William Shatner was set to reprise his James T. Kirk character in the upcoming Star Trek movie – but turned down the role because it wasn’t big enough.
Director J.J. Abrams had a cameo appearance planned for the legendary sci-fi character in a flashback sequence, but he claims Shatner refused the part because he wanted a bigger plotline for his character.
Abrams explained: “It was very tricky. 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. 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 admits he’s a little bewildered by the criticism he has received from Star Trek devotees for not finding Shatner a bigger part in his film, which will feature the actor’s sci-fi sidekick Leonard Nimoy.
He added: “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 (Shatner’s) character died on screen. Maybe a smarter group of filmmakers could have figured out how to resolve that.”
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