For the past week, rumors have been swirling that William Shatner may finally get his wish of appearing in the rebooted Star Trek franchise by way of a role in Star Trek 3. While Leonard Nimoy got a fairly significant role in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 film and an all-too-convenient part in the follow-up Star Trek Into Darkness, Shatner has been vocal about his displeasure at not having appeared in the new franchise. Abrams and screenwriters Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof actually wrote a role for Shatner to reprise his role as Kirk at the end of Star Trek 2009, but subsequently dropped the scene because they felt it was too gimmicky.
A week ago, a rumor surfaced that Orci—who is now directing Trek 3—has written a role for Shatner to appear in Star Trek 3. Shatner subsequently played coy about the prospect, but this weekend he said “to hell with it” and flat-out confirmed that Abrams contacted him about appearing in Star Trek 3. More on the potential William Shatner Star Trek 3 cameo after the jump.
While speaking at Wizard World Comic-Con in Nashville (via ComicBook.com), Shatner revealed that J.J. Abrams called him from London a couple of weeks ago (where he’s directing Star Wars) and gauged his interest in appearing in Star Trek 3:
“[Abrams said] 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.”
Shatner told the folks in attendance at Wizard World that he replied with, “It depends on what you do with the character, but I would be delighted.” While Abrams told Shatner not to say anything to anybody about the prospect of him appearing in the film, the actor went on to justify his revelation to the crowd:
“It’s all over the Internet that the director had held an interview and said they want Shatner and Nimoy to be in the next movie. I’ll bet you J.J.’s frothing at the mouth at this point. 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.”
The original idea for Shatner’s appearance in Star Trek 2009 was towards the end of the film when Nimoy’s Spock confronts Zachary Quinto’s Spock. The elder Spock was to hand the young Spock a disc with a “Happy Birthday” message from Shatner’s Kirk that would have served as a sort of confirmation of Spock and Kirk’s longtime friendship, but also would be in keeping with that canon that Kirk was still dead. Shatner’s reading of the birthday message would have played over the closing montage of the film.
It’s unclear how Orci plans to use Shatner’s Kirk in Star Trek 3 or even if that cameo appearance will for sure happen, but there now appears to be confirmed interest on both ends. Moreover, it’s clear that just because Abrams is incredibly busy with Star Wars at the moment doesn’t mean he’s completely forsaken his Trek franchise, remaining involved as an active producer.
Production on Star Trek 3 is expected to get underway next year in anticipation of a proposed 2016 release. What do you think about a Shatner appearance in this new Trek, folks? Are you for the idea, or do you think it would be too distracting? Sound off in the comments below.