The many faces of Captain Kirk

Chris Pine (aka Christopher Whitelaw) is perhaps best known for his role as Captain Kirk in the JJ Abrams rebooted Star Trek universe.

Pine has also appeared in films such as The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004), Just My Luck (2006), Smokin’ Aces (2007), Unstoppable (2010), and This Means War (2012).

Of course, Trekkies don’t usually care about anything else other than the ST universe, so the above-mentioned movies are probably irrelevant to most. 

What they are the most concerned about is how well Pine manages to channel (or reinvent) Captain Kirk, a role that has understandably been off limits since William Shatner basically defined his persona back in the ’60s. 

But that obviously hasn’t stopped Pine from trying to bravely go where no man has gone before. At the very least, he has certainly won mainstream acclaim for the role, and will be playing a young Kirk once again in the upcoming Star Trek 2. 

Recently, Pine spoke with Lewis Beale of Newsday about taking on Captain Kirk in Bill Shatner’s rather large (both literally and figuratively) shadow. 

“I [really] don’t know if I had any sense of what I was stepping into, not being a fan when I got into the process. I watched that documentary ‘Trekkies’ and thought, ‘Wow, I had no idea how the fans were so loyal and related to the world,’ Pine told Beale.

“Because the fans loved the original actors so much, we were afraid we would not live up to their expectations. We all wanted to do well by it. But after it came out, people seemed to be pretty receptive to it. Although some people had a problem with my version of Kirk that was more rebellious than Shatner’s Kirk.”

Truthfully, all of this makes me wonder how taboo enterprise captains really are. For example, would any sane director really attempt to reboot The Next Generation for the big screen with a different Captain Picard?

Thn again, although Patrick Stewart really made the TNG, the same probably couldn’t be said for Kate Mulgrew who played Captain Janeway on Voyager. Yes, Mulgrew was quite talented, but she is definitely more replaceable than the very talented Patrick Stewart. 

Of course, rebooting either show is quite unlikely at this point. If anything, Abrams will probably end up redefining the Star Trek universe for a new generation of fans, leaving TNG, DS9 and Voyager as little more than golden-era relics for hardcore Trekkies.