‘Star Trek’: Why William Shatner Doesn’t Want to Play Captain Kirk Again

Captain Kirk of Star Trek is one of the most famous characters ever created for television. William Shatner will always be associated with the role of Kirk, as he originated it. The idea of Shatner reprising the role for the first time in decades is many a Trekkie/Trekker’s dream.

Is Shatner excited by the prospect of playing Kirk again? No. Here’s why he’d rather stay out of the captain’s chair.

Captain James T. Kirk buried in Tribbles in a classic original series episode | CBS via Getty Images

A fan asks if Captain Kirk could come back

Shatner’s comments can only be understood in light of the current state of the Star Trek franchise. Patrick Stewart hadn’t played the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in many years. However, he reprised the role for the recent series Star Trek: Picard.

Like Stewart, Shatner played an incredibly popular Star Trek captain. Could Shatner finally reprise the role of Kirk? Shatner returning to play the character makes sense in this media environment. After all, in recent years actors like Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Leonard Nimoy have returned to iconic roles after long hiatuses.

According to Deadline, a fan on Twitter asked Shatner if he’d like to play Kirk again. On March 1, 2020, Shatner responded, saying he wouldn’t. He explained, “I think Kirk’s story is pretty well played out at this point.”

Why William Shatner doesn’t want to return to ‘adventures in ribbon’

A Star Trek Generations clip depicting an energy ribbon

Some fans were surprised by this admission. Shatner felt they shouldn’t be surprised. “What was any different about my statement on Kirk that I haven’t said before? I don’t do cameos (that one stretches back to 2008 & JJ) Kirk’s story is well told out of any other captain’s story.”

Shatner noted Kirk died in the film Star Trek Generations. Because of this, he feels there’s nothing else that can be done with the character. He added “What is really left? Adventures in the ribbon?”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Shatner’s comments about ribbons refer to the film Star Trek Generations. So-called “energy ribbons” were a major plot point in that film. Energy ribbons are bright energy beams in the sky which can destroy things. Apparently, Shanter isn’t interested in revisiting that plot point anytime soon.

Is there any other way Shatner would reprise the role?

The original Star Trek opening

Of course, the Star Trek canon isn’t stagnant. Time travel and parallel universes have always been a major part of the franchise. Because of this, it’s easy to write around certain plot points by either undoing them through time travel or introducing a parallel universe where things are different. Shatner, however, is bored by the prospect of rewriting Star Trek canon so he can play Kirk again.

During this Twitter exchange, Shatner explained why he doesn’t do cameos. Shatner defines a cameo as a “a throwaway part to sell DVDs.” It seems Shatner isn’t interested in playing Kirk in any part, no matter how big or small. Regardless, his earlier portrayals of Kirk will last forever.

Also see: Patrick Stewart Wants Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on ‘Star Trek’