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William Shatner says he would consider ‘Star Trek’ return

93-year-old says there would have to be a genuine reason for Captain Kirk to come back
At 93, William Shatner would entertain boldly going where no man has gone before — again. Shatner arrives for the world premiere of “You Can Call Me Bill” during the South by Southwest Film & TV Festival, in Austin, Texas, Thursday, March 16, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Invision, Jack Plunkett

At 93, William Shatner would entertain boldly going where no man has gone before — again.

The Montreal-born actor, famed for his portrayal of Captain Kirk in “Star Trek,” says he is open to reprising the iconic role in the sci-fi franchise as long as the storytelling is stellar.

“It’s an intriguing idea,” Shatner says on a video call while promoting his new documentary “You Can Call Me Bill,” which drops digitally and on video-on-demand Tuesday.

“It’s almost impossible but it was a great role and so well-written and if there were a reason to be there not just to make a cameo appearance, but if there were a genuine reason for the character appearing, I might consider it.”

Shatner’s last appearance in the franchise was in the 1994 film “Star Trek Generations,” where Captain Kirk is killed off. He suggests he could play a younger version of the Starship Enterprise captain as he’s recently signed on to be the spokesperson for Otoy, a company specializing in technology that “takes years off of your face, so that in a film you can look 10, 20, 30, 50 years younger than you are.”

He muses on a scenario where Kirk is resurrected.

“A company that wants to freeze my body and my brain for the future might be a way of going about it,” he says in a recent call from Los Angeles.

“‘We’ve got Captain Kirk’s brain frozen here.’ There’s a scenario. ‘Let’s see if we can bring back a little bit of this, a little salt, a little pepper. Oh, look at that. Here comes Captain Kirk!’”

“You Can Call Me Bill,” directed by Alexandre O. Phillippe, offers a look back at Shatner’s body of work — from his “Star Trek” TV show and films to TV series including “Boston Legal” and “T.J. Hooker” — and follows his trip to outer space aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin shuttle in 2021. It also features the actor’s musings on life, death and nature.

“Over the years, people have come to me and said, ‘Let’s make a biographical film,” Shatner says.

“I’d say, ‘Oh no, I don’t want to do that.’ A biographical film sort of signifies the end. Cut! And then you die.”

But Shatner says he was sold on the idea when the doc’s producers Legion M approached him with the idea of crowdfunding the film.

The self-described “fan-owned” company allows fans to own a financial share in the film and any profits it generates. “You Can Call Me Bill” raised US$750,000 in four days.

The actor also wanted to “leave some part of a truth” about him for his children and grandchildren after he dies.

Shatner says he learned a great deal about himself while making the film but on the other hand, “I don’t know what ‘know thyself’ means.”

Even at 93, he says he doesn’t believe he has much wisdom to offer.

“That’s a mystique that has no basis in truth: as you get older, you get wiser. If you’re dumb as a young man, you’re dumb as an old man. You’re a dumb old man is what you are. It doesn’t necessarily mean time foists wisdom on you. What it does put upon you is how quickly life is over. That’s for certain.”

Well aware of his fleeting mortality, Shatner is making the most of the time he has left. He’s releasing a children’s album, “Where Will The Animals Sleep? Songs For Kids & Other Living Things” later this month and will join a cruise to Antarctica with astronaut Scott Kelly and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in December.

He’s also joined several “companies of the future,” as a spokesperson for some and in the background for others, including one that develops “technology like the medical device on ‘Star Trek,’ so it’s the size of a pack of cards and can tell you whether you have a disease or not,” and one “that will take your DNA, make an artificial gem out of it and give you two: one that you keep and one that goes into a box that will be released on the moon.”

“Life is so short, you’ve got to do something now. Go to that place, know that person, read that book now!” he says.

“That’s what I think old age (teaches you). But then, by the time you learn that, you’re dying. You don’t have any time. That’s right. You’re dead.”

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Alex Nino Gheciu, The Canadian Press