Captain James T. Kirk, better known around these parts as William Shatner, turns 90 years old on March 22. The actor, director, producer and writer has had a seven decade careers, with a community of devoted fans that revere not just his place as a figure in the universe but the entire canon of “Star Trek” and its various entities in film and television.
We’ve seen multiple starship captains and leaders over the decades, including Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh), three Pikes (Jeffrey Hunter, Bruce Greenwood and Anson Mount), Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula), Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks), a rebooted James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and the ultimate badass Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), arguably the best of them all.
The entire franchise has spawned seven spin-off television series, 13 feature films and two animated series. The original series ran from 1966 to 1969 on NBC and was canceled just after three seasons. After which, we moved to an animated series (1973-1974), “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987-1994), “Deep Space Nine” (1993-1999), “Voyager” (1995-2001). “Enterprise” (2001-2005), and the three still ongoing “Discovery” (2017), “Picard” (2020) and “Lower Decks” (2020).
In the film sector, the original series delivered six films — “The Motion Picture” (1979), “The Wrath of Khan” (1982), “The Search for Spock” (1984), “The Voyage Home” (1986), “The Final Frontier” (1989) and “The Undiscovered Country” (1991). “The Next Generation” provided four – “Generations” (1994), “First Contact” (1996), “Insurrection” (1998) and “Nemesis” (2002) while “The Kelvin Timeline” or rebooted version has given three “Star Trek” (2009), “Star Trek Into Darkness” (2013) and “Star Trek Beyond” (2016), with all three having the highest box-office grosses of any film in the whole franchise. The 2009 film is also the only one to win an Academy Award for best makeup (Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow), along with “The Voyage Home,” garnering the most nominations at four.
There are still more in development under Paramount Plus and on the studio side. “Star Trek: Prodigy,” an animated series co-written and created by Dan Hageman and Kevin Hageman that focuses on a group of teenagers who get onto an abandoned starship, is set to drop later in 2021. From creators Akiva Goldsman, Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet, “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” is a spin-off of “Discovery” and a prequel to the original series, following Captain Christopher Pike (Ansel Mount) and the crew of the USS Enterprise. Rebecca Romijn and Ethan Peck will also reprise their roles as Number One and Spock. Still yet to be confirmed, there is reportedly a Khan Noonien Singh limited series on the table, which explores the storyline from “The Wrath of Khan,” tentatively titled “Ceti Alpha V.”
Live long and prosper, Mr. Shatner.
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