In 2009, the eleventh Star Trek movie bombed at the box office principally due to a serious miscommunication that had occured during production.
"Kirk Prime" controversy causes Trekkies to boycott Movie #11A fresh cast led by Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto had sought to remodel the characters in the swashblucking tradition of Horatio Hornblower, a concept conceived during the original pilot in 1966. For example, Pine sought to act Kirk's characteristics of "humor, arrogance and decisiveness", but not William Shatner's speech pattern, which he felt would have bordered on imitation.
However Quinto went a step further and befriended Leonard Nimoy, seeking to explore the Vulcan "notion of how to evolve in a responsible way and how to evolve in a respectful way. I think those are all things that we as a society, and certainly the world, could implement". So much so, that Nimoy would agree to reprises his role as an elder Spock, referred to in the ending credits as "Spock Prime".
Director JJ Abrams and the writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman met Nimoy at his house; writer Roberto Orci recalled the actor gave a "Who are you guys and what are you up to? vibe" before being told how important he was to them. He was silent, and Nimoy's wife Susan Bay told the creative team he had remained in his chair after their conversation, emotionally overwhelmed by his decision after turning down many opportunities to revisit the role. Had Nimoy disliked the script, production would have been delayed for it to be rewritten. He was "genuinely excited" by the script's scope and its detailing of the characters' backstories, saying, "We have dealt with [Spock being half-human, half-Vulcan], but never with quite the overview that this script has of the entire history of the character, the growth of the character, the beginnings of the character and the arrival of the character into the Enterprise crew". Abrams said "it was surreal to direct him as Spock, because what the hell am I doing there? This guy has been doing it for forty years".
But Shatner wanted to share Nimoy's major role, and did not want a cameo,Yet the real surrealism would follow. Because Orci and Kurtzman wrote a scene for William Shatner, where old Spock gives his younger self a recorded message by Kirk from the previous timeline. "It was basically a Happy Birthday wish knowing that Spock was going to go off to Romulus, and Kirk would probably be dead by the time," and it would have transistioned into Shatner reciting "Where no man has gone before". But Shatner wanted to share Nimoy's major role, and did not want a cameo, despite his character's death in Star Trek Generations.
Orci and Kurtzman gave an assurance that the character of Kirk Prime would be written into the plot, which Shatner misunderstood to be an offer of a serious role in the movie. When it became clear that a voice over was planned to run with the credits, Shatner released a furious tirade in a Youtube movie, Watch William Shatner Responds to Star Trek Director JJ Abrams forcing Trekkies to boycott the movie out of respect for William Shatner.