Here's how William Shatner passed the torch to the new Capt. Kirk
Shatner took to Twitter to share his feelings.
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.