William Shatner

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What's the name of that movie, Star Trek 3? Sounds like fun!

William Shatner, who played Captain James T. Kirk in the original '60s series and movies, says J.J. Abrams contacted him about the 2016 film, part of a rebooted big screen series that stars 34-year-old Chris Pine as his character, following recent rumors. Abrams directed the first two new movies in the hit sci-fi franchise and serves as a producer for the third, which is being helmed by Roberto Orci. Abrams has not commented.

Speaking to fans at 2014 Wizard World Nashville Comic Con on Friday, Shatner, 83, said that while he was visiting Australia earlier this month, Abrams phoned him from London. He is there filming Star Wars: Episode VII, the first of a planned third trilogy of the rival popular sci-fi franchise. He said Abrams told him Orci "had an idea" about possibly involving him in the third Star Trek film and asked him if he was interested.

"I said, 'Oh, yeah. If it is meaningful, because when Leonard was Spock...in that first movie, I said to Leonard, 'You know your role, when you go back in time and you're still old,'" Shatner said, as seen in a fan-made YouTube video.

He is referring to Leonard Nimoy, who played Kirk's right-hand man Mr. Spock in the original series and movies and reprised his role in the first new Star Trek film, which was released in 2009.

Shatner said he told Abrams, "So, it depends on what you do with the character, I'd be delighted."

He said the producer swore him to secrecy and that he promised him he wouldn't even tell his wife about it. Shatner added that that after he returned from Australia, "it was all over the Internet."

On Sept. 22, Badassdigest.com reported that the Star Trek 3 script includes a scene in which Shatner and Nimoy, who is also 83, reprise their roles as Kirk and Spock, who is played by Zachary Quinto, 37, in the new films. A day later, Shatner responded to the rumors on Twitter, saying, "Nobody has contacted me." As of Sunday, his tweet remained pinned to the top of his page.

Trekmovie.com reported that Orci said in response that day, "Not in my interest to confirm or deny anything because it limits my options while maintaining my integrity as a truth teller. The movie is not the movie till it is in the theater. Until then, everything is a rumor."

"They might want Leonard and myself but I don't know what to do with it," Shatner told the fans. "How do you get me 50 years later into the movie? 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 Star Trek series aired from 1966 to 1969 (pictured below: Kirk and Spock in an episode from the latter year). Shatner and Nimoy last appeared together in character, with other fellow original cast members, in the 1991 movie Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Star Trek

CBS via Getty Images

Shatner last appeared onscreen as Kirk in the 1994 film Star Trek: Generations, which featured characters from the Star Trek: The Next Generation series, with Patrick Stewart playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard. The two appear in scenes depicting an alternate reality and an epic battle.

William Shatner, Star Trek


In 2011, Orci told The Hollywood Reporter that Shatner was supposed to be featured in the first new Star Trek film.

"We wrote a scene for William Shatner at the end of the movie where Spock, played by Leonard, gives his young self, played by Zach Quinto, something he'd kept with him," he said. "And it was basically a recording of Kirk singing 'Happy Birthday' to him for the last time before he went off to die in Star Trek VI. J.J. had determined early on that he felt it might seem like it was, A, too small, and B, pandering to the fans a bit. But we wrote it anyway because as a fan you're always trying to protect that thing where you want to be able to look fans in the eye and say, 'We were ready.'"

At 2014 Wizard World Nashville Comic Con, Shatner recalled how Abrams had talked to him about appearing in the first new Star Trek film. He said he asked him, "And I would play the captain?'"

"'No, no, no. Not as Captain Kirk,'" he quoted the director as saying. "'No, No, no, we have a young, handsome guy to do that.'"

"But he handed me a script and I read the script and it stunk," Shatner said. "It is like telling somebody, 'You know that little cute baby you got there. It is the ugliest thing I have ever seen!' So I didn't say that to J.J."

The screenplay he received, he said, was a fake.

"I don't know quite what he was doing. He was assessing whether people were interested in being in the movie and handing them a script that must have been a dummy script because the next script was pretty darn good, the final movie was really good," he said. 

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