Star Trek's William Shatner Won't Return for New Series: "Kirk’s Story Is Pretty Well Played Out"

Star Trek: Picard on CBS All Access continues the adventures of Jean-Luc Picard after his retirement from Starfleet, with Patrick Stewart returning to his role from Star Trek: The Next Generation. That has left some Star Trek: The Original Series fans wondering if there’s a chance of William Shatner returning to his role as James T. Kirk in a similar series (assuming that writers come up with a way to resurrect Kirk after his death in Star Trek Generations). But Shatner has squashed any hope of that happening. “No. I think Kirk’s story is pretty well played out at this point,” Shatner tweeted in response to a fan’s question about the possibility.

This isn’t the first time that Shatner has downplayed the idea of returning to active duty in the Star Trek universe. ComicBook.com spoke to Shatner ahead of his Grand Ole Opry debut in February 2019. He shared his thoughts on the idea of returning to television.

“That word, ‘resurrect.’ That’s a key word,” Shatner says. “Resurrect. You’d have to resurrect me, Shatner, in order to do the daily. I don’t know what Patrick is doing 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.”

Shatner accepted the Emmy Governors Award on behalf of the entire Star Trek franchise in 2018. In his acceptance speech, Shatner said, “Thank you so much. 52 years. What a gift. We’re grateful… Star Trek has endured because it represents an idea – one that’s greater than the sum of our parts….we watch and we reach to see the best version of ourselves…. Star Trek is a phenomenon… I accept this award with honor.”

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Shatner tried to carry on the spirit of Star Trek in his final moments as Captain Kirk. He put it into his death scene on Veridian III in Star Trek Generations in which he utters Kirk’s last words, “Oh my…”

"I thought about dying, my death and this beloved character who's going to be put to rest,” Shatner said in another 2018 interview. “How do I play it? You know there's got to be a moment, you're alive, and you're going to die, now you're alive, and now you're going to die. There has to be a moment when we all, at that moment of death, we say, 'Holy cats, I'm dying!' And you're dead. How do you treat that moment? And I think we die the way we live. If we live filled with fear, a fear of flying, a fear of leaving the village, you'll be fearful, you'll lose your breath, you'll panic, and you'll die. Or if you look forward to the next adventure, maybe you're conscious, maybe we're conscious when we die. Maybe, we're aware. A lot of people believe in heaven. We're all going to go to a lovely place and see somebody. I don't know what age we see our mother and father. Are they still old? Or are they young? We don't know. That would be a lovely thing to happen, but we don't know. It's how we die that's interesting. And I think we die the way we live."

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