THR talks to William Shatner about Leonard Nimoy, Trek’s 50th, and much more


The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg spoke at length to our intrepid starship captain about Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary, his friendship with Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek Beyond, and much more.

The interview, part of THR’s ‘Awards Chatter’ podcast, touches upon many parts of Shatner’s career, but mostly focuses on his Star Trek experience.  Shatner is very open and thoughtful throughout and it makes for one of the better Trek-related interviews he’s done in recent years.

On the experience of making TOS:

There were three leads in the show and the three of us got along extremely well…it was a well-written part — I got to do a lot of things, a lot of wonderful things, as an actor. That was a terrific three years for an actor.

On whether he’d ever be interested in playing Captain Kirk again:

I would play an old Captain Kirk, absolutely, but you’d have to have an interesting character, not a cameo like, ‘Here I am, aren’t I interesting!’

The podcast is 46 minutes in length and, in my opinion, well worth the time.  It can be found here.

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I would love to see Old Kirk have a role in Star Trek Beyond. I am disappointed he is not going to be in there.

If there is no way to put him in STB, at least have him in a Trek event miniseries for the 50th Anniversary.

Great article and interview. Thanks Brian.


I just want his voice… Just a proper moment that doesn’t distract from the movie.

My real wish is he’d read “All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.”

Frankly, I have zero respect for anyone involved in the production of Star Trek Beyond that could not make an appearance by William Shatner happen. Seriously, with today’s technology, there is no reason. Especially for the 50th anniversary.

No more excuses.


The new TV show would be the opportunity. Am actually pleased to see him acknowledge his age, and the role that would have.

@ CmdrR

Wouldn’t it be really cool if, for the hell of it, his voice just said “Rey” at some random point of the movie. :-)

Have Shatner voice “Space, the final frontier…”
Great for the 50th anniversary, and works well with the final voyage in Undiscovered Country.

Okay, I think most of us here would only accept Shatner as the original Captain Kirk. No clones, older Pine, offspring or uncles. There’s the dilemma….in the original timeline Kirk died.

Go ahead, let’s hear some doozie riffs as to how they could PLAUSIBLY bring him back, in a small but meaningful role.

Shatner doesn’t equal better.

Hey, when you were first, you get to have a say!

Here is a good question: Will Star Trek still be going strong in 2066?

I can’t imagine they didn’t put something “special” in Beyond for the 50th year.

But when Chris Pine in a recent interview said that the movie by itself is an homage enough, I’m scared.

Not having a nod to the original series in the 50th year film would be very disappointing and at the least a huge opportunity miss.

Isn’t spending 100 of millions of dollars on 3 movies and still being relevant as entertainment a homage in itself.

Geez…. For those saying he can’t, remember in the JJverse it is likely he is not dead. He might have never met Soran, never went to the Nexus, never met Picard, and never died.

It is easy to include him.

One thing we keep forgetting: these people are actors. They can play different roles. Remember when Michael Dorn played the ambassador? How many parts did Majel Barrette play (3? 5?). It’s not the William Shatner as Kirk show after all. And how many Enterprises have we had? Shatner could play an alien on the new series on one episode or as a recurring cast member and we would eat that stuff up. I would be thrilled. Rene Auberwhatsitcalled came back for a very good Enterprise episode.
Personally I’m optimistic about the new movie and the new series.'m%20Leonard%20nimoy&sm=3

Funny how Shat pronounces “Nimoy” and says that’s how his best friend Leonard pronounced it, when if fact he did not.

5. lostrod – February 4, 2016

Perfectly said. To NOT have Shatner included in some way in STB, even something as limited as the voice of “Space, The Final….” is a slap in the face to 50 years of fandom, and a disservice to the franchise.

But considering who’s in charge, I’m not at all surprised. Saddened, though.

It would be nice to see CAPT Kirk back in action one more time….

Older, of course, as none of us are getting any younger, but it would be something to see for those of use who grew up with him on TV when it first came out.

Shatners Kirk is dead. dead. dead. Lets keep it that way.

Bob Orci’s script which was thrown away by the suits at the studio for being too “Star Trekie” and not enough like Guardians of the Galaxy included a role for Shatner as Kirk.

While we won’t get William Shatner in his iconic role, we do get to look forward to Pine’s version of Kirk popping wheelies on a motor cycle (see trailer…U know the one with the Beastie Boys music blaring) in a film from the director of The Fast and the Furious (F+F appeals to the lowest common denominator)

What a wasted opprotunity this is. Bottom line is Shatner should be involved in the 50th Anniversary.

P.S. Mark my words, fans are going to wish they used Orci’s script rather than the version of the film we are getting. ST: Beyond will be a weak attempt to be hip + more like Guardians of the Galaxy as the executives at the studio demanded.

If it was just ST fans seeing the movies then the franchise would be worth very little as a financial investment and the movies would not be made. Having Shatner do the space etc intro for the next movie would be good but shoehorning him into the movie like they did with Spock would just look forced. Also it would add complications to the plot that are not necessary it would be a distraction. Star Trek was made for the audience of the time and we cant go backwards just to satisfy a vocal few.

“Not having a nod to the original series in the 50th year film would be very disappointing and at the least a huge opportunity miss.”

The whole darned movie is a nod. It’s a Star Trek movie set in TOS universe. What more can they do? And the last movie had far too many nods – and they really dragged it down.

It’s like complaining that the Force Awakens doesn’t have enough nods to the original.

We’ve had Trek anniversary year movies before – 20th, 25th and, I believe, 30th. They had no special nods. They stood on their own.

And he’s right, there were three leads – despite the convention-induced delusions of Takei and others.

Glad he won’t be in ‘Beyond’. Time to move on. But Paramount should do a 50th anniversary show prominently featuring him.

I would love to see the new series ethere have a episode arc that thwy go back in time and help Old Captain Kirk on a crucial mission. It would guve the character much more then just a cameo and could probably make for some good Star Trek.

#5: That was melodramatic and ridiculous.

#22: You haven’t seen the movie yet, so you are talking out your arse, just like most people on these boards.

#16 – No, of course, James T Kirk is not dead in the alternate universe. He is a young man played by Chris Pine. Shatner’s Kirk was much older when he died in the OTHER universe.

Of course, there are ways of having Shatner in the latest movies. I have demonstrated ways that this could be accomplished, one where Shatner still gets to play an older prime James T Kirk and other where he plays a Kirk relative.

Both notions have been sneered at by many here, and more importantly, it seems, by the studio and even Shatner himself. It could be though that Bob Orci may have used ideas presented here or came up with one of his own (likely) and that got pooped on as well.

I have come to believe that all this demonstrates the maxim that “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks” and there is a lot of it going on around here…:(

If he wants, they should give him a role in the new Star Trek series. Not as old Captain Kirk. I don’t think the series will play in that time period. So a new role, a new character. It would be nice to see him on TV again.

Geez…. The older Kirk can very well be alive and well. In the JJverse, it is likely he never met Soran and died on that bridge. That means, using either a time travel story, or flash forward, Kirk can be and most likely IS alive.

I doubt it would happen, but I think a flash-forward would just be an awesome way to do this.

Not including Shatner is lame & a wasted 50th anniversary tie-in opportunity. It would have massive PR exposure even a tiny little 5-10 min screen time cameo. I doubt Shatner will ever get another chance so he is done as far as Kirk is concerned. Berman blocked his novels as TOS movies proposal in the 1990’s so Paramount just do not want him back for whatever reason.

#8 Great idea. That would work well.
Very shorted sighted to kill him off in “Generations”…..

One good thing about the JJverse is that it can easily correct the short sightedness of Berman killing Kirk off.

Keep Kirk out of any new Trek. I don’t want to see even his bloated big toe. He’s a talentless gasbag at this point.

Killing him off was the best thing Berman ever did.

@Rose – still pushing Uncle Alan. Geeze Let it go. The single worst idea ever proposed for the actor in this franchise in the history of the Internet.

Also, the poster was clearly referring to older Kirk.

@David – I honestly think that people would be less excited about William Shatner playing older PineKirk than OUR Kirk. I mean sure, we’ll take it if the studio is simply going to admit they lack the ability to hire a writer with any sense of creativity. But its not ideal.

And while we might wish for Orci’s script, it wont be just because STB is bad (if it is bad). Orci’s last script was bad too. We’d need to read the unmade one to make a judgement. Orci, through much of his work in Hollywood, hasnt shown a propensity for making thoughtful, dramatic action films so I wouldnt suddenly clamor to have his script made without reading it first.

The excuse is always “they killed Kirk and to explain that backstory would take too much time”. Thsi is hilarious. In Trek 09, the entire backstory was unknown. We had a massive ship come back from the future with Romulans looking for Spock Prime and it was completely unexplained…until the ‘stop and bring the audience up to speed’ moment halfway through the film where Spock “shows” Kirk the entire back story.

It couldnt have been anymore heavy handed had they stopped the reel and had JJ Abrams appear on stage and explain it himself. But no, spending 30 seconds to recap Kirk’s “past” is just too cumbersome.

#10. Harry Ballz – February 4, 2016

Well, keeping his katra going is easy. If Spock’s could follow a mere tendril to possess McCoy then surely Kirk’s katra could have jumped where it once was and jumped from before: Janice Lester.

Now getting him an old body might be a sticky wicket but if all accept how they did it for Spock in TWOK then at least THAT proves it poissible to be dealt with.


# 30. Keachick – February 6, 2016

” #16 – No, of course, James T Kirk is not dead in the alternate universe. ” — Keachick

Minor correction: Both Kirks WERE dead. The only difference is one’s been resurrected and the other has yet to be. Trying to somehow claim that one Kirk’s resurrection is more credible than another is ludicrous.

# 36. Albin – February 8, 2016

“He’s [Shatner’s] a talentless gasbag at this point. ” — Albin

Curious. So you are saying somewhere between his last Emmy Award and now something caused him to lose all his talent? Care to enlighten us as to how this occurred?

I definitely think Shatner should have been in Beyond.
However some issues have come up again. Now Shatner is saying he doesn’t want a cameo. That is what he originally said before the 09 movie. That was one of the reasons JJ and team did not present the hologram scene to him. Shortly after he said depending on the scene he would do it. Now it is back to it should be more than a cameo. Bob had the 2 ideas being the hologram and the Future Pine Kirk. It was supposed to be meaningful and important to the story. I don’t know how that would have equated to in terms of screen time. Who knows if it would have been enough..Bill certainly has earned the right to make whatever demands he wants. Hopefully he would compromise a bit and realize that the movie could not focus totally on him.

Perhaps the new show would be the best venue for him to return. They could devote 1 or 2 episodes on bringing the character back. However we don’t know yet what the premise and timeline is for the show. Hopefully there wont be the same excuses as to why it cant happen as we have been getting for the reboot movies,
Still think given the 50th that having something special including Shatner would have been ideal. Both parties needed to make it work.
I doubt Pegg Jung and Lin put much effort into trying. They may claim to not have read Bob Orci script but they had to have heard about the rumored Shatner and Nimoy scene. Knowing that Bobs script was rejected , I doubt they would consider using some elements like that in the new script.

With all the talk over the years of something happening regarding a Shatner return, I just wish they would just do it already. Their was the Enterprise series appearance then 09, then Bobs script. then nothing in Beyond…

@33 I think the general public just doesn’t care so it won’t be a huge marketing bonus if he was in it. I am more of a DS9, TNG, and all the original movies fan more so than I am of the 60’s series, so take my comment with a grain of salt.

Regarding Shatner saying he doesnt want a cameo, he has said, when the 09 idea was shared with him, that he would have done it. I think what he means is he doesnt want to just pop up in an unorganic way. He wants it to make sense and be meaningful.

Niimoy’s appearance in 09 was fairly small, but very critical. That’s all he’s saying. He doesnt want to be included for the sake of being included.

43 TUP

I hope that at some point there is an idea that works for both sides . The 50th anniversary movie will be going by the boards without this happening. That is now 3 movies and it has not happened.

@43 I can’t agree with you anymore. He doesn’t want to just show up and be like he its me. That why i like the idea I said @27 It would be cool to see thw new series have a 2-3 episode arc that thw new ship and crew get sent back in time and have to help old captain Kirk. Mabe you could have Enterprise J in there with the temporal time “cops” I don’t remember what tbere title is.

@Brian – I agree that a series would be an ideal way to use Shatner as OUR Captain Kirk. But Shatner is, rightfully so, expensive. However, it would be the most effective stunt casting they could do.

If the series details were announced with a multiple-episode arc to kick it off as an time travel epic that saw the resurrection of James Kirk, I’d be all for it. In fact, if they actually combined the universes by creating a need to “fix” the alternate timeline and it somehow required or led to the saving of Kirk, that sounds pretty cool.

It would take some very good writers to pull it off. But it’s doable. Capture both fans of the new films (have cameo’s by Pine/Quinto/Urban) and the original series and TNG.

@ #8. Yes! That’s an epic idea.

I have seen the previous Abrams installments once each and nothing about them would lead me to believe that the new one will be anything but a generic space action movie dressed up in Star Trek-like trappings. Shatner is better off if he has nothing to do with it.

#37 – It is not the worst idea and it is an idea that has been mooted by various people since this series of Star Trek films were first announced. It was a way of having William Shatner play a role in the new films that made sense within this new alternate timeline.

Your continued ignorance of this historical fact is astounding and disappointing.

#39 – “Minor correction: Both Kirks WERE dead. The only difference is one’s been resurrected and the other has yet to be. Trying to somehow claim that one Kirk’s resurrection is more credible than another is ludicrous.”

Did I assert the notion of “credibility”? The FACT, within the alternate Star Trek universe is, that the younger alternate James T Kirk is alive, irrespective of how ludicrous you may think his continued existence might be.

The circumstances surrounding the two Kirks’ deaths are NOT the same, therefore it is logical to assert that one death and possible resurrection may have more credibility than the other. Clearly, one problem that so many people seem to have, when discussing the topic of alternate Kirk’s death and resurrection, is that they do not understand that death also is a process, which can be interrupted…whether by medical means and/or via some miracle. The one they call Christ could perform miracles. People can believe or not, but that should not stop creative writers from positing ideas and possibilities.

Prime Kirk did die on Veridian III and from what we were shown in the film, no ressurection via medical means was possible, even if this Khan’s blood was available, which is also why that blood cannot bring back Pike either. It is all about the timings of the dying/death processes.

However, as a poster here pointed out several months back, prime Kirk is also still in the Nexus. This is how he can be both alive and dead – the Nexus Paradox.

Clearly, most don’t seem to understand/get this. This is another reason why the makers may be loath to let William Shatner play prime Kirk. People don’t get the notion of PARADOX. Sad but true.

I love(d) the whole Nexus concept. In fact, I like Star Trek Generations, especially Data and his emotion chip, those naughty Klingon sisters, Soran et al…


Speaking of THR some interesting articles featuring Paramount from the Feb. 26 print edition:

“Should Viacom Sell Paramount? Analyst Pressure Builds”:

“Hollywood Flashback: When Sumner Redstone Was 42 and Not Yet a Mogul”: