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Chicago’s Amazon HQ2 bid appeals to CEO Jeff Bezos’ deep love of ‘Star Trek’

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City Hall has enlisted the voiceover talent of one “Captain Kirk” for its official pitch

A rendering of Sterling Bay’s proposed ‘Lincoln Yards’ tech campus.
Sterling Bay

If a rich cornucopia of primo development sites and over $2 billion in economic incentives weren’t enough to help woo Amazon’s coveted HQ2 to Chicago, City Hall reportedly has a secret weapon in actor William Shatner. Best known for his role as Captain James T. Kirk on Star Trek, the 86-year-old was hired to narrate a promotional video as part of the Windy City’s bid to land HQ2 and its 50,000 high-tech jobs, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The voice casting choice was squarely directed at Amazon CEO and super Trekkie Jeff Bezos. The businessman is known to be rabid follower of the franchise and even donned special effects alien makeup for a cameo appearance as an unnamed Starfleet official in Paramount Picture’s 2016 Star Trek Beyond.

Mr. Bezo’s interest in outer space isn’t solely limited to the realm of science fiction either. In 2000, he founded aerospace company Blue Origin to develop recyclable rockets and is in competition with SpaceX, founded by fellow tech mogul Elon Musk.

Chicago mayoral spokesman Grant Klinzman tells the Trib that local economic development agency World Business Chicago is paying for the video presentation. He declined, however, to comment on Mr. Shatner’s specific level of compensation.

As more than 100 North American cities submit bids for Amazon’s second headquarters, local mayors have gone to extreme lengths to catch the eye of the tech giant. The results have ranged between endearing and downright embarrassing.

With City Hall still keeping a tight lid over Chicago’s presentation materials, it’s impossible to determine where the video falls on the cringe spectrum.