Brannon Braga Talks About The Enterprise Kirk Cameo That Almost Happened

By David Wharton | Published

Whether living, dead, or resurrected in some complicated manner, James Tiberius Kirk will always be one of the cornerstones of Star Trek‘s legacy, the Platonic ideal by which all other characters in the universe are measured against. And while characters from the original series such as McCoy and Scotty put in cameos on The Next Generation, Kirk didn’t stride into the Next Gen timeline until the underwhelming Star Trek: Generations. Despite leaving him with a thoroughly disappointing death in that movie, Kirk almost made one more triumphant return into televised Trek. The producers of Enterprise wanted the character to show up on that prequel series…and they wanted Shatner to play him.

Given that Enterprise was set decades before even the Original Series, the question is how the show’s writers planned to pull it off. In an interview with Comic Book Resources, former Trek executive producer Brannon Braga reminisced about the idea that, unfortunately, never came to fruition:

The only crossover that was exciting was there was a brief time when we were going to put Captain Kirk on ‘Enterprise,’ and we even met with William Shatner, but it just never happened. We had some story concocted about why Kirk was there and how he got there. I don’t remember. I think Shatner had a pitch. It was actually going to be a pretty cool two-part episode. I don’t know exactly what happened. It might have been that we couldn’t make a deal with Shatner or something like that.

While Enterprise never got its Kirk episodes, it did manage to bring in characters from The Next Generation. In the Enterprise finale, “These Are the Voyages…” Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis appeared as Riker and Troi, using the holodeck to relive the final mission of the original Enterprise. Presumably the Kirk appearance would have resorted to wormholes or time travel or alternate dimensions or some sort of simultaneous cross-system malfunction of the transporter and Archer’s personal toilet. Alas, it could have been…fun.

While Enterprise‘s Kirk plans never played out, Kirk actually has been resurrected on the printer page. Beginning in 1995, Shatner teamed with frequent Trek writers Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens with a series of novels dubbed “the Shatnerverse.” They saw Kirk resurrected by the Borg and carrying on with further adventures in the years after Generations.