William Shatner Doesn't Think He Could Take A Kirk Series Like Star Trek: Picard

"Star Trek: Picard" catches up with the titular captain of the Enterprise-D, several decades after the events of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Now on its third season, "Picard" stars an 82-year-old Patrick Stewart and a decidedly retired admiral, currently reconnecting with his fellow "NextGen" castmates. The previous two seasons of "Picard" were violent and action-packed, surrounding the main character with a group of young fighters and weapons handlers who are capable of doling out mayhem. Picard himself doesn't get involved in the action because, well, he's over 100 years old. It has been previously announced that the third season of "Picard" will be its last, possibly because Stewart, being 82, would like to step away from the part. 

Given the glut of new "Star Trek" on Paramount+, and how widespread a timeline the shows all cover, it seems possible for any and every character to be brought back into the franchise at any minute. The newest series, "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds," takes place immediately prior to the original series, while the latest seasons of "Star Trek: Discovery" take place nearly a millennium beyond. In between, Trekkies have already seen the return of Capt. Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), Spock (Ethan Peck), Quark (Armin Shimerman), Major Kira (Nana Visitor), and any number of others. 

Indeed, "Strange New Worlds" saw the return of Captain Kirk, now played by Paul Wesley. This might whet the appetite to see the return of one William Shatner in the role he made famous back in 1966. 

Those holding out hope, though, may be dismayed to learn that Shatner, 91, has no intention of returning. In a 2020 interview with Rolling Stone, Shatner — while admiring Stewart's tenacity — stated that he was simply too tired to handle an average TV shooting schedule. 

'I'm exhausted'

For 91, William Shatner is remarkably spry. He recently traveled into space on Jeff Bezos' personal rocket, acted in an animated film called "Fireheart," and performed on "The Masked Singer." He regularly appears on TV commercials, and still rides horses on his ranch in Versailles, Kentucky. He may be active, but the thought of working day-long shifts on a TV series sounds overwhelming to the actor. In brief, there are just other things he'd rather be doing than playing James T. Kirk again. He said: 

"I filmed a commercial yesterday and it took 12 hours [...] I got home and fell into bed. I got up this morning to do these interviews and I'm exhausted. I don't know what Patrick [Stewart] is going to do to film the way a series takes it out of you. A series is 14 hours a day and then on the weekend, you're doing publicity. It's all your time. I'm having a good time and I have time to ride my horses and pay attention to my family, so I'd never do another series like that."

Shatner has three children and five grandchildren. He has long been a passionate equestrian. His hands are plenty full. Plus, his career has already stretched for decades, including acting, directing, singing, TV and films, voicework, and writing "TekWar" novels. Perhaps, in his 90s, he feels there is no mountain left to climb. Merely living is a triumph unto itself. "I just want to keep breathing," he said. "I'm going to celebrate breathing." 

Even the most passionate Trekkie can appreciate that Shatner doesn't want to keep coming back. Instead, we too should celebrate the man's continued breathing. If the urge should strike, he'd be welcome back. If not, enjoy the morning's ride, Mr. Shatner.