Star Trek Legend William Shatner Celebrates His 89th Birthday Today

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Fans may debate who the best ever captain in Star Trek history is, but there’s one who deserves all the credit for being the franchise’s first ever leading man and helping make it the bastion of pop culture it is today: William Shatner AKA Captain James Tiberius Kirk. And this Sunday, March 22nd, marks the legendary Canadian actor’s 89th birthday, so let’s all wish him many happy returns.

Shatner was already a successful stage and screen actor before he landed the part of Kirk in what we now call The Original Series in 1966. The show didn’t initially turn him into a household name, though, as TOS was by no means a hit during its lifespan, which ended after three seasons in 1969. It was only thanks to reruns during the 70s that Trek gained its beloved status.

In response to its slow-burning popularity, Shatner and the rest of TOS cast returned for a series of theatrical movies starting with 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture and concluding with 1994’s Star Trek: Generations. This saw Kirk officially pass the torch onto Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard, with the original Enterprise captain meeting his tragic, heroic end. To date, that’s the last time Shatner played the role.

He’s remained a frequent face on TV and films, though, having never officially retired. Nowadays, he also has an active presence on social media. And to mark his birthday, Shatner shared the following message, thanking his friends and fans for all the birthday wishes and letting us know how he’s spending his day, despite the current health crisis.

The star is frequently asked if he would ever return to Star Trek once more, especially given the currently airing Picard series. It seems he couldn’t be swayed to do a full show at this stage, but he appears open to popping by for a cameo maybe, if a logical, storytelling reason could be found to explain his comeback.

Happy birthday, Captain!

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