Don’t look for William Shatner to boldly go in Star Trek Beyond.
Despite early rumours that had him poised to reprise the role of James T Kirk for this year’s 50th anniversary adventure, Shatner tells SFX magazine (opens in new tab) that he won’t be beaming aboard the Enterprise’s next big screen voyage.
“There was never a conversation,” he says, claiming he had no involvement in preliminary plans to resurrect the iconic character in the rebooted movie universe.
While his late co-star Leonard Nimoy made nostalgic cameos as Spock in 2009’s Star Trek and 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness, Shatner last wore the Starfleet uniform in 1994’s Star Trek: Generations, the film that saw Kirk unceremoniously offed by Malcolm McDowell’s scheming Dr Soran.
“It would have been interesting to see what their fertile imaginations could have done with somebody who is 20 years older than when Captain Kirk died [in Star Trek Generations] and how they would have explained the difference in appearance. But that never came up. I’m sure they must have thought of it one time or another but I never had a substantial conversation about replaying the role.”
Shatner’s return was said to be key to a storyline developed by Star Trek Beyond’s original helmer Roberto Orci, subsequently replaced in the director’s chair by Fast And Furious supremo Justin Lin. The movie now has a brand new screenplay co-written by Trek star Simon Pegg.
Shatner came close to reprising his most enduring role in 2009’s reboot. The film’s writers drafted a scene where Nimoy gave Zachary Quinto’s Spock a pendant containing a holographic pep talk from the original Jim Kirk. The scene was never filmed.
Read more from William Shatner – and other stars and creators from the final frontier – in SFX 270. On sale Wednesday 6 January, it’s an interview-packed celebration of 50 years of Star Trek, with a choice of three collectable covers!