Over the years, plenty of showbiz stars have offered their take on William Shatner and his iconic Star Trek character Captain James T. Kirk. Now the 90-year-old actor is taking a look at some of them and offering his opinion. Shatner -- who recently received some criticism about his stint hosting Saturday Night Live in the 1980s and has never really revisited his own Star Trek performances -- sat down to look at impersonations from various performers. They include Seth MacFarlane, Jason Alexander, John Belushi, Jim Carrey, Bruce Campbell, and Bill Nye. In a kind of strange Star Trek feedback loop, there's even one SNL skit with Chris Pine, who plays Kirk in the Kelvin Timeline Star Trek movies, impersonating Shatner's Kirk.
Shatner has plenty of notes for most of them, particularly those who speak in frantic speech pattern that Shatner doesn't believe is accurate to his. A few fare okay, with Shatner noting Belushi's performance, Campbell's understanding of why an actor my slow their speech, and Pine, well, "Chris Pine can do no harm." Take a look below.
Would Shatner ever come back to breathe life into Captain Kirk himself? He's said in the past that he'd like to make an appearance in the Kelvin Timeline movies, provided there's a good reason for it. Yet, in 2019, speaking to ComicBook.com, Shatner seemed skeptical of the idea of "resurrecting" Kirk after his death in Star Trek Generations.
"That word, 'resurrect.' That's a key word. Resurrect," Shatner said. "You'd have to resurrect me, Shatner, in order to do the daily. I don't know what Patrick is doing that. Doing a series is debilitating for a young guy, for a 25-year-old, which I was doing when I was 25 years old. It's a physical wrecker, it's a mental wrecker, and it's a homewrecker 'cause you're working 14, 18 hours a day. And in the last series I did, Boston Legal, I had, in rush hour, a two-hour commute. So add that. So no, I would not be interested in doing a series, per se."
If you're interested, for my money, no one's Shatner/Kirk impersonation beats Billy West voicing Zapp Brannigan in Futurama. It's a different character but also a heightened parody of Shatner and Kirk.
Who do you think does the best impersonation of William Shatner? Do you feel that any of them get it right? Let us know what you think about it in the comments section. Star Trek: The Original Series, starring Shatner as Kirk, is streaming now on Paramount+.