Here's how William Shatner passed the torch to the new Capt. Kirk

Shatner took to Twitter to share his feelings.

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Sometimes, characters are forever tied to the actors who portray them. For many of us, Tarzan can only be Johnny Weissmuller, just like Luke Skywalker can only ever be Mark Hamill. These roles are so fully embodied by the actors who brought them to life that they become linked in our minds. Archie Bunker can only ever have one face, and it belongs to Carroll O'Connor. 

Many folks thought Captain Kirk could only ever be William Shatner, and many still feel that way. But since 2009, Kirk has gotten a few makeovers. First, there was Star Trek, the cinematic reboot of the characters featured in The Original Series. That movie and its sequels saw Chris Pine in the iconic yellow shirt, first earning and then sitting atop the Enterprise's captain chair. While there's pushback any time a classic character is revisited, Pine brought a fresh take to the character. Rather than deliver a Shatner impression, Pine made the role his own, and in doing so, created a charismatic approach that brought Kirk into a new era.

That wasn't the only time Kirk got a fresh coat of paint, though. Since 2022, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds has continued the tradition of the Enterprise exploring the depths of space, charting a course where no man has gone before. At the helm is Captain Christopher Pike, as Strange New Worlds takes place six years before the beginning of Star Trek: The Original Series.

A surprise appearance in the season one finale saw Paul Wesley, the former star of Vampire Diaries, as Captain James Tiberius Kirk. Wesley returned in season two, giving us more of classic Kirk time-travel antics, whirlwind romances and even his first meeting with Spock. 

William Shatner gave his blessing to the casting decision. After the decision to cast Wesley was announced, the former Captain Kirk took to Twitter to share his thoughts. Shatner tweeted to the new Kirk: "Keep my ship and crew safe, Captain! Congratulations!"

 While Wesley assumes the helm, fans can rest assured that they'll always be able to revisit Shatner's Kirk in episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series. There's just nothing like the classics.

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10 Comments

Avie 8 months ago
Stop writing "only ever." ONLY is enough.
teethclenched 8 months ago
I'm half-smiling here, but let us not forget John Belushi in the SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE sketch. He reportedly really wanted to do justice to Shatner's portrayal and I think he did it.
kb7rky 8 months ago
Let's not forget two iconic fan film favorites:

Star Trek: New Voyages/Phase II (with James Cawley as Capt. Kirk)

Star Trek Continues (with Vic Mignogna as Capt. Kirk)

We sometimes forget we're just overgrown kids playing Star Trek at times...but James and Vic, both, went one step further, and *made* Star Trek.
Trekkie1969 kb7rky 8 months ago
I love your attitude. 🙂🙂
kb7rky Trekkie1969 8 months ago
What can I say? I'm a big Trek fan ;)

I've yet to meet James Cawley (that's on my list...I am friends with one of the people who worked with him on his fan series), and I have met Vic, and yes, I did tell him (Vic) that "we're all big kids" thing. He said, "Thank you, Doug! I appreciate that!"
Runeshaper 8 months ago
Shatner, Pine, and Wesley are all FANTASTIC actors! Happy that they had these roles bestowed upon them.
Trekkie1969 Runeshaper 8 months ago
Pine channeled Kirk so well without doing a Shatner impression (and Bill is such a good actor that he and Kirk are different enough to pull that off) and while I didn't like Wesley's portrayal at first, he has rapidly grown on me. He's developing that Kirk charm. 🙂
Runeshaper Trekkie1969 8 months ago
That's cool, man! I really liked Wesley in Vampire Diaries. I'm glad that he grew on you!
LoveMETV22 8 months ago
LOL! Love the :" On Now" 19 women Captain Kirk kissed on Star Trek", that plays, very creative video.
Good article though. It's nice to hear Shatner shared his blessing for the franchise. Enjoy some of the new episodes/sequels, however enjoy the original series the most.

texasluva 8 months ago
Yes. There is nothing like the Classics. We all love to go back and visit our pasts. Beam us Back to the Future, we won't mess up the time-line.
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