Full Reverse: No Capt. Kirk at Enterprise Ceremony


NORFOLK -- Capt. Kirk won't be beaming down to the aircraft carrier Enterprise after all.

A publicist for William Shatner told The Virginian-Pilot on Thursday night that the man who played Capt. James T. Kirk in the original "Star Trek" television series was forced to abandon plans to attend the iconic ship's inactivation ceremony Saturday. Shatner had announced on Twitter this week that he would attend the ceremony at Norfolk Naval Station.

"Initially he was going, then he had to rework his schedule," said Cherry Hepburn, Shatner's publicist.

Of the Twitter post that sparked news reports of Shatner's appearance, Hepburn said, "Oh honey, you know he doesn't run that, right?"

Shatner is scheduled to perform tonight at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News.

As Kirk, Shatner guided the fictional starship Enterprise through space and time in the original 1960s TV series and seven subsequent films.

Hollywood's relationship with the real-life Enterprise goes back a number of years. In one incident now part of Trekkie lore, George Takei -- Sulu, the navigator, in the original series -- was riding the carrier into the San Francisco Bay after its deployment in 1983 when the ship ran aground on a sandbar.

In 1994, thousands of costumed "Star Trek" fans boarded the Enterprise in Norfolk for a fan convention.

And in a 1986 film starring Shatner, "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home," the world's first nuclear-powered warship was the perfect fuel source to recharge a depleted starship after the crew traveled back in time three centuries in search of a living humpback whale off the coast of California. (The real Enterprise wasn't available for filming, so another carrier stood in.)

Prior to the cancellation, word of Shatner's planned appearance spread quickly Thursday among excited crew members serving aboard the ship. Among them is a young sailor named James Kirk, who was reportedly the subject of many jokes during the ship's final voyage.

He's not the captain, though. This Kirk is a petty officer second class, a machinist, and he does plan to attend.

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