William Shatner Giving Up Captain Kirk To AI?

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

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Last summer, Hollywood was effectively shut down for months, largely over whether studios were allowed to use AI to replicate an actor’s image. SAG-AFTRA agreed to stop the strike after an agreement was made that studios had to obtain permission and offer compensation to use AI to recreate an actor’s image. While it’s still a controversial topic, actor William Shatner is on board, saying that, aside from a few stipulations, Hollywood can continue using his image to bring his version of Captain Kirk back to the screen. 

William Shatner Supports An AI Kirk

While promoting his attendance at the upcoming Mega-Con in Orlando on February 3, William Shatner delved into the delicate topic of AI and shed some light on his nuanced stance. When asked if he’d be willing to allow AI to bring back his iconic Captain Kirk, Shatner remarked, “It’s an interesting question. The strike was all about getting permission to do that.”

The Captain Kirk actor said that while he didn’t want AI to regenerate his image while he was alive, he would advise his family to agree to an AI deal after he died. “If I’m dead and they ask my family and they’re going to pay my family very well to sound like me, I would advise them to say yes,” William Shatner said.

AI Conquers Death

The use of AI in entertainment has emerged as a contentious issue, particularly regarding its potential to resurrect performances from departed actors. AI can potentially preserve past actors’ artistic contributions in new and innovative ways. This is clearly how William Shatner sees the technology, as it has the potential to keep Captain Kirk’s story alive and evolving. 

The Ethical Questions Around AI

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However, others argue that employing AI to resurrect performances from departed actors raises ethical and authenticity concerns. The technology could potentially distort the artistic integrity of the original performances and diminish the value of human creativity and expression in the entertainment industry. Would Captain Kirk hold as much value to an audience if there wasn’t someone like William Shatner developing the character?

William Shatner Wants To Be Remembered

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There’s another reason why William Shatner seems so keen to allow AI to replicate Captain Kirk. The actor has been actively working to preserve his cultural footprint and recently released a documentary of his life called You Can Call Me Bill. Shatner aims to secure a lasting narrative of his life and contributions with this documentary.

William Shatner Isn’t Getting Younger

At 92 years old, William Shatner knows that there isn’t much life left in him. When asked why he made his documentary, the Captain Kirk actor mentioned how he has turned down dozens of documentary opportunities. However, now that he’s near the end, he sees the documentary as a way to reach out from beyond the grave. 

AI Kirk Would Keep The Legacy Alive

Similar to the documentary, an AI version of William Shatner’s Captain Kirk would be another way for the actor to continue his legacy. “There is no legacy. Statues are torn down. Graveyards are ransacked. Headstones are knocked over. No one remembers anyone,” the actor recalled saying during a speech at a Red Cross fundraiser. Perhaps AI is one way to keep the memory alive long after the actor the actor it’s based on has gone.

Source: Comicbook