Timothy Olyphant Was Almost Captain Kirk in J.J. Abrams’ STAR TREK Trilogy

Sometimes an actor is perfect for a role. For example, most MCU fans would agree that they cannot imagine anyone else besides Robert Downey Jr. playing Tony Stark/Iron Man. I’d argue that this is the same for Star Trek fans when it comes to J.J. Abrams’ Trek trilogy and its leading man Chris Pine. He truly makes a perfect young and brash Captain Kirk. (And Chris Pine seems like a cool dude who minds his business. Love it.) But there was another awesome actor who auditioned for that part and didn’t get it. Timothy Olyphant revealed that he auditioned for the role of Captain Kirk in the Star Trek movies but ultimately lost the Captain-ship to Chris Pine.

Timothy Olyphant as Marshall in Justified and Chris Pine as Captain Kirk in Star Trek movie
FX/Paramount Pictures

According to Entertainment Weekly, Timothy Olyphant recently talked about his near-Kirk experience on Josh Horowitz’s Happy Sad Confused podcast as he reminisced about his auditions for Star Trek. Olyphant said auditioning for Abrams was wonderful but the director decided to go with the younger Chris Pine instead. Interestingly, Timothy Olyphant went in to audition for the role of Dr. Leonard McCoy, not Captain Kirk. However, Abrams said they already had a guy. That random guy was someone named Karl Urban. He sounds vaguely familiar. But the director did encourage him to read for Captain Kirk because they were still searching for their leading Star Trek man at the time.

“I believe it was one of those things where it’s like they might have been prepared to hire me, but they wanted somebody younger, and [Abrams] was having a hard time finding somebody younger,” Olyphant said. “And somewhere along the line, J.J. called and said, ‘I found a guy, younger, who’s really good.’”

Of course, Timothy Olyphant has no hard feelings about not joining the Star Trek universe. He later met Chris Pine and praised him for being a great guy and an awesome actor. As we know, Timothy Olyphant did very well after not getting the role of Captain Kirk. He nabbed a starring role as Deputy US Marshall Rayland Givens in Justified and its recent revival, Justified: City Primeval. He also made his way to the Star Wars universe as Cobb Vanth. Now, we can only imagine a Star Trek world with him as the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

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