After a series of events more tangled than the time-hopping plot of ‘Star Trek’ (Part 1), William Shatner recently confirmed that he has indeed been contacted about returning to the beloved franchise to play his iconic role. Before we get into the actual news though, let’s go over the events leading up to the announcement.
First, the Internet heard rumors of Shatner’s return, which he himself prompty put down on his twitter feed:
Let’s talk ST. I don’t know anything about the current gossip. Nobody has contacted me. Right now it’s just rhetoric to cause hype.
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) September 23, 2014
Next, after a few days, we got confirmation from Roberto Orci that he wanted Shatner and Leonard Nimoy in the film, and suddenly Shatner is singing a new tune at the Wizard World Nashville Comic Con, delightedly telling the audience about a phone call with J.J. Abrams about the role. Apparently, while shooting ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ in London, Abrams took the time to call Shatner (who was in Australia at the time), and ask him about the film. Here’s what J.J. said, according to Shatner:
“I’m calling because the director of Star Trek, the next movie, has had an idea where you might be involved, so I’m calling to find out whether you would be interested.”
To which Shatner of course responded:
“It depends on what you do with the character, but I would be delighted.”
See Shatner break the exciting news to the audience in Nashville below:
So to Shatner’s credit (at least according to his story), after asking him about the role, Abrams swore him to secrecy, hence the Twitter denial of the story seen above. As to why the news leaked anyway is beyond me, but in my opinion, more ‘Star Trek’ buzz can never be a bad thing.
More interesting is Shatner’s point about ensuring the integrity of the character, and his questions about how they actually manage to get him into the timeline:
“So the news is out that they have an idea that they want Leonard and myself…they might want Leonard and myself in it. But I would love to do it. But how do you get me fifty years later into the movie? I mean how do you rationalize it. I know it’s science fiction, but even I couldn’t come up with an idea. So that’s the news on that.”
While I agree it would be a challenge, with Orci writing and directing, and most of the crew back from the first 2 films, I would not bet against them. They managed to relaunch the franchise while more or less maintaining the continuity of the originals, which no one had thought possible up to that point. If anyone can welcome Shatner back into the ‘Star Trek’ franchise and do justice to his version of Kirk, it would be this team. Here’s to hoping we get to see the fruits of their labor when the film opens in (fingers-crossed) 2016.