Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kirk Out

JJ Abrams' Star Trek reboot hit DVD last Tuesday, and I was gladdened to see that it held up just as well on the small(er) screen as it did on the big. Now that the final box office tally has officially crowned it king of the movie Treks, talk has inevitably shifted to the sequel, and I'm sure we'll have plenty of grist between now and the planned summer '012 release of Star Trek 2 (or 12, if you want to get technical).

Still, one piece of the puzzle that's only been hinted at up 'till now in various interviews from various parties is the role Team Abrams had planned for once and former Captain Kirk William Shatner. Now the scene written for the Boston Legal Emmy winner has emerged online, and is pasted below. This takes place near the end of the film, during the scene where OG Spock (Leonard Nimoy) meets Spock 2.0 (Zachary Quinto) for the first time. Given what was actually made, I suppose the usual spoiler warnings should be considered in effect. Consider yourself duly warned:
Then I ask that you do yourself a
favor... put away logic, and do what
feels right. The world you've inherited
lives in the shadow of incalculable
devastation... but there's no reason you
must face it alone.
And from around his neck, he removes the PENDANT that
until now, we've only caught glimpses of. Places it on the table
beside his younger self. The feeling in his eyes is profound...
This was a gift to me. Representing...
a dream. One we were unable to fulfill.
The way you can now.
And moves to the door. Stops. Offers the VULCAN SALUTE:
As my customary farewell would appear
oddly self serving, I will simply say...
good luck.
Their eyes hold. Spock turns, disappearing into the corridor.
Young Spock stares at the empty doorway a beat, his mind a
jumble of thoughts. Looks to the pendant... and realizes it's a
HOLO-EMITTER. After considering a beat, he hits an activation
button and a MOVING HOLOGRAPHIC MESSAGE materializes before him:

wry, confident -- and SINGING:
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you...
(stops, grins)
I know I know, it's illogical to
celebrate something you had nothing to do
with, but I haven't had the chance to
congratulate you on your appointment to
the ambassadorship so I thought I'd seize
the occasion... Bravo, Spock -- they tell
me your first mission may take you away
for awhile, so I'll be the first to wish
you luck... and to say...
(beat, emotional)
I miss you, old friend.
... and we're PUSHING IN on Young Spock, taking in the image
of Kirk's future self, the message, but above all -- the clear,
unquestionable friendship these two men had...


As Spock Prime walks off down the corridor, he passes right by
a man conferring with a nurse -- the man pauses, turns... it's
SAREK. Suddenly overcome by a feeling that the stranger who's
just passed him is... oddly familiar.
I suppose I'd always imagined us...
outgrowing Starfleet together. Watching
life swing us into our Emeritus years...

MUSIC BUILDING -- glass walls reveal THE ENTERPRISE at dock,
UTILITY CRAFTS floating around it, repairing. Standing at
attention in rows, THE ENTERPRISE CREW -- over four hundred
of them wearing DRESS UNIFORMS -- TRACK DOWN the faces, all proud:
I look around at the new cadets now and
can't help thinking... has it really been
so long? Wasn't it only yesterday we
stepped onto the Enterprise as boys?
That I had to prove to the crew I
deserved command... and their respect?
And we STOP ON YOUNG KIRK. Composed, focused, proud. A
man. And to every fan's delight, finally wearing his YELLOW
SHIRT. The FEDERATION COMMANDANT stands at a podium:
This assembly calls Captain James
Tiberius Kirk...
Kirk breaks from formation, pivots, marches down the hangar
-- past UHURA... SULU... CHEKOV... SCOTTY. All Beaming.
Notably absent, is Spock. Kirk ascends the stairs, snaps to attention:
Your inspirational valor and supreme
dedication to your comrades are in
keeping with the highest traditions of
service and reflect utmost credit to
yourself, your crew, and the Federation.
By Starfleet Order 28455, you are hereby
directed to report to Commanding Officer,
USS Enterprise, for duty as his relief.
Kirk turns. Walks to... PIKE. In a wheelchair now, wearing an
ADMIRAL'S UNIFORM. Overnight, his hair's turned totally grey --
but despite his trauma, his pride's overwhelming. They SALUTE
each other:
I relieve you, Sir.
... I am relieved.
He opens a BOX in his lap -- glorious in repose, a MEDAL:
And as Fleet Admiral, for your... unique
solution to the Kobayashi Maru, it's my
honor to award you with a commendation
for original thinking.
Pike containing a smirk, pins the medal to Kirk's chest...
(a touch choked)
Congratulations, Captain.
Thank you, Sir.
Kirk turns to the crowd. Eyes shining. WILD APPLAUSE. OUR
MUSIC SOARS. Bones leans in to Sulu, rolling his eyes:
... Same ship, different day.
As Kirk rejoins his crew for hugs and congratulations, we go to
the BACK of the hangar... SPOCK PRIME. Watching. Moved
beyond words. He turns and leaves them to it... as he goes...
I know what you'd say -- `It's their turn
now, Jim...' And of course you're
right... but it got me thinking:

Our montage comes full circle as we END on Kirk's transmission:
Who's to say we can't go one more round?
By the last tally, only twenty five
percent of the galaxy's been chartered...
I'd call that negligent. Criminal even --
an invitation.
You once said being a starship captain
was my first, best destiny... if that's
true, then yours is to be by my side. If
there's any true logic to the universe...
we'll end up on that bridge again
Stops, grins. Because this is the part he needs to say most...
Admit it, Spock. For people like us, the
journey itself... is home.
Young Spock's face. Lost in feelings that flood through him.
The dialogue was probably a draft or two from being entirely screenworthy, but it still makes for interesting reading, providing a fascinating scenario for what might have been. I'm not sure where exactly this "fits" with the extant timeline for Kirk, but nevertheless, as envisioned by scenarists Bob Orci and Alex Kurzman, Shatner's proposed drop-in could (emphasis on could), have given another coda to Trek's original incarnation, and lent the new model a further whiff of legitimacy.

I don't know if it got as far as actually presenting the pages to Shatner, but the actor did himself two great disservices which, taken together, may have conspired to make his inclusion in this Trek impractical. First, he'd allowed the franchise's former keepers to drop a bridge on the good captain fifteen years ago in Star Trek Generations, then he made sure to say as often as possible that he'd accept only a substantive role and not be relegated to a mere cameo (lending credence to the old trope about there being no small parts, only small actors).

Though rumors are still swirling about Shatner's possible inclusion in the next movie go-round, I have to say that I think the moment has passed. What might have (potentially) seemed like an organic inclusion this time would seem gimmicky and, frankly, unnecessary, the next. But hey, I'm happy to be proven wrong. And if anyone has earned that right, it's these guys.


Mahvash said...

Our English professor showed us a couple episodes, one from the original and one from the latest series and to some extent I found them unbearably annoying. Captain Kirk is like the idealized hero type and Spock is his side-kick even though its often evident he's got the brains of the lot.

I'm not overly fond of sci-fi but it was an okay series.

Zaki said...

Hey, good to see you here!

As with any cultural artifact, the original Trek needs to be weighed against the times in which it emerged. In that sense, the show was revolutionary in many ways.

Andrew Wood said...

"... Same ship, different day." Love that line.