Star Trek: How could Captain James T. Kirk return?
William Shatner has said he would love to return as Captain Kirk in a Quentin Tarantino Star Trek film, but how exactly could that happen?
Well, in the famous words of Uhura, this isn’t reality. This is fantasy.
And there’s our starting point. Writers make it up as they go along. They can’t help it. It’s in their nature. Sure, some of it might make sense, some of it sounds like they don’t know what grammar actually is and some is such complete garbage that one wonders how they get stuff commissioned and make a living (see below).
Anyway, back to Star Trek, that clearly, obviously, without a shadow of a doubt, never, ever, ever gets it wrong, always produces top quality movies and episodes, captures lightning in a bottle every time, yessiree, and a franchise the fans of which are in complete, overwhelming agreement about simply everything.
So, with Captain Kirk dead (the Prime one that is, because Chris Pine’s version is, we assume, still up there flying through the cosmos) and with writers being writers, as long as the reason as to how he can come back from the dead makes sense from a in-universe point of view, then why shouldn’t Shatner reprise his role? If there is a chance that he can give something back to the franchise that, to be honest, made him, then why not? It would be a dark day indeed when Mr. Shatner passes away (he’s nearly 90, dammit, and I really don’t want to think about it too much) and I do hope he is given a swansong to truly remember.
Admittedly, and as Shatner himself has noted, he has gained a few more pounds since his last on-screen appearance in 1994 (25 years ago!) so can we suspend disbelief and accept that he looks so much older but is essentially the same age? (And with Marvel pioneering the de-aging effects on characters, we could be in business.) So in what fashion could be come back?
More from Redshirts Always Die
There were a series of novels that were set post-Generations that told the tale of Kirk’s body being kidnapped by the Borg from Veridian III and re-enhanced as a some sort of assassin, the Borg taking advantage of Kirk’s legendary status. Because who would believe Kirk would be the bad guy? These Pocket Books novels were devised by Shatner and co-written with the Reeves-Stevenses. I’m putting together some future articles related to them, so I won’t go into too much detail here. But, suffice to say, it was a logical way to bring him into the 24th Century. So that’s one option, but unlikely.
He could be a clone. Picard had one, so why not Kirk? Again, it would be unlikely: it’s too close a plotline to Star Trek: Nemesis (which everybody loved, right…?).
His death in Star Trek: Generations could simply be overlooked. Again, pretty unlikely as this would severely go against canon (and Star Trek has never done that before, ever…). But sure, if this was to happen it would indeed make a mockery of established stories and I don’t believe that would be a satisfactory solution.
So how about this, then?
William Shatner plays not his Kirk, but Chris Pine’s one. Prime Kirk would remain canonically dead and we’d have a reversal of a recasting of the role: Shatner taking over from Pine as an older, retired Kelvin Timeline version. This might make sense if Tarantino keeps the Kelvin story thread going – and hey, it could mean we can also potentially have Pine helping his older self (or vice versa). Two Kirks for the price of one! I’m in!
Remember in Generations when Picard met Guinan in the Nexus but she was also aboard the Enterprise-D? She explained the Nexus version was an echo of her true self, an after image, and that she would always be in the Nexus and had always been there since her passenger days on the Lakul. Well, does that then mean that there is an echo of one James Tiberius Kirk in the timeless Nexus, too? With a bit of that de-aging software, we can have him still chopping wood and cooking eggs with a dash of oregano. And you know who else would have an echo there? His dog Butler, which would make the pooch-loving Jean-Luc Picard (also present as an echo) very happy.
Kirk never believed in the no-win scenario. And I think he, and William Shatner, might just prove yet again how right he was.