Sunday, 13 July 2014

Why We Need William Shatner In the 2016 Star Trek


Ladies and gentlemen, as 2016 draws near, we find ourselves drawn closer and closer to the final (according to most reports) Star Trek movie. Indeed the franchise has done well for itself, coming close to it's 50 year anniversary. With reports of the return of the Klingons in this movie and of course the war we heard about in Into the Darkness, things seem to be rather interesting for the future. Roberto Orci has taken the helm after J.J Abrams, and as a Trek purist we can expect some exciting things from him.
                                                                                                                                                       In this, I must put my two cents worth by suggesting the return of the original captain of the Enterprise. No, I do not mean Chris Pine, I mean the 1960s Kirk, William Shatner. Shatner, as many know, was the original James T.Kirk in three seasons of what is now known as the Original Series, one season in the  star trek animated series and seven Star Trek movies. For many fans, the role of Kirk is synonymous with Shatner, ending with the death of our great hero off the bridge and into a cliff in the 1994 Star Trek Generations.

Kirk dead by falling off a cliff?

Many fans reacted negatively to this death, seen by most as a worthless attempt to make a defunct movie iconic. Yet, putting Generations aside for a moment, let's consider why putting Shatner back is important. Shatner has been associated with the role of Kirk throughout the decades. Not only for the people that watched the original series episodes as they aired, but also throughout the multiple reruns of the show. The character of Kirk has survived things such as phaser blasts, explosions, even mind melds with pointy-eared, green blooded aliens(though to be honest the only person that would consider those things equivalent to one another would be Bones Mccoy). His death should have been rather fitting for a hero, a dramatic last battle with the Romulans or the Borg perhaps? But whatever the case may be, we , that is to say the fans, were heartened by the return of Kirk to the big screen with the making of Star Trek 2009. Chris Pine stayed faithful to the role, while bringing some of his own remarkable acting skills to the fore. But something still felt missing. That was our old captain.
Kirk back in action

Now before going onwards, I will mention that J.J Abrams did try to get William Shatner to do a cameo in Star Trek 2009. However, according to Abrams, Shatner was pretty clear he didn't want to be in a cameo and wanted a bigger role. The scene involved some video of Kirk talking to Prime Spock about a birthday gift before he left for Romulas and would have been shown to alternate Kirk in the frozen planet. Shatner denies that any such offer was made on his Youtube channel but who knows? Similarly Shatner and J.J Abrams have had somewhat rocky relations with Shatner saying that Star Trek Into Darkness had no soul and J.J Abrams also being somewhat cold to the idea of Shatner in any future Trek. I will put some major reasons as to why we need Shatner back here and try to justify them.

1) The association of the role with him.

2) The need for Prime Kirk in at least one of the major movies in the trilogy. Let's be clear here. We have had Prime Spock in two of the new films in cameos. While Leonard Nimoy is an amazing actor, it does get stale when you bring only one of the original cast twice. Also, a small tie-in with the originals is essential in any major reboot. Whether it be X-men with Prime Magneto and Professor X or Star Wars with C-3PO.

3) The biggest hurdle is the problem with cannon death. Yet in Sci-fi the biggest advantage you have is the ability to make anything possible. Shatner himself has, rather ironically, written about his comeback in his novel "The Return". An excellent peace of fiction, if you get the time pick it up here. Take Professor X for example. Brought back from the dead in Days of Future Past. Now if the directors had taken only The Last Stand as final, they would have been unable to make such a great movie.

Lastly, I would state that while we fans would not like old, fat Bill acting like Denny Crane in the captain's chair, we would appreciate a better end or sendoff. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto and the rest are wonderful actors and the last movie should focus on them. But a slight nod of the head towards Shatner, possibly helping out in some small way like Prime Spock, would be appreciated. He should be put in just for the reason, well, he is Shatner for gods sake and he is awesome! We've seen the beautiful sunset in the Undiscovered Country. Bring that back for us. For those of you interested in Shatner's return, please visit for some even further info. I am also posting this trailer of theirs for your enjoyment.