William Shatner Shares His Surprising Stance on Captain Kirk Being Resurrected By A.I.

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Summary

  • William Shatner is open to the possibility of Captain Kirk being resurrected by A.I. after his passing, as long as his family benefits from it.
  • The use of A.I. and deepfake technology in entertainment is a topic of debate and controversy in the industry.
  • Shatner’s viewpoint on AI recreations of Captain Kirk reflects the complex and ongoing conversation surrounding technology in the entertainment industry.


William Shatner‘s stance on A.I. and the legacy of Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek may be surprising to some, considering the current arguments over the use of technology to resurrect deceased actors. At 92 years old, Shatner continues to be an active presence in the industry, whether appearing at fan events, providing his voice projects such as Netflix’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation or in his documentary William Shatner: You Can Call Me Bill. When it comes to what happens to his most famous creation in the future, though, the actor doesn’t have any objections to A.I. taking the reins.

In a recent interview with Comicbook.com, Shatner offered a conditional acceptance to the possibility of Captain Kirk being resurrected by computer graphics in years to come, and it essentially comes down to his family being able to benefit from it. Laying down his reasoning, Shatner said:

It’s an interesting question… The strike was all about getting permission to do that. And so if I’m alive, I don’t want A.I. to do that, but if I’m dead, and they ask my family, and they’re going to pay my family very well to sound like me, I would advise them to say yes.

The debate over the use of AI and deepfakes is one that is certainly not new, but the subject became one of the key points of the recent strikes in Hollywood as A.I. is incorporated into the workings of the industry on a regular basis. The wider conversation about digital rights, consent, and the ethical use of an actor’s digital likeness draws a difference in opinion from almost everyone, and Shatner’s viewpoint is just one of those.

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Star Trek Has Boldly Gone into A.I. Territory Before

Shatner and Nimoy in Star Trek II
Paramount Pictures

The use of A.I. and deepfake technology in entertainment has already seen practical applications, and the Star Trek franchise has already stepping into that arena by recreating Leonard Nimoy’s Spock in Regeneration for the Roddenberry Archives. The project was revealed early in 2023, when Shatner appeared in the documentary William Shatner: Reflections on the End of an Era, which put the former Enterprise captain back on the bridge of the iconic spaceship.

Star trek
Star trek

Release Date
September 8, 1966

Seasons
3

Franchise
Star Trek

The video sees Shatner mentioning how we “live in science fiction” and reminiscing about how he was at one time side-lined due to his age. It was clear that Shatner had ideas of what A.I. is capable of, and to emphasize this point, that video ended with the appearance of Ambassador Spock, completely rendered in CGI to bring the late Leonard Nimoy back to life and create a scene that appeared in Shatner’s novel, Star Trek: The Return.

Shatner’s openness to A.I. recreations of Captain Kirk after his passing is just another indication of how the topic of technology use in the entertainment industry is not a black and white scenario. As just one side of the conversation, the debate is one that is likely to continue for some time to come.

Star Trek: The Original Series is available to stream on Paramount+.

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