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The Trekkie unthinkable has come to pass: William Shatner—the die from which all subsequent Kirk-alikes were cast, the man who gave scores of marginally talented impressionists a bottomless! Source! Of! Material!—has not been asked to join the voyages of the next big-screen Enterprise outing. (Helmed, of course, by noted Lost architect and Cruise-wrangler, JJ Abrams.) He doesn't seem to be taking the news too well:

"I couldn't believe it. I'm not in the movie at all. Leonard [Nimoy], God bless his heart, is in, but not me," Shatner, 76, told The Associated Press on Thursday. "I thought, what a decision to make, since it obviously is a decision not to make use of the popularity I have to ensure the movie has good box office. It didn't seem to be a wise business decision." [...]

[Director J.J.] Abrams said Shatner probably would have a part in the film, which is due in theaters in December 2008. But while Shatner said he had a couple of meetings with Abrams, nothing came of it.

Since none of us were privy to said meetings, it's tough to ascertain what part of the always-delicate script-development and casting process wouldn't allow for the inclusion of the iconic Starfleet Admiral. Perhaps it was Shatner's own pitch that Abrams had trouble with, in which a mysterious wormhole brings Kirk back from the dead, upon which he and newly hot communications officer Uhura (played by the fetching Zoe Saldana) embark upon a torrid, shipboard affair. The clincher, of course, would be the marketing campaign capitalizing on the actor's massive box office appeal, blanketing every available surface in the two-word tagline: "Shat Trek."