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William Shatner confirms he’s been asked about returning for the next Star Trek movie

A recent online rumor suggested that the third installment of the rebooted Star Trek cinematic universe might feature the return of William Shatner to the franchise, and now the original James T. Kirk himself has confirmed that he was approached for a potential role in the film.

Asked about the rumor during an appearance at this weekend’s Wizard World Nashville convention, Shatner said J.J. Abrams (who directed the first two installments of the modern franchise and is producing the third film) called him to find out if he’d be interested in reprising his iconic role as the captain of the starship Enterprise.

As reported by ComicBook.com (and seen in the video below), Shatner told the audience that Abrams said, “I’m calling because the director of Star Trek, the next movie, has had an idea where you might be involved, so I’m calling to find out whether you would be interested.”

Previously, Shatner had denied the rumor, but now the veteran actor has indicated that his denial was simply an effort to keep his discussion with Abrams a secret per the filmmaker’s request. It didn’t take long for the secret to get out, though, and Shatner now confirms that his chat with Abrams happened — and that he and Leonard Nimoy (who appeared in the last two films) could reunite for an appearance in the third chapter of the modern franchise.

“So the news is out that they have an idea that they want Leonard and myself,” he said. “But I would love to do it. But how do you get me 50 years later into the movie? I mean how do you rationalize it. I know it’s science fiction, but even I couldn’t come up with an idea. So that’s the news on that.”

The third film in the franchise will serve as the directorial debut of Roberto Orci, the longtime screenwriter and producer who co-wrote the first two films in the rebooted franchise. Shatner indicated that he’s still uncertain what form this potential return to the series will take for his character, and that this will likely determine whether he agrees to appear in the film.

“It depends on what you do with the character, but I would be delighted,” Shatner said he told Abrams.

There’s currently no release date set for the next Star Trek movie, though it’s expected to hit theaters in 2016 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the franchise.