William Shatner Doesn’t Want A Star Trek: Kirk Series And He’s Got A Good Reason

William Shatner claims he's too old, at 91, for the rigorous shooting schedule of a television series, which is why fans won't get a Captain Kirk series molded after Picard.

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

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These days, Star Trek fans have almost more content than they can handle. After Paramount+ brought the franchise back with the somewhat divisive Star Trek: Discovery, it led to more new shows, including Picard, which brought Patrick Stewart’s titular character back into this sci-fi universe for the first time since 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis. Stewart’s return had many wondering if we’d ever get a new series focusing on an older James T. Kirk, but as William Shatner explained to Rolling Stone, he’s “exhausted” from even the effort of filming a commercial or conducting interviews.

Honestly, this isn’t a very surprising answer coming from William Shatner. The man is 91 years old, so it’s difficult to imagine him returning to a role previously defined by so much physical acting. Patrick Stewart, who is only nine years younger than Shatner, is moving notably slower onscreen in Picard than he ever did on The Next Generation.

Still, it’s not hard to see why people would expect William Shatner to have enough energy to headline a brand-new television series. He constantly appears on television in commercials and shows like The Masked Singer, and he still found the time to do voicework for the animated movie Fireheart, all while riding horses on his Kentucky ranch in his spare time. If that wasn’t impressive enough, Shatner also went to space on Jeff Bezos’ private rocket.

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Patrick Stewart and William Shatner in Star Trek: Generations

However, William Shatner traveling into actual space one time doesn’t mean he wants to spend countless hours traveling into virtual space for a television show. Shatner pointed out that shooting a television show requires 14 hours a day during the week and then spending the weekend doing publicity for the show in question. Now that the veteran actor has three children and five grandchildren, it’s understandable that he’d want to spend his valuable time with them rather than “boldly going” with the franchise that made him famous.

Of course, to Star Trek fans, the elephant in the room regarding a possible William Shatner series is that we saw Captain Kirk die explicitly in Star Trek: Generations. That wacky sci-fi universe has numerous ways where he could return, ranging from transporter clones to Mirror Universe duplicates to robot replicas (notably, Picard is now canonically walking around in a replicated body). But it seems that Shatner is no longer interested in his character returning from the dead despite previously writing a series of novels where he resurrected Kirk (Trek fans have since dubbed these novels “the Shatnerverse”).

And for better or for worse, William Shatner doesn’t have to return to Star Trek for fans to get more onscreen adventures with Kirk. In the otherwise beloved new show Strange New Worlds, the showrunners made the controversial decision to recast the character of James T. Kirk for the final episode of the first season. While that understandably weirded many fans out, that was still a better way to bring the character back than using the freaky “de-aging” techniques that turned Luke Skywalker into a creepy CGI golem on The Mandalorian.