I've been thinking about Star Trek XI lately.
(FYI I am a TOS fan)
I'm increasingly unhappy at the thought of XI without Shat, but with Leonard Nimoy. I don't know well the TNG/VOY/DS9/ENT storylines, but this film is going to be based on TOS. Shatner was such a brilliant Kirk, I'm bemused as to how anyone else could fill his shoes. Personally, I don't believe that Star Trek could have survived 40+ years without his wonderful acting of a flawed, but essentially good, human being. The whole pivot of Star Trek rests on him.
Do I talk sense, or am I just a rabid Shat fan? I don't believe the latter, as I know his flaws. But Star Trek doesn't feel right without the Shat to me. (And he is still alive and still a functioning actor, for heaven's sake).
As a TOS fan (saw it first run in the 1960ies); I could CARE LESS whether or not William Shatner is in the film. I LOVED his performance on TOS and throughout the Movie-era; but I'd RATHER see a good story and an engaging film before anything else (and the last few Star Trek films HAVE been rather lacking in that sense). If they can give Shatner a part (doubtful given the continuing WGA writer's strike and the fact the script was finalized and locked in a month before the WGA went out on strike) that FITS well within the story - great. If not, keep him out of it.
The film WIIL have the characters of 'Captain Kirk', 'Mr. Spock', 'Dr. McCoy'; the NCC 1701; etc. <--- These things are what make up 'Star Trek', and they will be a part of the film. I honestly don't care if William Shatner has a role as 'Old Kirk' or not.