There may never be a more iconic character than James Tiberius Kirk. in the Star Trek Universe. Some may say that it’s Spock, but that’s just not true. Our pointy-eared friend has been rebooted and recast a bunch of times. Not so with Captain Kirk. We’ve seen only a few (controversial) times where other actors have strode in his mighty steps. So the fact that there are persistent rumors of a new actor to play Kirk on the Paramount+ makes complete sense.
To be clear, this is not about William Shatner returning to the role he made iconic over three seasons of The Original Series, two seasons of The Animated Series, and seven feature films. Understandably, many have a hard time separating Kirk from Shatner, even though the actor has stated several times that he’s done with the role, only to reverse himself and say that he’d be willing to return under the right circumstances.
There was a time when he even thought he would return in some way for Star Trek: Beyond, but things never came together, and he wasn’t included in the film. Sadly, Shatner was Kirk on the bridge of the Enterprise for so many years, only to be killed by a bridge in Star Trek: Generations. Irony is cruel, even in Star Trek.
And this is also not about a fourth Kelvin movie, which would star Chris Pine as Kirk. When the “Kelvin Kirk” met the original for the documentary film The Captains, Shatner declared that looking at Pine was like looking at himself “50 years ago.”
These rumors are about possibly recasting the part entirely, for a new Kirk to be waiting in the wings to take over command of the Enterprise when Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) meets his grisly fate — as seen in the TOS episodes “The Menagerie, Parts I and II.” Kirk would take over command of the Enterprise from Pike in 2265.
While some of the talk may be wishful thinking among fans, who would like to see Kirk return to the slate of Trek shows. It’s only fair since they brought back Picard and Janeway (in Star Trek: Prodigy); why not bring back the baddest of them all?
Thanks to a Discovery tie-in novel called Die Standing, Kirk is mentioned a few times because Philippa Georgiou served with Starfleet personnel who worked with Kirk on the U.S.S. Farragut. After an accident on the ship, Kirk was sent back to Earth to recover. In theory, Kirk could serve with other Starfleet members who may be stationed aboard the Enterprise. Could Pike, Spock, and Number One cross paths with a Lieutenant Kirk?
Or, we might get to visit Kirk during his haughty days at Starfleet Academy, which was also another idea that people have been talking about for some time. Fans got to see Kirk beat the Kobayashi Maru test in Star Trek (2009), but there could be so much more fun for a young Kirk to have in San Francisco.
This might fit into an expanded Star Trek Universe, one that ViaccomCBS CEO Bob Bakish has been promising for some time.
"Building on Discovery & Picard, we now have 2 addtl series in production at @CBSAllAccess & @Nickelodeon, & 2 more series in development; plus, a series of Picard novels being rolled out at @simonschuster, & a highly anticipated new #StarTrek film at @ParamountPics." – BB $VIAC
— ViacomCBS (@ViacomCBS) February 20, 2020
We also got a glimpse of that with all of the social media leaks and announcements of what shows we may get to see in 2021, including Season 4 of Discovery, the first season of Prodigy, and Season 2 of both Picard and Lower Decks.
One Trek Show Per Quarter
So far, there is no conclusive evidence that any additional Trek shows are in development. Thanks to a recent interview with Trek chief Alex Kurtzman and Head of Programming for CBS Julie McNamara with Variety, we know there might be even less.
McNamara said that fans will not see a new Star Trek title until a current show finishes its run. This casts doubt on the possible Section 31 show, a Starfleet Academy show, or the mysterious Kirk show.
“We’re very careful about curating the pacing — the number of shows at any given time — and what those shows are, so that we make sure that it’s always exciting when there’s a new track show coming out,” McNamara told Variety. This equals a new Trek show per quarter.
Casting a Canadian Kirk
While it looks more unlikely — but not impossible — that we may see a new Star Trek show that is centered around the adventures of James T. Kirk if it does happen, Kurtzman and company might not have to look too hard for an actor to play the captain on a new series.
Shatner guest-starred on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Murdoch Mysteries back in 2015, playing writer Mark Twain. The show stars actor Yannick Bisson as a detective who solves mysteries in the Victorian Era. On the set, Shatner posted a photo of himself with Bisson, and it looked almost like Shatner was standing next to himself “50 years ago.”
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) May 27, 2015