into Darkness, leaks like this are only going to bolster a positive vibe for Star Trek. In the end it’s not the mystery box that JJ want, but at the same time, (if it comes to fruition) its not going to hurt the new movie.
@10. Cygnus-X1. No doubt. He is not your typical 83 year old. Kudos to him. I to am excited for this and excited that you’re excited and excited that everyone else is excited. I peed a little.
@12. BringBackKirkPrime. Bingo! The Nexus is key. Technically there are still versions of Kirk, Picard and Guinan still alive in the Nexus. Sci fi is faith based science lol. There are always possibilities. Would be a great line for Shatner to use in the new movie. Whether its prime Kirk or older Pine Kirk is of no consequence to me, just make it right, make it good.
@14. Scott. Exactly! I love the time paradox, alternate universe possibilities about Sci Fi.
@15. Steve Gennarelli. I wonder as well. Nimoy role in Into Darkness was much smaller than 2009. But…its always darkest before the dawn.
@16. crazydaystrom. I hear ya. ‘Watching The Changeling’ right now on blu-ray. I remember what TOS and TNG looked like on standard def, cable, tube TV’s. Even the DVD versions are not the best. And here in Canada (don’t know about the US) TNG on Netflix is still standard def. When I watch TOS and TNG blu-rays on my 50″ plasma, it looks like it was filmed yesterday. I had no idea TOS and TNG could look so crisp, clear, and brilliantly beautiful.
@19. Captain, USS Northstar. Agreed. There was so much negativity in the comments surrounding 2009 and Into Darkness. This positivity and excitement is a breath of fresh air.
@36. Harry Ballz. Oh dude, that would suck hairy balls.
What Ricky said. Please Please Please.
If I remember correctly, when discussing the secrecy of the next movie, the same mistakes (with keeping things so secretive) will not be made. I hope this is part of that inclusion and not keeping things overly secretive. The 50th anniversary movie must be magnificent beyond all. The 5 year deep space exploration and bold going are two giant steps for Star Trek kind but the third step that need to be taken is the moral and ethical aspects of Star Trek. Not the way NuTrek shoved them in to fast paced movies where the morality and ethic fly by and out the window. Unfortunate reality is that you cannot do highbrow, slow paced Star Trek movies anymore (or at least not till the audience demands shift) and expect to double or triple the profits on a $130M motion picture. But you can find a balance. Traditional Star Trek (which we all love) is now (because of NuTrek) at one end of the spectrum (technically) and NuTrek is the other end. They key with the 50th anniversary movie is to find a balance. The 50th anniversary movie must be different and make a statement. Within life…wealth, knowledge, relationships, health, are all at their peek, their best, and their most efficient when balanced.

With the VW Star Trek teases (I eagerly await October 3rd to see what its all about), I’m curious what it revolves around. Crazy new tech for a car or viral marketing for the new movie?

With regards to the possible role, Shatner says it best “Oh, yeah. If it is meaningful.”

No joke, if this honestly happens, I’ll probably cry. Great news.

Lets have this trilogy go out in style for the 50th <3

Yes, Nick.

It makes perfect sense.

Themes and characters. Themes and characters.

On behalf of the crackheads, I thank you and David Gerrold.

@45. Buzz Cagney. I too am sick of secrets. Its not the 80’s anymore where we only new as much about a movie as the posters or tv commercial trailers would show. Its 2014, its harder to keep a secret these days. I understand and agree with JJ’s desire for secrecy, but do not understand or agree with the lengths he goes. Into Darkness was proof point, people were like..WTF!

@47. Keachick (Rose). Technically we know that the Nexus transcends time. But we do not know if there is an alternate universe Nexus, they could be one in the same. The Nexus could transcend dimensions and universes as well. We just don’t know. Sci fi makes anything possible :D

“Chris Pine is Captain James T Kirk of this alternate universe and Zachary Quinto is Spock living in the same universe. This is their time to shine.
I think that William Shatner knows and accepts this, as does Leonard Nimoy. If only some of the fans would accept also…” I wholeheartedly agree!

@48. Cygnus-X1. What Meyer said about the new movies hit the nail on the head. They’re different. And without directly saying it, he said the new movies are missing something. What he failed to see, is that the new movies are a coming of age. He knows that Star Trek II is about old age but could not see that the new movies are about youth coming into the joys and burdens of adult responsibilities. Just like any other Star Trek, its about these group of people, coming together, forming their own family, growing together. Just as Voyager in the Delta Quadrant brought that crew together, so are the new experience bring this new crew together.