If you're a regular peruser of internet rumors, you'll recall that there were was a lot of intense chatter at the start of STAR TREK BEYOND's development that then-directer Roberto Orci had incorporated that original James T. Kirk in the script. The word on the street was that William Shatner himself would be pulling a Leonard Nimoy by reprising his iconic STAR TREK character in the third film of the rebooted series. Back then, things were very different. For starters, the film hadn't yet been titled. The production was somewhat in "scramble" mode, as J.J. Abrams had opted to do STAR WARS: EPISODE VII instead of STAR TREK III. And, as was mentioned, Roberto Orci was set to make his feature directing debut with the film.
Along the way, things evolved. Orci exited, Justin Lin stepped in, Simon Pegg and Doug Jung took Orci's script and did an extensive rewrite, and the film got a proper name. So what about the idea of Shatner returning as Kirk? Did that survive the overhaul? By all accounts: No.
Now we're learning that not only will Shatner not pop up in STAR TREK BEYOND but, after much discussion, he's unlikely to appear in any of the STAR TREK films in the new timeline. Why's that? Well, it has very little to do with a lack of desire, and seemingly everything to do with a want to respect canon. You see, in the original timeline- which is still canon, as the reboot merely presented an alternate timeline without actually erasing everything that came before it- Shatner's Kirk died in STAR TREK: GENERATIONS. Because of that, the producers feel like they can't pull a Nimoy and pop him into the new stories- since Spock Prime was left very much alive in the original timeline.
But don't just take my word for it. Here are comments on the subject directly from J.J. Abrams:
"Obviously it’s Star Trek, nearly anything is possible. There’s the fairly simple notion that on the day Kirk was born another timeline began. But in the other timeline, Kirk died onscreen (in Generations). I don’t know how he would come back unless we went into this other reality and we did a timeline and reality jump."
He revealed, in a chat with the Toronto Sun, that the idea has floated around for some time. It's even been discussed with Shatner, himself. But it ultimately comes down to the producers being unwilling to question the intelligence of their audience:
"In all the years we’ve been working on this, I've yet to hear a pitch that didn’t sound too contorted and contrived for an audience to swallow. And I’ve talked to him (Shatner) about it. If Kirk had lived there’d be an answer. But there’s something about his having died that makes it impossible."
So that's that, it seems.
Does that work for you? Were you hoping for a glimpse of Kirk Prime in STAR TREK BEYOND?
SOURCE: Toronto Sun