Whatever your opinions are of the ‘Kelvinverse’ Star Trek movies, it’s difficult to deny they raised the profile of the franchise after a shaky period. Enterprise had been a damp squib and Star Trek: Nemesis failed at the box office – leaving the beloved sci-fi franchise in a tough spot. Bringing the original crew of the USS Enterprise back played by a sexy new cast proved to be a smart decision, with their streamlined and glossy adventures spawning two sequels.
But Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, has a bone to pick with them. While he had no problem with Chris Pine playing James T. Kirk, he doesn’t think Leonard Nimoy’s ‘Spock Prime’ should have happened. In an interview with The Daily Express while promoting his new movie Senior Moment he was asked about the Kelvinverse movies and said:
“Leonard Nimoy was in some of those films, but it was totally gratuitous. They just wanted to put Spock in there and I didn’t admire that.”
This won’t come as a huge surprise to Trek fans. In 2017, it emerged that Abrams had written a part for Shatner, who turned it down, described it as “the stupidest scene I have ever heard of”, and said he’d told Nimoy that he shouldn’t have taken the job:
“When I saw Leonard in the first movie that J.J. made and he went back in time, I said to Leonard “You know you’re old when you go back in time and you’re still old! Those are gratuitous scenes!”
It’s still a controversial opinion as Nimoy’s cameos in the first two movies tie the whole ‘Kelvinverse’ concept together. One of the more interesting twists was that the reboots embraced the fact they were part of an alternative timeline and didn’t ignore the original continuity. In addition, Nimoy died soon after the second movie, making it not only his swansong as Spock, but his final performance ever.
I can see the argument for Nimoy’s cameo in Star Trek Into Darkness being worthy of criticism as he simply appears on the viewscreen to deliver some exposition about Khan. But I liked seeing him in Star Trek (2009), proving that he still had the same gravitas and sense of presence that made Spock a science-fiction icon.
Shatner went on to say that despite all he’d said, if the part were right he’d return as Kirk:
“Y’know, Star Trek is a marvellous show. How it’s lasted all these years, why it has all these iterations, I don’t know,” he says. “I spend the time speculating why Star Trek has been and is so popular. In fact, nobody really knows. So I would be delighted to be a part of Star Trek if it was something worthy. If they could come up with a way of putting a character I played in a movie where it functioned as a point in the movie [and] made the movie move along, I’d be delighted.”
That might prove tricky given that Kirk famously died in Star Trek: Generations, but I’m sure Star Trek could find a way to resurrect their most famous captain if they really wanted to.