Yesterday, William Shatner got to leave Earth for real. His much-hyped trip aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket made the 91-year-old Shatner the oldest person to go into space. Despite some nerves, it sounds as if the trip was worth it, with his comments afterward painting a vivid picture:
“I hope I never recover from this. I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened. It’s extraordinary, extraordinary. It’s so much larger than me and life. It hasn’t got anything to do with the little green men and the blue orb. It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death. To see the blue color whip by you, and now you’re staring into blackness … everybody in the world needs to do this. Everybody in the world needs to see this.”
Clearly, the impressively spry Shatner still has some juice in the tank. Beyond this trip, he’s still a busy working actor after 70 years in front of the camera, with multiple films and TV shows in various stages of production. But he’ll never quite be able to leave Star Trek behind.
Many interviewers press Shatner on whether he’d return to the franchise, and the answer is usually a flat no. Shatner turned down a cameo in the J.J. Abrams films and has poured cold water on playing Kirk again. But in a new interview with Inverse it sounds like the door is still just about open:
“If they wrote an interesting role and they could explain the 55-year difference I might consider it, but at the moment, I’m really busy and Star Trek is in my past.”
Bringing Kirk back isn’t exactly simple, as he died at the end of Star Trek: Generations when a bridge fell on him while fighting Malcolm McDowell’s villainous Soren. He was buried by Jean-Luc Picard in a lonely grave and while it might not have been the bombastic death many assumed Kirk would have, at least he went out like a hero.
This doesn’t mean that he’s completely divorcing himself from Star Trek altogether. He’s a regular fixture on the convention circuit, commanding a decent price for his autograph and happy to engage in speaking appearances to answer fans’ questions.
So c’mon Star Trek writers, if William Shatner can be convinced to take a trip to space, I’m sure someone can write a suitable swansong for Kirk. After all, he’s kicking ass right now but won’t be around forever.