In 1994 Star Trek Generations was released, and Captain Kirk was dead. Stone dead. Bereft of life, he ceased to be. He was singing ‘The Tambourine Man’ to the choir invisible.
Many were not happy, it was a meaningless death for a legendary screen character who had been around for nearly 30 years. William Shatner himself followed the movie up with a series of EIGHT books set in the 24th Century, co-written by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens. In them, Kirk was revived by a Romulan-Borg Alliance to kill Picard; returned to the Mirror Universe; went on vacation to Bajor with Captain Picard (yes, really); then finally got back to captaining a Starship with Spock, McCoy & Scotty by his side.
Around 2004-05, when Enterprise was prepping for its fourth and final season, there were rumours that William Shatner would be appearing. Judiith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens pitched a story in which Shatner would appear as Mirror Kirk:
“The idea was that the Tantalus field was not a disintegrator, it was a humane way of dealing with prisoners, by sending them back in time to a sealed penal colony. Enterprise (NX-01) comes upon the colony – and Tiberius [mirror-Kirk] is there. Tiberius thinks, ‘Finally, a ship with a transporter – I can get back to my own universe, my own time.’ He basically goes on the NX-01, gets to the transporter, sets it to go back to the mirror universe – the mirror universe doesn’t exist.” “It hasn’t been created yet,” Judith Reeves-Stevens added. Garfield continued, “So Tiberius and Archer work together to figure out where the division point is between the universes, what point that one split off into the other. And as it turns out, Tiberius and Archer together are responsible for the creation of the mirror universe.”
A second idea, devised by Mike Sussman, ‘involved Shatner playing Enterprise’s Chef, who Daniels would bring into the future to preserve the timeline by successfully posing as James T. Kirk during an important event in history.’
I personally preferred the second idea, we’d have technically an unseen adventure where Shatner would be playing [Chef as] Kirk. Unfortunately Shatner couldn’t agree with a fee Paramount was offering, and UPN cancelled the show.
Wanting to see William Shatner back as Kirk in the 24th Century, following the box office disaster that was Star Trek: Nemesis, a group of fans put together this live action-hybrid trailer, showing Kirk and gang in 24th Century uniforms aboard a refitted Enterprise-A, which canonically was never destroyed. I love it, it paints a new chapter for Kirk and Spock, and if you take away the captions this is a full story with a beginning, middle and optimistic end:
Next, CBS acquired the rights to Star Trek but Paramount retained the rights to make movies, and JJ Abrams started to develop a concept which would take the franchise back to the original series. There were hot rumours that William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy were heavily involved and had to give approval for the recasting of their characters. Nimoy appeared but Shatner didn’t. Roberto Orci had written a hologram-monologue scene for Shatner which was ultimately unfilmed:
ALTERNATE SCENE B
Then I ask that you do yourself a
favor… put away logic, and do what
feels right. The world you’ve inherited
lives in the shadow of incalculable
devastation… but there’s no reason you
must face it alone.
And from around his neck, he removes the PENDANT that
until now, we’ve only caught glimpses of. Places it on
the table beside his younger self. The feeling in his
eyes is profound…
SPOCK PRIME (CONT’D)
This was a gift to me. Representing…
a dream. One we were unable to fulfill.
The way you can now.
And moves to the door. Stops. Offers the VULCAN SALUTE:
SPOCK PRIME (CONT’D)
As my customary farewell would appear
oddly self serving, I will simply say…
Their eyes hold. Spock turns, disappearing into the
corridor. Young Spock stares at the empty doorway a
beat, his mind a jumble of thoughts. Looks to the
pendant… and realizes it’s a HOLO-EMITTER. After
considering a beat, he hits an activation button and a
MOVING HOLOGRAPHIC MESSAGE materializes before him:
CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK. WILLIAM SHATNER. As always,
brash, wry, confident — and SINGING:
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to
I know I know, it’s illogical to
celebrate something you had nothing to do
with, but I haven’t had the chance to
congratulate you on your appointment to
the ambassadorship so I thought I’d seize
the occasion… Bravo, Spock — they tell
me your first mission may take you away
for awhile, so I’ll be the first to wish
you luck… and to say…
I miss you, old friend.
… and we’re PUSHING IN on Young Spock, taking in the
image of Kirk’s future self, the message, but above all —
the clear, unquestionable friendship these two men had…
INT. CORRIDOR – CONTINUOUS
As Spock Prime walks off down the corridor, he passes
right by a man conferring with a nurse — the man pauses,
turns… it’s SAREK. Suddenly overcome by a feeling that
the stranger who’s just passed him is… oddly familiar.
I suppose I’d always imagined us…
outgrowing Starfleet together. Watching
life swing us into our Emeritus years…
INT. STARBASE ONE – HANGAR – ETERNAL NIGHT
MUSIC BUILDING — glass walls reveal THE ENTERPRISE at
dock, UTILITY CRAFTS floating around it, repairing.
Standing at attention in rows, THE ENTERPRISE CREW —
over four hundred of them wearing DRESS UNIFORMS — TRACK
DOWN the faces, all proud:
I look around at the new cadets now and
can’t help thinking… has it really been
so long? Wasn’t it only yesterday we
stepped onto the Enterprise as boys?
That I had to prove to the crew I
deserved command… and their respect?
And we STOP ON YOUNG KIRK. Composed, focused, proud. A
man. And to every fan’s delight, finally wearing his
YELLOW SHIRT. The FEDERATION COMMANDANT stands at a
This assembly calls Captain James
Kirk breaks from formation, pivots, marches down the
hangar — past UHURA… SULU… CHEKOV… SCOTTY. All
Beaming. Notably absent, is Spock. Kirk ascends the
stairs, snaps to attention:
Your inspirational valor and supreme
dedication to your comrades are in
keeping with the highest traditions of
service and reflect utmost credit to
yourself, your crew, and the Federation.
By Starfleet Order 28455, you are hereby
directed to report to Commanding Officer,
USS Enterprise, for duty as his relief.
Kirk turns. Walks to… PIKE. In a wheelchair now,
wearing an ADMIRAL’S UNIFORM. Overnight, his hair’s
turned totally grey — but despite his trauma, his
pride’s overwhelming. They SALUTE each other:
I relieve you, Sir.
… I am relieved.
He opens a BOX in his lap — glorious in repose, a MEDAL:
And as Fleet Admiral, for your… unique
solution to the Kobayashi Maru, it’s my
honor to award you with a commendation
for original thinking.
Pike containing a smirk, pins the medal to Kirk’s
(a touch choked)
Thank you, Sir.
Kirk turns to the crowd. Eyes shining. WILD APPLAUSE.
OUR MUSIC SOARS. Bones leans in to Sulu, rolling his
… Same ship, different day.
As Kirk rejoins his crew for hugs and congratulations, we
go to the BACK of the hangar… SPOCK PRIME. Watching.
Moved beyond words. He turns and leaves them to it… as
I know what you’d say — ‘It’s their turn
now, Jim…’ And of course you’re
right… but it got me thinking:
INT. STARFLEET HOSPITAL – EARTH – DAY
Our montage comes full circle as we END on Kirk’s
Who’s to say we can’t go one more round?
By the last tally, only twenty five
percent of the galaxy’s been chartered…
I’d call that negligent. Criminal even —
an invitation. You once said being a
starship captain was my first, best
destiny… if that’s true, then yours is
to be by my side. If there’s any true
logic to the universe… we’ll end up on
that bridge again someday.
Stops, grins. Because this is the part he needs to say
Admit it, Spock. For people like us, the
journey itself… is home.
Young Spock’s face. Lost in feelings that flood through
Orci was planning to co-write and direct a third Star Trek movie. In it, the Federation, The Vulcans and a new race were racing to get their hands on a time travel device, the Vulcans wanted to get their hands on a time travel device. In the process,
Shatner and Nimoy would have appeared an older Pine & Quinto, unfortunately a new script was written (which tbf was a movie I greatly enjoyed!) and Nimoy died in 2015, before these scenes could be shot: the Prime Timeline would have been restored, ending the trilogy, with the return of Kirk Prime.
photomanip by gazomg from my idea, uniform design by Richard A Griffith
Yes they’re meant to be older Kelvin Kirk & Spock, not older Prime, but I love this image.
It’s like a curse! Yes the Kirk character was killed off, but the conversation always comes around. Of the surviving original cast, Nimoy made two Star Trek movies in 2009 and 2013, Takei, Koenig and Nichols have participated in fan films, but William Shatner has only appeared in a DirecTV commercial and Oscars sketch.
Over the last 10 years online Star Trek fan films were very prominent I had an idea that Star Trek New Voyages or Continues could do a take on ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, where Kirk in the Nexus would be shown by his younger self a guided tour of his life, reflecting on the decisions he made. But Shatner had this to say about Continues, apparently over the use of his image in their promo material:
He’s already talking about appearing on Discovery! But how?! It’s set 10 years before TOS. Note that’s not the only Star Trek there’s going to be now, there’s talks CBS want to do more, and it was nearly an all-eras anthology.
He could play Admiral Tiberius Kirk, Kirk’s grandfather, or they could resurrect the time travelling Mirror Kirk idea.
If CBS do a future show, Kirk could be shown in flashback, as a hologram or this guy could snap his fingers:
The Kelvin Timeline movies are also rumoured to be going forward with another movie, apparanly in a time travel plot involving Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk, so maybe the Old Kirk plot can return here? Or they could do a take on the ‘Deadly Years’ episode?
My favourite alternative to all of these would be an appearance on FOX’s The Orville. Have him as Captain Jase C Burke, flagship Captain on his last mission, just about to retire. A lauded hero who the ladies swoon for. Taking the Mick out of Shatner’s image but not too much and a respectful homage. Ed is skeptical but ends up respecting Burke.
Maybe by the end of the episode Burke finds a new purpose in life, so effectively a better finale than Generations.
Kirk in all but name.
In any case, William Shatner is 86 now, so if they are going to do this hopefully it will be sooner rather than later!?