Comic-Con 2015: William Shatner Brings Captain Kirk Back To Life In San Diego

William Shatner

By Jami Philbrook

Star Trek fans rejoiced in San Diego on Thursday as Comic-Con got off to a bang with none other than James T. Kirk himself, William Shatner. The iconic actor appeared in Ballroom 20 to a packed room of Trekkies and read from the upcoming Autobiography of James T. Kirk. The new fictional memoir chronicles the life of the legendary Starfleet captain, including his childhood in Iowa, his time on Tarsus IV, Starfleet Academy, rising through the ranks of Starfleet, and his incredible career as captain of the Enterprise.

Former Family Guy producer David Goldman, who is the author of the new biography, joined Shatner on the stage. Goodman began by explaining that the memoir is set for release on September 8th, which is the anniversary of the premiere of the original Star Trek series. He also showed Kirk’s Starfleet graduation photo, featuring a young William Shatner. The photo confirms that the book is an autobiography of the original Star Trek series’ James T. Kirk, and not the alternate timeline Chris Pine version.

Goodman then asked Shatner if he understands why the character of James T. Kirk has been so popular for so long. “No,’ Shatner replied. “I’ve been asked that question throughout the years and I didn’t realize the answer until I wrote a book called Get a Life. I then examined the longevity of the character and I began to understand. People turn to science fiction because they want mythology. Science Fiction has a mythological component to it in which you see what is going to happen, the writers seek to give you an answer, and that answer may pique your interest. If it does then you subscribe to it, you give it honor, and it becomes part of the mythology.”

After that, Shatner read a segment from the upcoming autobiography, which recounted Kirk’s most famous love affair. “;Hello Jim,’ she said. I met Carol Marcus at the academy where she worked as a lab assistant while finishing her doctorate in molecular biology. We had a short, passionate fling that came to an end when I graduated. Upon seeing her I was immediately sorry that it hadn’t continued. She was very attractive, blonde, and petite, which I guess was my type. In the intervening years Carol got her doctorate and was now part of a research project for Starfleet. She was warm, and caring, and our relationship reignited. I decided to work at Starfleet where I could return to Carol at the end of the day. We spent our free time together rock climbing and horseback riding. We were happy and I didn’t want it to end. ‘Will you marry me, I said.’ ‘Jim,’ she said, ‘but why?’ ‘Because I want to marry you and I want to be with you,’ I said. ‘But Jim, I can’t leave my work,’ she replied. ‘Then I will leave mine,’ I said before I meant it. ‘I’ll take a base post. I want to make this work with you and have a family,’ I said. ‘That’s what I want too,’ she said, and then kissed me.”

“I told the Captain I wanted reassignment,” Shatner continued. “He had known about my relationship with Carol and looked at me and said, he’d been expecting it. ‘Look kid,’ he said, I’m not going to talk you out of it. But you are an exceptional Starfleet officer, who I think I can rely on to protect the lives of my crew.’ ‘I’m sorry sir,’ I said, ‘I’ve made up my mind.’ I had made a commitment to Carol, but what he had said had an effect. I thought about how he relied on me to protect the crew. I had enjoyed my time with Carol, but was starting to think I had another purpose. A few weeks went by and the ship was ready for deployment. The captain asked if I had reconsidered my decision. I had. But I needed to tell Carol, hoping that she would understand. When I returned home I didn’t have a chance. She greeted me at the door, smiling. Jim, I’m pregnant, she said.”

After reading another section from the book, Shatner finished by reciting a portion from the epilogue. “I announced my retirement from Starfleet, and tomorrow they are christening a new Enterprise. I’ll be there. When I think of all the memories, I can’t help wondering, did I retire too soon? I just hope that I helped more people than I hurt.”

With that, Shatner and Goodman took some questions from the audience. They were first asked if Shatner would be recording the audio book himself. “I hadn’t considered it,” he replied. However, Goodman did add that he hopes everyone reads the book with William Shatner’s voice in his or her head.

The next question from the audience was about the rumors that Shatner might reprise his role as Kirk in the next Star Trek feature film. “What he just asked has implications,” Shatner replied. “So when J.J. Abrams was developing the new Star Trek movie, he called and asked if I would like to be in the film. I said, ‘yes, I’d like to be in the movie.’ So he said, ‘okay, but you can’t tell anyone.’ So I was coming back from LAX and a reporter said to me, ‘I heard you are going to be in the new Star Trek.’ I said, who told you that? This reporter knew more about it than I did. So now I want to know, am I in the next Star Trek movie?”

Finally, with the legendary actor still confused about possibly appearing in the next movie, he was asked how he feels about seeing Chris Pine play Captain Kirk on screen. “It’s horrible, but he’s a wonderful actor, damn it!”