6 Reasons Old Captain Kirk Can't Return

On February 4, 2016, William Shatner was quoted (once again) as saying he wanted to return to play Captain James T. Kirk on the big screen. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg, Shatner said, "I would play an old Captain Kirk, absolutely. You would have [to have] an interesting character, not a cameo, like, 'Here I am, aren't I interesting?' It's the ongoing world; it's the world within science-fiction. Yes, you age within the universe. Time goes on — but time bends, as well. There's so many things you could do." I guess we need to lay out why the elder Captain Kirk (referred to as Kirk Prime) and Shatner can never return to the franchise.

01
of 06

No Time For Kirk

Captain James T. Kirk of
Captain James T. Kirk of "Star Trek". NBC Television

One of the major problems with bringing Kirk Prime to the new movies is that they're currently set before the originals. That means not only would the writers need to figure out why he's still alive, but also why he's older than the current Kirk. Spock Prime had to travel back in time, but that trick won't work twice.

02
of 06

He's Dead, Jim

Captain Kirk Death in
Captain Kirk Death in "Generations". Paramount Pictures

The other major obstacle to Kirk Prime returning in the current continuity is that he's [SPOILER ALERT] dead. In Star Trek: Generations, Kirk Prime was killed trying to save a solar system from a mad scientist. While the death may not be very popular among fans, it did happen and there's no take backs. Not only would the current movie have to figure out how to bring Kirk back in time, but he'd also have to be brought back to life.

03
of 06

The New Kirk

Captain Kirk (Chris Pine)
Captain Kirk (Chris Pine). Paramount Pictures

Right now, Star Trek isn't without its Captain Kirk. There's a new Kirk in town, played by Chris Pine. He's younger, more headstrong, and is a better fighter than the original Kirk. Audiences can connect with him. To bring in another Kirk who's older and slower would be a little redundant. I can't think of anything Kirk Prime can bring to the table, other than a little wisdom, but we've kind of got that covered with Spock Prime.

04
of 06

The Shatnerverse Must Die

The Return by William Shatner
The Return by William Shatner. Pocket Books

In the same interview, Shatner commented, "I wrote a series of novels [in which] they allowed me to tell my story of Captain Kirk. So in a series of Star Trek novels, half a dozen of them, I — taking from my own life, of life and death and love and loss — I created this whole world of Star Trek for Captain Kirk. I would have loved to have done them [as movies]."

Shatner is referring to what fans call "the Shatnerverse." It was a total of nine novels co-written by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, beginning with Star Trek: The Ashes of Eden in 1995. Beginning from just before Star Trek: Generations, the series imagined Kirk being resurrected by the Borg, and going on adventures with the crew of The Next Generation.

While we're sure the idea of a Kirk-centered series of Star Trek movies sounds great to Shatner, it didn't exactly resonate with fans. In fact, the Shatnerverse isn't even considered canon among the Trek Universe. None of us want that on the big screen.

05
of 06

Kirk Had His Chance

Kirk in
Kirk in "Star Trek: Generations". Paramount Pictures

 Even with all that being said, it's not like no one has tried. Back in 2009, J.J. Abrams attempted to work Kirk Prime into the new Star Trek movie. According to Trekmovie, a scene was written where Spock Prime shows Kirk Prime as a holographic recording, wishing a happy birthday to Spock Prime. The recording would have been made before Kirk's death in Generations. It was complicated and convoluted, and pure fan service, and that was just a cameo. To include Kirk Prime in a major role like Shatner wants would be even worse.

06
of 06

Even Spock Prime is Useless

Spock Prime from
Spock Prime from "Into Darkness". Paramount Pictures

Even if Kirk Prime could be brought back, he would serve about as much use to the new Trek franchise as Spock Prime. That is to say, none at all. Spock Prime's role in Star Trek was an integral part of the story. His cameo in Star Trek Into Darkness felt thin at best. There just isn't much of a need for an older version of the characters that already exist. To bring Kirk Prime into the mix would be even more pointless.

Final Thoughts

All that being said, Shatner should just accept that his role in "Star Trek" will never return. There's a new Kirk, and we like him just fine.