Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
William Shatner, known worldwide (and perhaps beyond) as the man who played Captain James T. Kirk in the original "Star Trek" series and in seven feature films, was recently asked about how he feels about "Star Trek" director J.J. Abrams now also taking the captain's chair on "Star Wars." Shatner is not as enthusiastic as others have been when it comes to Abrams pulling double duty on arguably the two biggest sci-fi franchises of all time.
"He's being a pig," Shatner said during an interview with Movie Fanatic. "He's collecting the two franchises and holding them close to his vest. He's probably the most talented director of that ilk that we have but he's gone too far this time."
By "this time," Shatner is probably referring to his first run-in with Abrams, which involved the possibility of the elder Kirk making some sort of appearance in the 2009 "Star Trek" reboot. That obviously didn't happen, though -- at least according to Abrams -- not for lack of trying.
"We actually had written a scene with him in it that was a flashback kind of thing, but the truth is, it didn't quite feel right," said Abrams in a 2008 interview with AMC. "The bigger thing was that he was very vocal that he didn't want to do a cameo. We tried desperately to put him in the movie, but he was making it very clear that he wanted the movie to focus on him significantly, which, frankly, he deserves."
Abrams also pointed out that while the new "Trek" was a reboot of the series, it was tied to years of established "Trek" mythology and canon ... one of the biggest events of which is the elder Kirk's death in "Star Trek: Generations" (1994).
"The truth is, the story that we were telling required a certain adherence to the 'Trek' canon and consistency of storytelling. It's funny -- a lot of the people who were proclaiming that he must be in this movie were the same people saying it must adhere to canon. Well, his character died on screen. Maybe a smarter group of filmmakers could have figured out how to resolve that."
The humbleness on display in that last sentence might be what ultimately got Abrams on the good side of the notoriously egotistical Shatner. In fact, the former Enterprise captain considers the young filmmaker to be a pal ... though perhaps one in need of some mentoring and sage sci-fi wisdom.
"I think of him as a buddy of mine; I've taken him out for sushi," said Shatner in his interview with Movie Fanatic. "I think it's time for J.J. and I to have another sushi and let me put him straight on two of the largest franchises ... and not employing me in either one of them I think is just foolhardy."
We'll see if that last statement prompts any new casting rumors. William Shatner in a "Star Wars" movie? Could the universe handle such a meta flourish without going all topsy turvy (or at least needing a humpback whale to set everything straight again)?
"Star Trek Into Darkness" opens May 17. "Star Wars: Episode VII" will open some day.
Watch the teaser trailer for 'Star Trek Into Darkness':
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