William Shatner Says CGI Technology Is The Key To His Return To Star Trek

The UK’s Daily Mail caught up with the original Captain Kirk, where he chatted about the prospect of returning to do a Star Trek movie, possibly the one currently in development with producer J.J. Abrams, pitched by Quentin Tarantino. William Shatner made it clear he doesn’t know if the team is considering his involvement, but he suggested technology may be the way to make it happen:

J.J. has never indicated bringing Captain Kirk back and I don’t know how you would do that fifty years later. How do you rationalize my present appearance with what I was like fifty years ago? On the other hand, I have recently connected with a virtual reality company – Ziva – and they virtual realized me [with] 240 cameras all around shooting me. So, they now can produce my body and my face in any way, shape or form, including what I was like 50 years ago.

When asked if he would be interested in returning to the role of Kirk, Shatner made it clear he is ready.

Oh, lord yes. What an interesting role that was, and what it could be 50 years later. Captain Kirk is caught somewhere in the byways of the universe.

Tarantino is a great director and I would love to work with him. [To appear] would be a wonderful thing. The fans have been so supportive.

This isn’t the first time Shatner has held his hand up to let the powers that be know he is interested; just a few weeks ago he noted he would “absolutely” return to the franchise for Tarantino’s Trek.

Check out the full video interview over at The DailyMail.co.uk.

Could tech bring back the original James T. Kirk?

Virtual Kirk?

Using computer technology to de-age actors has been used a number of times in feature films in recent years, even going back to 2006 when Patrick Stewart was made younger in X-Men: The Last Stand. More recently we have also seen characters based on younger actors that were entirely computer generated, such as Princess Leia and Grand Moff Tarkin in 2016’s Rogue One.

Computers were used for Patrick Stewart (X-Men: The Last Stand) and Peter Cushing (Rogue One)

This idea of tech being the solution to bring Shatner’s Kirk back to Star Trek is something the actor has been talking about more and more recently. In August 2017 at Star Trek Las Vegas, Shatner made a comment about virtual reality, and we followed up with him in a November TrekMovie interview, in which Shatner first mentioned he was working with Ziva Dynamics, which is a Vancouver, Canada-based company that specializes in rendering realistic humans and animals for VR, animation for film, and more.

A spokesperson for Ziva confirmed that the company is working with Shatner, telling TrekMovie:

The concept of virtual humans is central to our business. We have had some very positive discussions with Mr. Shatner and a number of other potential partners in this field, but currently do not have anything specific to announce.

The process of scanning and building a character model for VR is shown in this video from Ziva:

There is still no indication that Abrams or Tarantino are considering using Shatner’s Kirk (of any era) for the film currently in development. But based on his recent statements, William Shatner wants it to be clear that he is ready to play at any age they need.

Keep up with all the news regarding the next Star Trek feature film at TrekMovie.com.

newest oldest
James

Fascinating. Would’ve been great to see something cool like that for the 50th anniversary.

Bill Clay

I hate to break it to Shatner, but no one wants to deal with his ego. He was offered a cameo in the first JJ Abrams Star Trek, but he turned it down because Nimoy’s role was larger. Studios are tired of Shatner demanding to be the center of attention.

Disinvited

Bill Clay,

Shatner was offered nothing for Abrams’ 1st film, there was absolutely no offer there for him to turn down. And quite to the contrary of you assertion, he was recorded in the JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE! audience good-naturedly begging JJ to make one. However, it is well documented that Shatner did say yes to the proposed Abrams’ produced third film that was helmed by Orci which went nowhere through no fault of his own.

BringBackKirkPrime

He was NOT ever offered a cameo. Never happened. They never approached him. That is simply, unequivocally, false.

Jack

Nope, he wasn’t offered anything. He reportedly said in an interview that he wouldn’t want to come back for a cameo — but there was no offer. That hologram scene (which likely wouldn’t have worked) wasn’t in the script and was never pitched to him.

As for digital de-aging, it isn’t even close to there yet. It’s distracting. (See: X and Tarkin examples above, plus Michael Douglas in Ant-Man. Plus, look ar how weird Henri Cavill’s digitally-removed moustache looked in Justice League.)

As for the funeral stuff, he was across the country at a red cross charity function the night before and there were no flights that would get him there in time. Also, it’s none of our damned business.

And Shatner is working all the time. He gets asked the Star Trek questions in interviews and has to answer.

Bill Clay

Shatner arrived home to LAX 2 hours after Nimoy’s funeral. Go ahead and try to justify why he couldn’t have come back slightly sooner for the funeral of someone he claimed was a “life-long friend”.

Jack

Because there wasn’t a flight? The funeral was at like 9 am, I seem to recall.

And who knows if Nimoy’s family even wanted him there. Shatner later said that Nimoy had stopped speaking to him.

But again, none of our business.

Disinvited

Bill Clay,

Both Nimoy and Shatner were both raised as Orthodox Jews. Since you have self-appointed yourself as the death protocol etiquette expert here, please inform us of exactly which Orthodox Hebraic visitation protocols that Shatner violated for which you righteously take offense.

founder

The charity function STARTED at 6pm. Even if he ran out the door at 6:01pm and grabbed the nearest flight (7pm), 11:30am would have been his earliest arrival time. But, Shatner still had to ATTEND the charity function. And no matter how rich he is, he couldn’t just grab a walkie-talkie and jump on a private flight back like the president with Air Force One, it’s not that simple.

Dana Farricker

Grow up, kid.

Dana Farricker

I hate to break it to YOU, Bill, but EVERYONE wants to deal with Shatner. Yeah, his ego is huge, but you’re flat-out wrong.

Bill Clay

Nope, Shatner is a petty egotistical person who has alienated the industry. That’s why he has to plant these articles begging for a Star trek role. A well liked person like Nimoy was offered roles without having to go to the media with his hat in his hand.
BTW, people still remember that Shatner didn’t bother to attend Nimoy’s funeral. Petty to the end.

Dana Farricker

In other words, Bill Clay has no idea what is going on in Hollywood.

I work in the film industry. Shatner is HIGHLY respected, right across the board. Few people have anything bad to say about the guy, other than his 1960s cast-mates.

Jonboc

Please lol….Bill Clay……1993 Creation Con is calling, they want their Shatner-bashing back.

Ian

Just to play both sides, the role he was offered was… not great. A hologram singing Happy Birthday? It’s so forced.
As for the studio not wanting to deal with Shatner, that was certainly seemed to be true based on what we know of the attempt to get him to do “Enterprise” in season 4. Set aside that one idea was for Shatner to play Chef, in the end, the talks broke down over money.
I’ve gotta say, for a dead character, Shatner has gotten a lot of mileage and money out of him since 1994. He’s reprised the role for video games and commercials and that awful Oscars skit, and written several novels featuring his resurrected alter ego. Pretty lucrative, and good for him, but to this fan, he’s also remained rather omnipresent as Kirk, certainly compared to what Nimoy was doing since 1991 or Stewart since 2002. Hard to feel as excited for a comeback when the person in question hasn’t seemed like he’s been away.

Disinvited

Ian,

Re: …the role he was offered was… not great.

That hologram role offer is a myth. Abrams never offered it to him.

SanFranDisco

If he wanted to keep being in Trek in a lead role he shouldn’t have agreed to be killed off. Should have been humble enough to play Chef or Mirror Kirk when it was offered during Enterprise.

i agree with Abrams and Orci that including Shatner in those movies would have taken away from the New cast.

Trek is better off without Shatner these days. He was never the best part of the old cast anyway. That was and always will be Nimoy.

Disinvited

SanFranDisco,

Re: If he wanted to keep being in Trek in a lead role he shouldn’t have agreed to be killed off.

Yeah, he should have learned that lesson from Nimoy. In STAR TREK, you NEVER ask for your character to be improbably resurrected once you agree to be killed off. Who did those two leads think they were? DIRECTORS?

Tiger2

Agree SanFranDisco,

This idea of Shatner coming back may have felt more relative back with the other shows still running or even the first KT film but it has sailed at this point. The guy had his time. The franchise has moved on.

kmart

De was the best by far for me, though Shat had something special, along with chemistry with De and Nimoy that you can’t buy (or see) anywhere else. Nimoy might have been the best human being in the cast (though De could be the winner there too), but acting-wise, I don’t see it, and very little of Nimoy’s non-spock work have ever impressed me either.

nasty man

yes. Shats should’ve come back for Orcis Shat Trek 3 instead of Beyond Boredom

Dana Farricker

Star Trek Beyond was the best of the three films, by a factor of 10. Boredom? No. Only if you’re that no-talent Bob Orci.

nasty man

obviously am not the great Orci. However his views on this matter are no doubt similar

Jonboc

Beyond felt like a parody…all the characters hitting their marks with the broad strokes to make sure fans knew who they were….sadly, leaving behind the originality and freshness they had brought to the roles to begin with….similar, but not. Loved the first 2 movies…the 3rd was pure ‘meh’.

SanFranDisco

I usually hate when people assume the post is by the creator of a thing just because he is the only one who likes/dislikes said thing, but…

… is that you Mr Orci?

Phil

It may still be early to be speaking of QT’s involvement as a done deal. Uma Thurmond is talking about Harvey Weinstein this weekend, and QT apparently is part of the conversation. It remains to be seen if his association with Weinstein will foul the waters with Paramount.

Garth Lorca

She mentioned a forced stunt involving a car crash that left her neck damaged for her entire life and also released some footage she had recently pressed for being handed over to her. Truly shocking.

Trek in a Cafe

What is related in that article in the Times (it’s the number one article on the site right now) is nothing less than infuriating. Even outside of the Weinstein relationship, QT almost got her killed– to gratify his own ego! Sets need to be safe. Sets are always dangerous. This was so clearly dangerous. Anyone who has ever worked on sets knows about this. QT purposely put Uma Thurman in danger and then hid behind lawyers. Some friend.

Garth Lorca

And QT seems to have actually spit on her on screen and strangled her live-action-wise with a chain… Ouch…

Phil

Specifically, QT made it a point to step in to be the person in a position of dominance, physically. I’ve no idea if this is common in the industry, but it seems to have disturbed Thurman enough that she felt the need to talk about it. Whether or not that means QT is damaged goods, at least short term, remains to be seen.

nasty man

Put him in the movie instead of Pine

DiscoTrek

Lol you’re brilliant. You should work for Paramount. Wow

Marcelo Teson

Aw but Pine is a GREAT Kirk.

Phil

Oh, no more interested in seeing CGI Shat, then charging my mind that CGI Cushing was a distraction in Rogue One.

Ian

IMO:
CGI Cushing… not too bad.
CGI Carrie Fisher – abominable, dead-eyed and unnecessary.
CGI Sean Young in Blade Runner – meticulous, but helped by the fact that her character is an android.
De-aged Patrick Stewart in X-Men – creepy, waxy, nothing like what we knew he looked like in his younger days.
De-aged Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy – embarrassing and a distraction.
De-aged Michael Douglas in Ant-Man? Stunning and like a cut scene from Wall Street.

So it runs the gamut, with improving tech and time and money being the main factors. It’s always hard not to think about the tech though when it’s employed. Takes me out of the story.

Veriggo

I think the best use of the de-aging process is Kurt Russell in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. I hear it was a combination of CGI and make up but damn it was mighty impressive.

CmdrR

Carrie Fisher’s pixelganger was terrifying. I totally agree. I think they did OK with Keyboard Kurt Russell in GotG Vol. 2. In general, though, this all feeds into our unhealthy love of youth. The original cast and crew created something wonderful. There is no shame in stepping aside and letting others assume the roles. I loves me some Shat, but all I want is his voice… or some clever way of having him in a single shot, as a wink. NOT as Captain Kirk. It would harm some wonderful memories.

Curious Cadet

@CmdrR — there is an unhealthy obsession without youth in our culture, and Hollywood landers to that thanks to the focus on 18-49 ad-based demographics. That said, there’s a reason that demographic exists — because that’s whose out there engaging and spending money. Moreover, there’s a reason why Captains and Admirals are all older characters — people over 50 don’t do well in the trenches. The problem Hollywood has is casting youth inappropriately in roles they should have. Kirk being promoted from cadet to captain in ST09 for instance. Shatner can play Kirk in an age appropriate way. And they can CGI him to play a younger version of himself in flashback in connection with his larger age-appropriate role. I’d accept that. But the obsession with shoe-horning an older actor into younger skin is just as bad. As Harrison Ford ages, he takes on age appropriate roles, or at least ones he can play effectively. And when he revisits characters he played in his youth, he plays them as they would be in relation to his own age. Putting an actor into a CGI animation does a disservice to the actor, the character and the film, all in the name of telling a story that’s inappropriate for the actors current age. In the end what are we watching? The actor, or a cartoon? One day we may be able to create reasonable “novelty” films with classic actors, but I doubt any of these will ever achieve even the same level… Read more »

Denny C

And unlike Cushing the motion capture would be based on Shatner’s actual movements and mannerisms. You’d be seeing an age regressed version of the actual actor. As Frankenstein says in “Young Frankenstein”: “IT — COULD — WORK!!!!!!!”

TUP

I thought cgi Cushing was awesome. The thing is they don’t need to cgi shatner into his 35 year old self.

It’s really just a matter of looking 20 years younger. Not 50.

Phil

@TUP. Opinions on Cushing will vary. I know there’s not a lot of love out there for Terminator: Salvation; personally, I liked it, but CGI Arnold showing up was a jarring distraction. Again, opinions will vary.

Slightly off point – Shatner admitting it’ll take CGI to play a part is a de facto admission on his part that physically, he’s past his prime for that role. Editing can work wonders as well, as he’s been candid about really old men and the bathroom breaks on his current reality show.

Tiger2

Yeah he’s way past his prime at this point lol. The de-aging thing is fine but its something you do in 1 or 2 scenes, you don’t make an entire film like that, at least not yet and as Shatner has made clear he would want more than a cameo while no one is begging him to be in any Trek products. That should be a BIG hint.

Fabio

I hope everything falls into nothingness and the Kelvin timeline disappears forever. May the original Star Trek return to the cinema, too.

DiscoTrek

Umm no. Where do you people come from? Trek is relevant again because of the KU movies

kmart

Actually it is just another thing because of the KU flicks, which trivialized and marginalized what made the original magical.

Holden

Respectfully, I still reject this idea that the KU movies “saved” Trek. The franchise was definitely suffering from fatigue circa 2003, but the idea that it was just going to die after being an iconic pop culture phenomenon for about 40 years was foolish. JJ knew it was a rich franchise, that’s why he exploited it as long as he did. But the KU movies raised as many franchise questions as answers. There was some legit buzz that grew out of 2009 Trek, but in retrospect that died as quickly as it was generated. Trek is bigger than a couple of movies (its telling that there’s little buzz now around NU Trek–only the Tarantino idea that may or may not have anything to do with the KU). Disco superficially mimics some stylistic elements of KU Trek, but its stories and characters are pure classic Trek. The new show knows it only exists because there was a core group of followers who’ve been around a lot longer than before JJ & Co. came and went.

Tiger2

I have to agree Holden. I like the KT films but I never believed they ‘saved’ anything. It was simply the next Star Trek production that they went all out for to turn into big blockbuster status. It was also just four years between that and Enterprise, it wasn’t some big gap in the franchise. And yes it was meant to get new Star Trek fans but I don’t know how many has stuck with the franchise since Beyond managed to make less than the first film. And frankly while I think Discovery has gotten new fans my guess is the great majority are the same people who been watching Trek long before those films showed up, at least reading from people who talk about it online. But then those people are clearly more devoted to the franchise. But I will say probably the success of those films is what convinced them to make a new show but a new show was always going to happen regardless just like another Trek film.

SanFranDisco

Sorry but there simply no way to deny that the Abrams Star Trek movies are responsible for the resurgence of the franchise.

Look at the ratings and response to enterprise by 2005. The ticket sales and audience response to nemesis. Star Trek was dead. They were both the two worst received, both critically and financially, in the history of the franchise. Nobody wanted to touch it.

The Abrams movies brought audiences back. We can argue over the quality of these movies, but the fact is they made tons of money. Even with inflation the three Abrams movies are among the best performing trek films. Without this success, I doubt CBS would have committed such massive budgets and marketing to discovery. It gave them the confidence that audiences would embrace a new Star Trek.

We can also argue whether another reinvention of Trek by someone else might have done the same thing and had the same affect; we can argue over whether the new Trek is as good, but the Abrams films revitalized Star Trek and made it relevant to audiences again, and it’s very hard to deny.

Tiger2

Yes but they are also the most expensive Trek films EVER. This is what gets lost. They were also the first that had wide distribution outside of America. The marketing budgets alone cost twice as much as the TNG films did. Yes they made more money and they brought back the excitement to the franchise but I don’t think that momentum stayed very long considering the amount of money and hype that was thrown in the first film. Beyond kind of proved that and we are just talking three films. Nemesis was just a BAD movie and why it bombed. Beyond is considered a good film and also bombed in its 50th anniversary. If you can’t get Trekkies to see a movie that had an 85% score on RT in the middle of the summer then something is wrong. I just don’t know how much you can say it ‘resurged’ the franchise because I don’t think many fans of the first KT film cared by the time the third one rolled around. Compare that to the TNG era that lasted for 18 years. No one is talking about the Abrams films today outside of the same Trek fans whose been talking about Trek for decades. And while I DO believe Discovery got the green light because the first two movies were successful, the show was always going to get interest because there hasn’t been a show on in over a decade. The KT films never happened it would’ve gotten the… Read more »

SanFranDisco

Sorry tiger but you’re wrong.

We can argue all day long about how good they were or whether they were popular, but it is indisputable that they regained the publics interest in Star Trek after the masses and even hardcore fans had walked away from the franchise.

Without those movies its possible CBS would not have even done Discovery, but even if they had, it’s the movies success that gave them the confidence to invest in a big budget, high quality production.

Anyone who says otherwise is simply not accepting the reality of the situation and not comprehending how bad the situation was with the franchise post Enterprise.

Tiger2

Sorry SanFranDisco but you’re wrong! I’m not saying the movies weren’t popular, I’m SAYING A. That popularity did not last very long and B. No film alone, live or die, was going to be the end all of Star Trek’s popularity. That’s the constant misnomer that bothers me. I get your point but MY point is Star Trek was never going to live or die by these films alone. Never. They succeeded, Star Trek would live on. They bombed, Star Trek would still live on. This is what I mean, this idea these set of movies suddenly energized the fanbase which is not true. They ARE (or were) popular in their own right but the fanbase was always there and still is. They simply didn’t love Enterprise and hindsight I understand why. And yes fatigue played a part of it as well. But I get sick of hearing this idea Star Trek was ‘dead’. No it wasn’t dead. You know HOW I know it wasn’t dead? Because Paramount wouldn’t have agreed to making $150 million film on a ‘dead’ franchise less than one year after Enterprise got cancelled. Thats not what you do with a franchise that was dead. How ‘dire’ was it if you are going to spend that kind of money on a franchise you just told yourself fans have bailed on? Instead you would spend NO money on it and let it sit for awhile, like 5-10 years, not decide weeks after Enterprise was cancelled (yes, it… Read more »

FrostUK

Now Star Trek is back on television I can quite honestly say I don’t give a damn about the KU films. They filled a gap but the rewatch value is low and Star Trek is better suited to television.

Disco does indeed mimic some of the style and design choices of the KU, possibly due to the fact that the Kelvin was a prime universe ship so they’ve tried to accomodate that. Look at Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 1 though and how much that mimicked TOS, everything from costume, to music cues to script structure. It only became its own thing by Season 3 and was much better for it.

I predict Discovery will lose the KU tropes more and more as the show progresses. I think there’s already been a reduction in lens flare and dutch angles. For better or worse it should be different. I personally like it and am excited to see where it goes.

Phil

Animated, if people will pay. The original might be difficult considering that Kelley, Doohan, and Nimoy are dead. Surviving cast are very, very old.

Disinvited

Phil,

All I know is since his 1st Trek movie, Abrams has been quite adept at inserting new CGI faced dialogue into previously shot footage actors mouths, without apparently anyone in the audiences being any the wiser, and those Byrne photonovels surprisingly apparently have found a market.

Legate Damar

If the technology is good enough, I would love to see Shatner return as young Kirk. That would probably make more sense in Discovery than it would in Trek XIV, but Discovery probably doesn’t have the budget for that.

D D

But would Shatner be the actor though? The character (Kirk) might return but with today’s technology they might employ a younger actor of a similar build to the young Shatner, then digitally add Shatners young face to it and bring him back that way. As this technology is improving all the time, it might one day be possible to do a live action film with the original TOS crew!

Legate Damar

They would probably have a younger actor on set, but they would motion capture Shatner’s face and have him do the voice.

Steve Gennarelli

It would be a great final major role for Bill…although I hope we see a lot more. I love his acting. We love William Shatner. Stop this age discrimination, Hollywood and let William Shatner be a star again.

I say bring Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley and heck even Jimmy Doohan too if possible. Unless their families were against it, it would be great to see them in a Tarentino “Trek” movie if done believably.

Phil

Dead actors, believably? QT, assuming he gets the job, would not be directing them. Some animation studio in South Korea would. They are being created more so then directed.

Legate Damar

He would be directing the animation, and making the creative decisions.

Meeeee

CGI faces are cartoonish and distracting. Stop it.

DataMat

They might as well do something, seen as Shatner wants to do something. Look at Sean Connery, he despises his greatest role! Shatner deserves to be given his true swansong like Nimoy got in 2009. I also really would hope for another appearance by Patrick Stewart as Picard, again for a real sendoff. Mortality is a fact of life and two of Trek’s biggest stars are are not going to be around forever.

kmart

Greatest role isn’t the same as best-known role. I think Connery loves having done MAN WHO WOULD BE KING, WIND & THE LION and ROBIN & MARIAN, his ‘hat trick’ of greatness in the mid 70s, and UNTOUCHABLES and NAME OF THE ROSE and THE HILL and quite a few others. And I don’t think Connery despises Bond, just the politics and finance of the thing, plus the way the thing went downhill after the first few. FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE is still pretty close to being a perfect unit of entertainment IMO, always has been.

Curious Cadet

@DataMat — Nimoy was not a CGI character. Big difference. It was also a relatively minor role, not one Shatner is likely to be happy with. There’s clearly an audience interested in seeing Shatner and Picard in their roles again, but it’s not likely ever going to be big enough to justify trying to fit them in a story for a broad international audience, much less a Summer tentpole. If CBS were smart, they’d use their boutique movie studio to make some interesting Trek character-study movies that don’t require such huge budgets, and make some movies written specifically for these actors. Budget them like a straight to video movie, so if they don’t pull the intended Trekkie audiences at the box office, they will ultimately make back their money, like all Trek movies, even NEM.

Disinvited

Curious Cadet,

Re: Nimoy was not a CGI character.

Au contraire, Nimoy indeed was CGI in the 2009 film in the scene in the cave around the fire. And it is a testament to the technology that Abrams’ Bad Robot developed so that he wouldn’t have to recreate that set for the refilming that he required for the new lines said by Nimoy that you and all the other CGI character naysayers keep missing that Abrams pulled it off on you there and with other actors in the following film.

Disinvited

Curious Cadet,

In researching the redubs for STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS:

http://www.indiewire.com/2013/05/j-j-abrams-redubbed-retouched-preview-scenes-to-keep-the-star-trek-into-darkness-villain-secret-97786/

”So in the footage that was screened in December, not only was the computer readout changed (by J.J. Abrams) to read “John Harrison” instead of “Khan,” but lines of dialogue spoken by Spock (Zachary Quinto) and others was altered so instead of “Khan” they said “John Harrison.” ” — “J.J. Abrams Redubbed & Retouched Preview Scenes To Keep The ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ Villain Secret” By Drew Taylor | IndieWire | May 20, 2013 7:39 pm

I haven’t found hard evidence to prove it, but I think the source of my confusion was JJ went in-house for the CGI faces for these super-secret redubs in STID as he faced the same dilema from 2009, i.e. he couldn’t afford to resetup the sets, lighting etc. to reshoot these line changes so he resorted to the CGI faces save that he had employed in his previous Trek. I could find no citation of Lola being involved in these so I suspect this is the film where I recalled Bad Robot figuring how to do it.

Disinvited

Curious Cadet,

Apparently it was done using Lola and I was mistaken in my recollection that it was developed in-house at Bad Robot?:

http://www.awn.com/vfxworld/where-no-star-trek-has-gone

“We shot Leonard with high-def cameras and loosely matched the lighting to what was shot on set. The next step was to build teeth, tongue and lips, the lips were the only element that was 3D. We created a rig that linked up Leonard’s digital teeth, tongue and lips and used rotomation to match the high-def footage from the ADR session. The shot could have been completed in 2D except the scene was lit by a fire pit and we needed the interactive lighting produced in Maya.” – Edson Williams, Lola Supervisor

http://filmmakermagazine.com/76238-we-treat-the-de-aging-process-like-plastic-surgery-edson-williams-on-1s-visual-effects/

But the point still stands that Abrams has been throwing CGI performances at us all along, and much to our surprise, getting away with it with a conventional CGI people rendering outfit.

Corinthian7

I’d love to see Stewart back as Picard but I agree that it’s not viable for a movie. Sure, you could shoehorn in a Picard cameo but that would seem forced. On the other hand I do think there would be enough interest in having a TNG revival on CBS All Access as a limited/mini series.

Curious Cadet

Oh lord no. The technology is not there for this yet. It’s great that Shatner’s had himself scanned. Perhaps one day this will be something viable they can do. But not now. I thought the Peter Cushing work in ROGUE ONE was great, but it wasn’t perfect, and it was a minor character, not one of the best known stars in the franchise. Imagine if they did that with Harrison Ford?

I have no problems with Shatner playing Kirk again, but make it an age appropriate movie like MR HOLMES which doesn’t have the fate of the franchise and box office riding on it. An interesting character study of octogenarian Kirk would be very cool. But trying to put himself back into a central role where he’s fist-fighting the villain again is nothing I want to see — and make no mistake, that’s exactly what Shatner’s talking about, not some Cushing-type cameo a la ROGUE ONE.

Garth Lorca

I’m open for a CGI recreation of Kirk’s younger self for short cameo, but not for an entire movie. Tarkin and Leia were okay for Rogue One. CGI has evolved, so yeah, bring it on for a brief moment.

But I still don’t see how Paramount can financially survive 2018. Apart from MI6 and ten days of Bumblebee (against some serious holiday competition), there is NOTHING that even has the slightest potential to become a major hit.
If the shove Cloverfield 3 over to Netflix, they might get some serious money for it, but cinematically, they are dead in the water. If Cloverlord (Overlord being Cloverfield 4) is accurate, it will likely end up on Netflix too. And I doubt Sherlock Gnomes, A Quiet Place and Action Point will save the year for Paramount.

If you ask me, Paramount won’t be around next year to go through with this, with or without QT.

Maybe Paramount should merge with Netflix to provide more original programming. JJ might even find more directos first-named Julius for more surprise Cloverfield titles :-)

DeanH

I would tend to think that Pine would be preferable to a CGI Shatner. IMO, in this particular case, the character of James T. Kirk is far more important than the actor William Shatner, so if Pine is available or perhaps even another actor, then that would be fine with me. The Shat man’s “over-acting” ability was great for “campy” 1960s television scenes in TOS but I dare say that every actor that followed Shatner far outshone ALMOST anything that we saw in the Captain’s Chair of the original Star Trek or the movies. Yes, James T. Kirk is an icon of great cultural importance, but can you imagine Shatner up against the like’s of Discovery’s Jason Issacs, DS-9s Avery Brook’s or TNG’s Stewart? It would not be a fair “acting” fight -at least IMO.

kmart

I’d put the pre-TREK Shat’s performance as the racist rabblerouser in THE INTRUDER up against anything done by these other guys. That role includes all of the ‘tics’ folks make fun of, but there it was all in context and appropriate. And to be honest, Shatner’s performance in BOSTON LEGAL included some real acting, and showed he had the stuff to stand against some other heavy contemporary performers. For the most part I don’t like his movie-era take on Kirk, how he ‘milded’ the guy most of the time and ‘TJHookered’ the other parts rather than present a consistent characterization, but I guess the same could be said about TOS, where he started with a usually (not always) cool and low key guy (see CHARLIE X and BALANCE OF TERROR) and then lifted it into something more dramatic. Gee, could say the same thing about Avery Brooks, for anybody looking from s1 to s6 or so. Don’t remember too many brickbats being thrown at HIM for that change in performance.

Jonboc

Agreed…seems to be the forceful scenes that lift Shat over the top. The same with Brooks…he delivers a nice low key performance…but get him loud and forceful and the ham comes out. Stewart is another that can’t seem to play loud and emotional. I winced at “There! Are! 4! Lights!!” Just goes to show, there’s bad acting and there are bad actors…you can be a good actor and still go way off the mark.

kmart

For me, the Stewart scene that totally does not work is the crying in SAREK. I know people love that, but for me I had to keep from peeing myself, it was just utterly unconvincing. I tried to rewatch SAREK once about 15 years ago, and it was the same thing all over again.

Then again, I usually think the best way to show emotion is from behind an actor’s head, so it is more about body language and lighting and less about making faces.

Best legit response to tragedy I’ve ever seen in film was in CHICAGO HOPE when Mandy Patinkin loses his friend during an operation, it was done as a wide shot, not a closeup, but it was sincere and organic and about as far from ‘klingon bastards you’ve killed my son’ as I can imagine.

It’s weird, but my fave Shat stuff (outside of ‘risk is our business’) is the ‘go to your quarters or I’ll pick you up and carry you there’ from CHARLIE X. Special spot for ‘here it comes’ in TWOK, but that was apparently not an acting choice, but a matter of exhaustion, so it probably shouldn’t count.

Tiger2

Chicago Hope was a TV show, not a film. Just clarifying.

Shatner had some great moments as Kirk but also some of the most cringiest stuff you would ever see on TV lol. A lot of us just grew up with the show or was around when the original aired so we are conditioned to it. But I have a niece who loves the Kirk from the KT films and she’s 15. She can’t even watch TOS or take it seriously. Not just the effects so much as Shatner’s acting. It just comes off too campy for her. That and the fight scenes. She’s never seen any of the TOS films though so she might have a different opinion.

Steve Gennarelli

Tiger2 – If you get the opportunity, sit down and watch the entire first season of “Star Trek” and you’ll see in the course of over 25 episodes, many flavors and versions of Captain Kirk. That’s how good an actor Shatner was. He could do so many things and play him so differently.

Tiger2

LOL I watched TOS for over 30 years. I seen every episode dozens of times now. I was talking about my niece and her feelings towards it because its still a 50 year old show though so its going to feel pretty dated for anyone watching it for the first time even if they like the stories.

Kev-1

With all due respect to Pine, Shatner’s Kirk is the icon. The new Kirk isn’t even the same character. One is an experienced adult, seasoned officer, the other a newbie. There’s no footage of new Kirk facing down the Doomsday Machine, beating Nomad, challenging Apollo or wrestling a Gorn, nor is there likely to be. That’s not a criticism of Pine. Pine’s Kirk is not, for better or worse, a character of the centrality and importance of TOS Kirk or TOS movie Kirk. Apples and oranges.

Tiger2

Yeah and Shatner had his time. Its time to move on. No one is asking for Michael Keaton to return to Batman after Ben Affleck leaves or expects Sean Connery to play Bond again, I don’t get this obsession with having Shatner play a character he hasn’t played in over 20 years. I could understand, maybe, if there was no new Trek around and they played with the idea of a revival of some kind that is happening in a lot of TV and some films and wanted to find a way to get old fans watching again.

But the point is, which oddly so many people on this board seems to refuse to believe, Trek has not only moved on long ago there are new Trek stories on right now. One literally today. We don’t need Shatner’s Kirk anymore, thats just the reality. And CGI can’t just wipe away 50 years of an actor. I don’t even get why he’s asking for that much? It would feel ridiculous a guy nearly 90 is suddenly playing a character like he’s in his 30s. That would be distracting beyond belief.

Kev-1

Ok but they’ve moved on to the Mirror Universe from a ’67 episode. I’m fine with the situation as is. If they want him, that’s another story.

Tiger2

I made this clear too, if they want Shatner, fine, as long as they can tell a relevant story with him. I just don’t get this strange obsession with some fans as if Shatner is the end all and be all of Trek at this point? Sure, maybe circa 1986 lol but not today. But yes if they can find a way to have him and not just feel like fan service its fine.

Fansincesixtynine

Respectfully disagree. Shatner is not the Adam West of the Star Trek universe. His Kirk is one of the great characters of science fiction.

DeanH

I understand, Shatner did have a few shining moments including his acting in COTEOF but for every moment with Joan Collins, he had a few more like what we saw in Wrath of Khan. I always laugh at his KHHHHAAAAANNNN!!!!! I also laughed at a video today of Nimoy doing an impersonation of Shatner’s “… his was the most human!” eulogy line at the end of the movie. Too funny!!! Anyways, to be fair not every TOS script was a gem so he was doing the best he could!!

Chris

I am with that guy. He is most certainly the Adam West of the Star Trek universe. I like watching Vic Mignongna and Brian Gross and James Cawley as much as the real shat.

Holden

I reject the comparison of Shatner to Adam West, only because it makes a false comparison between 60s TOS and 60s Batman. 60s Batman was a parody of itself; TOS was, for all its flaws, the earnest and well-intentioned model for a revolutionary franchise. The actors were working in different contexts.

Tiger2

Agree as well Holden. Adam West was playing a parody of Batman. Some people just seem to think that’s what Shatner was doing with Kirk I guess but its not the same thing.

And there are plenty of people today who only know Pine as Kirk. I don’t think people know what they are saying here, but if you are suggesting one character can only be played by literally one actor then that character has a very short life span.

Clifford

I am sorry but I am not going to allow this to happen

FrostUK

Thanks for the update, Mr. Moonves.

Fansincesixtynine

Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes.

JoeD

Kevin Pollak has the young Kirk voice nailed down. Give the ADR to him.

Fritz

I thought the Cushing resurrection looked fine–until he spoke. It wasn’t his voice. Of course, it couldn’t be (RIP). The de-aged Michael Douglas and Kurt Russell in the Marvel movies on the other hand were nearly flawless as far as I could see. Getting the actual actors to do the acting and the voice is a big help.

Then again the de-aged Carrie Fisher looked… off, and she was only on screen for a few seconds. The technique is hit or miss, but I’d still be interested to see what they could do with Shatner.

Phil

Well, what do you do about the voice? 90 year old Shatner doesn’t sound like 50 year old Shatner, either.

Fritz

I believe there are techniques to make voices sound younger. There are also sound-alike actors, if need be.

Phil

So, as long as the creation is a semi-passible marionette, you’re okay with it? That’s your right, I suppose, but can you understand why, with so many uses of this type of animation that have had less then spectacular results, why there’s a lot of push back on this as well?

Aceman67

No. Please no. Just no.

Kevin E.

As much as I love Tarantino and would love to see what he could bring to the Trekverse, if JarJar Abrams has any involvement in the movie, I won’t go anywhere near it.

Lostrod

In

Lostrod

Interesting. I thought I saw a story a few years back that George Lucas was acquiring license with the estates of deceased actors withe the premise to create future films with past actors. Imagine a movie with John Wayne and Clint Eastwood :)

Also please stop age an issue. It reaks of ageism …

Regards.

Tiger2

That would probably feel too creepy now. They got away with it Cushing in RO, but mostly because it was a side character and not the star of the films.

And its not about ageism, its about reality. How many near 90 year old Captains do you see pop up in Star Trek? Whats funny is they show humans living a lot more older in Trek like 100+ years and yet you still rarely see anyone that age as Captain or Admirals. Majority are the same age you would find people today, mostly to their 50s and 60s.

There is a age limit you simply see many job positions. There are jobs that forces people to retire after a certain age because of the physical and mental requirements are too much after a while.

Again NOT ageism, just basic reality. People do get older and there are certain things they can’t do anymore or as well. And in Hollywood itself age is an issue, a BIG one. I can’t think of many actors today Shatner’s age still doing major roles. And the few that do are relegated to playing grand dads sitting in kitchens, not suave Starfleet officers saving the galaxy unfortunately.

The River Temarc

“There is a age limit you simply see many job positions. There are jobs that forces people to retire after a certain age because of the physical and mental requirements are too much after a while. Again NOT ageism, just basic reality.”

Um, yes, it IS ageism, because you’re defining “basic reality” tautologically. No, a 90 year old Kirk isn’t going to be fistfighting the Gorn. That doesn’t mean he can’t be a genius admiral. Maybe you’re among the crowd that thing Churchill should have stood down in WWII in favor a “younger man”?

Or for that matter, maybe you’re among the crowd that thinks blacks should “know their place” and cede the intellectually challenging jobs to “civilized people”?

Quit the prejudice.

Tiger2

Dude, that isn’t ageism, people DO grow old, thats just the reality. They can’t do things as well as they use to do once you get passed a certain age. Sure some can, but most can’t. That isn’t being prejudice against them, its accepting you HAVE limits as you age. And Churchill wasn’t out fighting Klingons hand to hand, this is my point right here. I’m not saying you can’t do anything once you get older but you actually just made my point for me. Are you suggesting you just want Kirk behind a desk as a ‘genius admiral’? So you’re admitting his age does create limits then right? He’s Captain freaking Kirk, I don’t want him behind a desk because he’s now too old to run a Starship. I want him OUT THERE in space fighting off Romulans, giving orders on a ship to get them out of danger, punching out an alien, making out with hot girls, etc. Thats who Captain Kirk IS and imagined. He is an action character. To take another example by a different franchise, do you honestly want to see a 80 year old James Bond hanging out at MI6 as the next M or do you want to see him out there putting away terrorists, flying planes, jumping off buildings and bedding ladies? Now if you are going to sit here and tell me you can see a 80 year old Bond fighting terrorists half his age and bedding hot women also half… Read more »

Lostrod

I’m 20 years Shatner’s age. Please de-age me like him for my next class reunion … :)

Paul

After the latest Weinstein allegations mention QT forced Uma Thurman to drive an unsafe car & crash it hurting herself (she also posted video of the crash today) I think Paramount will remove him from the Trek movie sooner or later as QT does not come out of that looking good at all!

TigerClaw

If I recall there was originally gonna be a scene with William Shatner in the 2009 Star Trek. it was a scene where Spock Prime gives his younger self a holographic recording of Kirk singing Happy Birthday to him.

They could do something like that for the new one. a scene which young Spock gets access to some of the possessions of Spock Prime ever since he died.

Curious Cadet

@TigerClaw — why would Shatner be any more willing to do that now, than he was in 2009? Certainly that’s the most appropriate use of CGI technology today, but again, a shoe-horned scene in a movie that otherwise likely has little to do with the rest of the movie.

Jack

It was never in the final script and it was never offered to him.

TigerClaw

Maybe it was in an early draft.

Kev-1

This is all speculative right now, isn’t it? But the best thing about 86? year old William Shatner is that he appears energetic and young. I would like to see him as he is. Wouldn’t mind a computer animated Trek outing with himself and the remaining original cast, though. With a good story, it could work. I doubt a computer image in a live action film could deliver his nuance quite yet.

Douglass Abramson

Yeah, I don’t want to see Lee Majors as Steve Austin again either. CGI deaging or no.

Trellium G

I wouldn’t say no to seeing Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Sommers again. :)

SanFranDisco

No. Please no.

Fred

I hope they return the jj Abrams crew if they don’t I won’t see it

VOODOO

Make it so!

CmdrR

You’re thinking of the other bald Shakespearean-trained starship captain…

(Actually, there are 3 if you count Sisko.)

The River Temarc

And you wouldn’t count Sisko because…?

Jaime

That would be do great to see William Shatner as Captain Kirk again.

Marcy Roberts

If only CGI could fix his personality…

Jerry Bonnett

Yes bring him back I’m a 66 year old Navy Captain and I would love it! He was the best Captain⭐️

Arathorn

Ego…through…the…ROOF!

Trellium G

CGI human characters still suffer from dead looking eyes, like moving wax figures. They are missing that spark of life and it was still very noticeable with Tarkin and Leia in Rogue One. The technology still isn’t there yet. On top of that, they would need to de-age his voice too.

kmart

De-aging the voice is already possible, they did some tricks on the LARRY o’ ARABIA restoration, dopplering or something, to bring the newly-voiced Guinness and O’Toole material back to sounding 1962ish. And that was over a quarter-century back when the cutting edge sound tools were presumably a lot less advanced.

DonDonP1

In the immortal words of Geordi LaForge: “Theoretically, it *is* possible,”

Kenneth Eugene Whittaker

How can they justify putting a dead Captain Kirk back into action? Use DNA from one of his blood samples?

Kenneth Eugene Whittaker

Are they going to use his DNA from one of his blood samples? After all, he is dead.

Steve hunter

I would love to see more virtual actors. we would get to enjoy their acting on the big screen. and I would not have to hear whatever political affiliation that they have and what they think about it because I just don’t care. I just want to see them Act.

Trek in a Cafe

A revived old Kirk as played by Shatner would never ever need to be explained. From there just tell a story.

I guess for continuity he’d have to be in TNG era. But if you forget Generations as a whole, he could still be alive in a TOS setting.

I would think a Kirk centered story as an older man still Out there in the cosmos would make a very emotional, potentially trippy film. Like imagine Kirk at the end of 2001!

Curious Cadet

@TIAC — I agree! The MR. HOLMES of Star Trek.

Trek in a Cafe

That’s an interesting film…!

Bsan

I don’t know about this de-aging technology. They already tried it with Shinzon, and look how that movie turned out.

Gary 8.5

Bring him back.
CGI not required.

RikersMailbox

The CGI Peter Cushing was almost there, just not quite. It would have worked perfectly had they not called attention to it; If they kept him sitting behind a desk in the shadows, with quicker cutaways, it would have worked well. Instead, they paraded him around a lighted set for all of the imperfections to be scrutinized. CGI never works unless the director understands the limitations of the technology. That’s why Jurassic Park still holds up so well after nearly 25 years. Spielberg intuitively knew what to show, when to cut away, and when to use physical props in conjunction with the CGI.

I think CGI Kirk could work if the technology that produces it is part of the story. In other words, place it in an environment that’s not quite real; perhaps a computer program or a Tron-like CGI environment that suits the story. Like a holodeck on the fritz or something.

Curious Cadet

@RikersMailbox — or the Nexus. How about a story where old Kirk is in a wheelchair like Pike in Menagerie, and Chekov, Sulu and Uhura kidnap him and take him to the forbidden Mudd Android planet and transfer his mind into a Kirk-bot. Then Kirk-bot can have all the adventures fans want!

Bonita Bruce

What if he came back as that clone that went off with the female Romulan captain? I don’t remember the title but he could be alive still.

kmart

Are you talking about the Bantam novel THE PRICE OF THE PHOENIX? There was a sequel a year or two later that had him in it, and he wound up trapped behind some great barrier or other with Omne, unable to be reached for decades. Then again, that book was 40 years agao … naah, I’m the only person who actually likes those books (probably because I was too dense to read the ‘meaning’ into the beating Kirk receives from Omne.)

ThePhaige

The Tech is impressive but it isnt there yet. Even with movies like “Blade Runner 2049” with Rachel and “Rogue One” with the Princess etc, the human eye can detect that something is not quite right and it takes you out of the vibe in my opinion. I would say if Shatner were to reprise that it should somehow be his current self as we know him now.

Curious Cadet

@ThePhaige — and the voice work isn’t there either. There’s nothing that can be done to clean up an aged voice believably. What has to happen is the original voice has to be sampled and reconstructed synthetically with algorithms that can manipulate the voice realistically given a particular situation as the actor would have naturally performed it. And that technology is a long way off.

Trellium G

Adobe was working on a “Photoshop for voice”. Which is both scary and cool.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/11/adobe-voco-photoshop-for-audio-speech-editing/

Carl

I would live to see the current aged, plump Bill Shatner as Emperor Kirk from the mirror universe!

Adrian cope

Personally i believe kirk should never have been killed off in the first place, it was only done for shock value to draw people to and create a fuss for the films release. This was a mistake which should be put right while we still have the opportunity.

Bill was around 63 when he was in Generations. That was already pushing it.

I don’t think Bill should ever play Kirk in a movie again for the same reason nobody wants

a 90 year old Sean Connery playing James Bond.

Phil

Well, assuming there is a QT movie (50/50 at best, at the moment), and assuming his Charlie Manson pic isn’t canceled, Shatner would be close to 90 when shooting starts…just a bad idea clear across the board.

Disinvited

Phil,

Re: close to 90

So you are just assuming because of an arbitrary number that Shatner who’s been dabbling in animation and CGI animation for decades absolutely has no shot at perhaps surprising us with mastering the computer puppetry of his visage?

To me, that’s akin to claiming there’s just not ever going to be any place for Henson’s puppets in blockbusters, or Tony Curtis at the age of 82 should have just hung up his paint brush because he’s never was going to get a display of his art at a venue like the Metropolitan Museum in Manhattan.

Pretty sure nobody wants a 90 year old Kirk on the bridge in an XL uniform. His acting is not great these days either. I don’t think he could get in the right mindset as he’s only played Kirk jokingly for almost 30 years. It might be his new default setting.

Disinvited

David Oakes,

So what you are saying is everyone knows actors become undirectable at 90? That’s ageist.

Greg Holsclaw

Being from the young era of Kirk I would love to see him back at the helm of the Enterprise. I can’t wait for that to happen.

Trellium G

At some point, Shatner won’t be needed at all. With advancements in A.I., A real interactive simulation of Captain Kirk, or any fictional character, could be created.

He would just get a check for his likeness being used.

Can they replace Benedict Cumberbatch with Ricardo Montalban Khan for a Star Trek Into Darkness Special Edition please? Just take my money!

Kirk1701

But what of Lazarus? WHAT OF LAZARUS?! Lazarus is a cosmic troll with a pocket universe trap. Enterprise Kelvin encounters Lazarus who traps Spock Kelvin (and other crew members a la Galileo Seven). In the pocket universe, Spock meets an elderly Kirk Prime (no need for hefty CGI). How do they get back to Enterprise Kelvin and Kirk Prime to his final reward? There’s your movie. I’d watch it.

(IMO, the Peter Cushing thing was not good. Not only did it look weird, I felt it was ethically questionable.)

Landru

William Shatner is Star Trek.