You've heard why Shatner's Kirk wasn't included in Star Trek. (He was dead, for one thing.) But Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman tried to write him in, and they walked us through their Shatner scene.
In our exclusive interview with Star Trek writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, we managed to pick their brain as to what landed on the cutting-room floor during rewrites. The most shocking was the actual Shatner scene.
Alex Kurtzman: We had a scene with Shatner, and that ended up going.
Roberto Orci: Right, we had a scene with Shatner.
Did that even get tossed around at all?
Orci: We wrote it, it was in the script.
Kurtzman: The very last scene when Spock and Spock meet each other, finally. And elder Spock is convincing young Spock that he couldn't interfere, because it would have diverted [Kirk and Spock] away from their friendship. And that their friendship is the key to the whole sort of shebang.
Orci: He gave him a recorded message from Kirk.
Kurtzman: He [elder Spock] said, "Don't take my word for it." And he handed him [younger Spock] a little holographic device and it projected Shatner. It was basically a Happy Birthday wish knowing that Spock was going to go off to Romulus, and Kirk would probably be dead by the time...
Orci: It turned into a voiceover, at the end of the movie.
Kurtzman: So It was a nod too, but it ultimately felt like a cameo, in a way that wasn't.
Orci: I still liked it [Laughs].
Wow, I really wouldn't have had a problem with this scene as described. I'm sad Shatner wasn't in the final version, I could have done with a little less Nimoy by the conclusion in any case. Oh well, maybe Shatner will appear in the next one. But that's not the only thing that was cut from the script. According to the writers, they had a scene of Spock playing the Vulcan lute, and his mother, that got axed. And they had written a young love Kirk moment. We would have met the lovely Carol Marcus, who actually had Kirk's son David in the original series, as a child.
Orcir described it as, "this whole Forrest Gump, young Kirk growing up near Carol Marcus, thing." Which would have been very sweet, I'm sure, but then ruined the whole, "I'm a drunk jerk" image for twenty-something Kirk years later.