William Shatner, the legendary actor who portrayed Captain Kirk in Star Trek has spoken out against a fan who decided to compare him to Mark Hamill. The series of tweets were around the contrasting of Kirk to Skywalker referencing Mark Hamill’s 2016 viral clip of a similar subject.
Mark Hamill stated in 2006 “Fans are writing and ask all these questions […] they say to me, ‘Could Luke be gay?’ I’d say […] If you think Luke is gay, of course he is.” The Twitter user shared the stills from this clip and stated that William Shatner was “refusing to accept Kirk could be bi.” To which William Shatner responded, stating how people of today try to look at the past through a future lens, calling them presentist and “moronic.”
Kirk stated how the social constructs of the 1960’s influenced the show. He also went on to reference a footnote from a novelization of the show where Kirk asserts “I have always found my best gratification in that creature called woman,” after a rumour he might be romantically interested in Spock.
Shatner has previously spoken in interviews about about the character he portrayed. In one particular interview from 2017 he stated that Kirk was as much Bill and Bill was Kirk. It would be hard to associate yourself with a different sexuality if this was the case.
The feelings from the fans were mixed, with William Shatner stating “Let them be offended. Kirk was a job not a way of life.”
The general issue with this kind of perception over past events and media is that it is looked through a future lens. The current climate deems fit that legacy story-telling must then be ret-conned, to bring it “in-line” with modern day perception.
The issue that fans have is that this leads to writing styles similar to Star Trek Discovery which are ultimately virtue signalling. It comes across as a pejorative neologism of when an individual holds a prominent and disingenuous moral value that they solely use to enhance ones image. Star Trek has somewhat been rebranded into this – a vessel to bring certain communities together, period. And this is completely fine if that is what newer audiences want and even when current audiences gain enjoyment. But should we really be rewriting history to retrospectively subjectify modern issues and politics? I think that’s called “rose tinted glasses.”