William Shatner Is Ready to Return to 'Star Trek' as an Aged Captain Kirk

William Shatner - H 2015
"I would play an old Captain Kirk, absolutely," he tells THR's 'Awards Chatter' podcast.

Rumors about William Shatner returning to the 23rd Century in this summer's Star Trek Beyond may have turned out to be false, but the actor is more than willing to reprise his role as the captain of the USS Enterprise in a future incarnation of the franchise if the story is worthwhile, he's revealed.

Talking to The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg on the latest episode of the Awards Chatter podcast, Shatner said that even his fictional death in 1994's Star Trek: Generations couldn't keep him from coming back if a good idea presented itself.

"When we finished our movies — the six movies I made — we were putting Kirk into glasses, graying hair, a little old. I wrote a series of novels [in which] they allowed me to tell my story of Captain Kirk. So in a series of Star Trek novels, half a dozen of them, I — taking from my own life, of life and death and love and loss — I created this whole world of Star Trek for Captain Kirk," he said. (Starting with 1995's Star Trek: The Ashes of Eden, the Shatner co-authored Kirk books brought the character back to life in the era of Star Trek: The Next Generation.) "I would have loved to have done them [as movies]," he said.

Although he met with Star Trek executive producer J.J. Abrams to discuss an appearance in 2009's franchise reboot, it ended up not happening. Shatner asked, "How would they handle it, in science-fiction terms? I'm older, I'm heavier, I'm — all the problems of age. So what did Captain Kirk do? Die and age? Doesn't sound science-fiction-y enough. Or maybe you make him really old. I don't know. It seems to have beggared Abrams' imagination."

That doesn't mean he's not prepared for a return if and when someone figures it out, however.

"I would play an old Captain Kirk, absolutely," he said. "You would have [to have] an interesting character, not a cameo, like, 'Here I am, aren't I interesting?' It's the ongoing world; it's the world within science-fiction. Yes, you age within the universe. Time goes on — but time bends, as well. There's so many things you could do."

Shatner talks about his experience making the original Trek — which debuted 50 years ago this September — and more during the podcast, including attempting to settle a long-term fan argument. "Is Star Wars better than Star Trek, who the hell cares?" he joked. "They're both entertaining vehicles and they're both well done."

Listen to the episode below: