Why didn't William Shatner appear in Star Trek the Next Generation?

I never thought this day would come, but I need help from ‘trekkies’.
I notice that several of the original series actors appeared in the Next Generation series.


But why not Kirk? He would be the biggest star. Was this by happenstance, or on the part of the producers? Or by Shatner himself?

For that matter, did the original series cast want to reappear on the next generation much at all? Or were they prevented by the producers in order to keep up ratings? (Which wouldn’t make much sense since the return of Spock episode was the highest rated one in the series).

As a secondary question, Leonard Nimoy declined to appear in the Star Trek : Generations motion picture . There was no explanation on the wikipedia page; does anyone know the reason? Wife won’t let him?

James T Kirk was technically a human, and by the 24th Century would have been dead.

All the other appearances by Original Series characters were by virtue of one-off clever tricks like extreme age, travelling through time, or flashbacks. After all, Kirk’s appearance in Generations was predicated on him being trapped in The Nexus.

Add also longevous alien species, e.g. Spock and Sarek. The pilot appearance of Dr. McCoy as age 137 gives out a slight vibe of the guy simply refusing to die just to be contrary (“What’s so remarkable about not having died?”). And what good would it have been to show us 125-year-old Kirk trying to chew on the scenery?

All the appearances of the original crew in TNG over seven seasons: One walk-on scene by Kelley in the pilot as an ancient elder. One guest-star episode by Doohan via trekhnobabble. One guest-star episode and one scene by Mark Lenard as a bicentennial (and terminal) Sarek. Two guest-star episodes by Nimoy.
Nimoy actually is the member of the old crew that best gets along with Shatner, but putting the both of them in the same NG movie would be… a bit too much, IMO. It’s supposed to BE about The **Next **Generation, any visits from the Old should be few and far between.

To paraphrase what Nimoy said at a Trek convention I went to “I simply felt that it didn’t matter whether or not the lines were uttered by Spock or by some other character, so I declined.”

To some extent, this makes sense. You could have replaced Kirk in Generations with Sulu or Chekov or anyone else from TOS with minimal script rewriting. Compare that to the new Star Trek, where the specific character was indeed necessary to the script.

Nimoy flat out said in I Am Spock that they did divide Spock’s lines between Scott and Chekov without changing them.

Kirk (Shatner) did appear in one episode. I think it was TNG. They did a time travel episode back to the day Kirk dealt with the Tribbles. Several of the future crew came on board the old enterprise for a mission.

Anyhow, they used old footage and cleverly used new footage to get the future crew on the old Enterprise.

Help me out, was that TNG, DS9, or Voyager? My memory is falling short.

DS9, “Trials and Tribble-ations”. Indeed, Kirk appeared via old footage.

Thanks, that would have kept me up most of the night trying to remember. :wink:

I’m pretty sure Shatner didn’t appear on TNG because (in his mind) he was a movie star. They were still making the Trek movies when TNG aired. Plus, he probably wanted too much $$$.

I really hated the way he ended up in that movie. He deserved something better than that…like evacuating everyone but himself and ramming his Enterprise into a Borg cube to save the galaxy one last time or other suitably glorious death.

Fuck that noble suicide crap. Kirk dies taking the enemy with him, sure, but only after some bold gutsy bluff falls through.

Star Trek has had exactly one decent death in all its incarnations and that death would be Spock from the Wrath of Khan. The next runner up would be the death of Tasha Yar from TNG. I nominate Tasha’s death because it was so quick, sudden, and completely unexpected that a main character would die such a seemingly senseless death. Of course they screwed it up by inviting Tasha back in the form of a time traveling episode and then her half-Romulan daughter. <sigh>

Granted, I suppose you could make the same argument for Spock in that they brought him back. However this was before Trek established a pattern for killing off characters and bringing them back in some way, shape, or form. Spock, Tasha, Dax, and even Data have managed to die and yet not die at the same time. It’s maddening.

May be off topic, but I would bet that the real world reason was that William Shatner was a pompous ass, and made it too difficult for the producers/script-writers to accommodate his demands.

It’s difficult to say with Shatner, I think. Yes, he was doing ST movies while TNG was on the air, but it’s not as though he thought he was above television. He did do TJ Hooker from '82-'86, and well, look at the man’s IMDB. I don’t think Shatner has ever considered any job below him–not if he’s being paid. So it could have been a prima donna situation or a conflicting schedule situation or something else entirely.

In Up Til Now, Shatner claims that he did have a glorious death in the original script they offered him–bravely sacrificing himself to kill the Klingons attacking the Enterprise. Very much the star. But then he implied that Patrick Stewart didn’t appreciate that Shatner was getting the best scene in the movie that was ostensibly a TNG movie…so it was rewritten. In the 2nd draft (and the first one they filmed), Kirk is shot in the back. That’s it. Just shot in the back and dies. Test audiences reacted poorly (surprise!) and so they had to rewrite and film most of the ending. So after three attempts, getting trapped under a bridge was the best they could do. :rolleyes: Just another example of why TNG sucks so very very hard.

Well, to be fair, they never planned to bring Spock back. Everybody filmed that scene fully believing that was it for Spock and Nimoy in the franchise. Nimoy included the “remember” bit because the producer asked him to “leave a door open” and the director signed off on the suggestion. When TWoK was so well received, they decided to take advantage of that open door. Also, Data didn’t “not die.” I don’t get why people think that. The whole point of Nemesis was that everybody is unique. Picard couldn’t be cloned exactly and neither could Data because a man isn’t just a physical body–he’s the sum total of his experiences and pain and memories and beliefs. The end with B4 is more bittersweet than anything because no matter what, he’ll never be Data. (I don’t have any opinions on Tasha Yar).

You make perfectly valid points. Having B-4 around mitigates the impact of Data’s death just like having Dax transported to a different body and remaining a part of the show after Jadzia was killed mitigated the impact of that death. I know that Data and Jadzia are dead but the way Trek writers work their deaths just don’t have the same impact.

He also said it didn’t make sense to him to be in that movie because he thought he had a poignant exit from the TNG episode Unification. And the reason he took the job in the episode was that he wanted to try and bridge the gap between TOS and TNG fans.

I heard a rumor that Shatner didn’t like TNG very much, and didn’t want to endorse it. But I can’t find anything on the Net to indicate this might be true. The best I can find is Wil Wheaton’s story, which indicates he didn’t like the Wesley character. But, then again, he had a lot of company.

Per my DVD of “The Captain’s Summit”, Shatner has never watched an episode of TNG all the way through. He admits as much to Stewart and John #1 (forgot his last name) and Nimoy in the discussion. There is much razzing and laughter. Shatner has also not watched much of TOS, TJ Hooker or Boston Legal. He calls watching TV shows “torture” and says he is a news and sports junkie. There may well have been a personal reason for his not guest starring, but surely that is not our business? In the summit, Shatner doesn’t say he likes or dislikes the show, just that he and Nimoy were all “huh? How are they going to do that without us?” about TNG.

If you think about it, why would Shatner watch or be in TNG? None of it was about Kirk or his timeline. It’s only us, the fans that want both worlds to overlap. I highly doubt there was any prima donna or money issues to be had. IMO, Shatner gets an undeserved rap for that. Against all these “rumors” I read that Nimoy enjoyed working with him, as did Billy Blackburn and Stewart. So, I’m a bit :dubious: over people like Doohan or Takei’s version of things. Just sayin’.

All that said, Shatner has a great joke re his death in the Nexus. The old line, “Captain on the bridge!”? He wanted to invert it and make a joke of his demise and say “Bridge on the captain!”, but the director wouldn’t let him.

the age and health of the actors would probably have had something to do with it. Would they want to sign up for the demands of an entire TV season, at their age? Also you want to avoid being trapped in that typecast role again, after spending years trying to get away from it.
TNG soon established its own brand and after that didn’t need to glance back at the old series very much. It’s noticeable how often they did in the early ones but there’s very little of it later.

It seems to me that some of those lines were originally intended for McCoy. In particular, the bit where Chekov recruits two guys to be nurses.

But why would ANY of the old crew have wanted to be on TNG, by that reasoning? The OP is simply wanting to know how come it is that, given that of the big three in the original series, plus Scottie, Shatner is the only one not to have managed to show up in the TV series. My thought is simply this: he waited until he got the maximum out of it, and that happened when they finally did a Next Generation movie.