Shatner on Stern: Talks Trek Fueds, Abrams Trek, Berman Trek, and more

Wednesday morning William Shatner was the guest on the Howard Stern Show promoting “Up Till Now“. The interview went on for almost and hour and ranged on a number of topics from the book, to problems with the Trek cast, to the Abrams movie, to the death of Kirk and much more.
Excerpts and AUDIO below.

Excerpts from the interview

Shatner: I was probably an angry man…may have mistreated Trek co-stars
Stern played an infamous audio clip of Shatner mocking a director while recording a voice-over. Although Stern and his sidekick Robin Quivers thought it was justified and hilarious, Shatner admitted he might have gone too far and it was ‘bad behavior’ on his part. Stern then noted that many of his former Trek co-stars ‘hated’ him and asked if he might have treated his Trek co-stars poorly:

Stern: Did you treat these people like you treated that [director]?
Shatner: Looking back I may have, it was terrible of me. I took that too far and I very well may be guilty of all this.
Stern: Do you think you are an angry man? Have you been to a psychiatrist and been diagnosed…
Shatner: No, no, I have not been to that kind of therapy, but I probably was a very angry man.

Shatner was specifically asked if he deliberately ‘tanked a scene’ where Sulu was promoted in Star Trek II (as contended by George Takei), therefore denying Takei’s character the promotion (until Star Trek VI). Shatner replied “that’s absurd.” On Nichelle Nichols, Shatner denied he slept with her, but noted “she had enough activity on her own.” Regarding Leonard, Nimoy Shatner admitted that he had “a couple of disagreements” early on but that they became friends, noting “Leonard took me under his wing when my life took those turns and he is my dearest friend.”

Shat has a message for Geroge Takei
Much later in the interview the subject of the Takei feud came up again and Stern asked Shatner if Takei passed away, would he even go to Takei’s funeral

Shatner: Here is my feeling about those poor people. There is something pathological (laughs) about forty years later…I am supposed to have done something. Maybe I did. I have no recollection. But hey, isn’t it time to let go>? Let it go. He’s seventy something years old, he’s going to die soon, I’m going to die soon. Hey man it’s a long journey, forget about it. Come on George have a good time. Move on.

Shatner on not being in Abrams Trek: I think they had story problems
Of course the subject of the new Star Trek feature came up.

Stern: You still are peeved they are going to have a new Star Trek movie without you?
Robin: …and Leonard is in it.
Shatner: Leonard is in it and I am not. They are making a Star Trek movie without Captain Kirk, without the old Captain Kirk. There is a young Captain Kirk. So I think they had story problems and didn’t know how to solve it. But I am not peeved, just disappointed. And JJ Abrams is such a great movie maker that I would have love to have done something.
Stern: You would love to work with him
Shatner: I would love to work with him, but I got a lot of things to do.
Stern: ….So when they make a new Star Trek movie and put Leonard into it, is it jealousy? Professional jealousy?
Shatner: No, no. Leonard got most of what he asked for and I think that is really good.
Stern: He is getting a lot of money for it?
Shatner: Oh my god.
Stern: Do you know what he is getting?
Shatner: I have no idea but it is a lot of money.

Shatner on Berman: He wanted to kill me off
Shatner also talked about how his character was killed off in Star Trek Generations

Stern: You do claim in the new book that you are upset how they killed your character off in Star Trek
Shatner: Thinking back, they were going to kill him off anyway. They said ‘you can be in the movie and die or don’t be in the movie and we are still going to kill you.’ So I was kind of hung up, so I said I am going to be in the movie. But looking back I wish they had done it with more tympanies and trumpets.
Stern: Of course they should make something dramatic there…
Shatner: They did, but in a way I think the producer [Rick Berman] was trying to kill the character off because it was a legacy of the old guard and this guy was head of the new guard with Patrick [Stewart] and The Next Generation. So I think he was trying to kill as many antecedents, like a lion killing the cubs

Audio Book editing skits – Shatner amused, Parton not
During the interview, Stern ran a number of ‘clips’ which edited together parts of previous Shatner audio book clips, turning them into extremely rude statements. This is a regular feature of the show, and they have done the same with George Takei (who is a regular on the Stern show now). However one celeb is not amused. Dolly Parton tells Reuters today “”I have never been so shocked, hurt and humiliated in all my life” after getting the Stern treatment. So there you have it…Shatner and Takei can take it, Parton cannot.

Listen to Audio
The entire 53 minute Shatner interview (WARNING: Contains MUCH adult material):


Sort by:   newest | oldest
May 14, 2008 2:28 pm

Wow. I better be careful around Mr. Shatner.

Sisko's Shrimp Gumbo
May 14, 2008 2:30 pm

“like a lion killing the cubs” hahahaha

May 14, 2008 2:36 pm


Shatner. Sometimes I think the guy’s ego is out of control. He has the arrogance to taunt another director, yet put out a piece of trash like Star Trek 5.

I think even Gene Rodenberry said that movie isn’t cannon.

He admits he’s an angry man?

Ok. At least he admits it.

May 14, 2008 2:41 pm

Lets face it….Shat Lost his marbles long long ago…..Not that I still dont love the guy…

May 14, 2008 2:41 pm

So, George called in sick? Too bad. That would have been some good subscriber radio.
In truth, I’m tired of the feud.

But, I also thought Shatner said he HAD done the wild thang with Nichelle, in one of his Star Trek Memories book. I know he threw Roddenberry and Nichelle under that bus. Then again, if I were young, famous and in Hollywood in the 60’s… hailing frequencies open!

Mr. Poopey face(formerly known as Closettrekker)
May 14, 2008 2:53 pm

Seems that Bill has changed his story a little bit on some of that, particularly on tanking the promotion scene in TWOK and why he agreed to kill off Kirk.

May 14, 2008 2:59 pm

Somebody’s got a book out

Captain Robert April
May 14, 2008 3:10 pm

Can’t wait to get ahold of this book….

Orb of the Emissary
May 14, 2008 3:11 pm

My, my… I think someone else besides George Takei needs to move on. Any thoughts on that Mr. Shatner?

That One Guy
May 14, 2008 3:14 pm

CmdrR, I agree. The stupid feud that rages between Shatner and the rest of the TOS crew needs to end. It is quite possible that he is sincere in the regards that he is truly sorry. But I don’t agree with him saying “get over it.” I would say “I’m sorry, blah blah blah, I hope you can forgive me” and be done with it.

#4, everyone loses their marbles every once in a while. My uncle is a paranoid schizophrenic, so believe me…. I know…

It can make for interesting conversations at dinner.

May 14, 2008 3:29 pm

It would be much better if he just said, “I’m sorry, ” and let it be. That “Just get over it” rutine is low class. Put the ego aside a moment and act like a nice guy. Just say it:

“George, I’m …..sorry. Please…….forgive me.”

May 14, 2008 3:38 pm

I love Shatner but he needs to get over so much. Enough with the feuding. At least he seems to be getting over not being in the new movie. Comparing Shatner to most of the other original cast members, THEY are the ones that should be complaining. Shatner has had an incredible career resurgence with Boston Legal even winning an Emmy. Enough is enough.

dave l
May 14, 2008 3:41 pm

i dont agree after 40 years they need to get over it. Whatever “it” is. Why do people want Shatner to kiss their buttoxes for

May 14, 2008 3:44 pm

Shatner is a very talented man — a consummate bon vivant as well as an actor, writer, producer, and entrepreneur — but I frankly respect the character he is most identified with, James T. Kirk, a great deal more. I believe that that is my right.

I am secure in my confidence that, no matter what Bill Shatner does or doesn’t do, it won’t affect my admiration for the Admiral. Thank goodness for that.

May 14, 2008 3:47 pm

I have to say, I am glad there wasn’t a sulu promotion in STII, as much as I respect and enjoy the character Sulu, I think it would have been too distracting and derailed the story slightly. Maybe at the end of IV, but not II.

Captain Robert April
May 14, 2008 4:03 pm

I’ve also gotta get Sirius one of these days…

May 14, 2008 4:04 pm


The man is a class act, an thassa fact. I only heard part of it on the way to work, so A PLUS to big dawg AP for having the cajones to post the entire interview. Sometimes you amaze me with your cool, AP. You have your moments indeed.



May 14, 2008 4:13 pm

I don’t doubt the Berman bit about cleaning out the old guard. Having seen this a dozen times in “professional” offices, I would have to imagine it’s almost a given.

As far as grudges go, that’s a lot of energy just wasted. I’ve seen people go to their deathbeds holding grudges, or having grudges held against them. What’s the point in it?

Mike T.
May 14, 2008 4:16 pm

Sulu being promoted in Trek 2 would have been as bad as Worf leaving the Enterprise and just happening to be around when it was movie time.

It would have made more sense for Sulu to be with Captain Terrell when they found Khan, Sulu held a higher rank, right.

Denise de Arman
May 14, 2008 4:16 pm

Berman would have killed Kirk in Generations even if Shatner had not been in the movie. That would have been some very creative writing – how exactly would he have gone about doing that…

May 14, 2008 4:19 pm

Here’s a question – How could they have killed Kirk without Shatner? A passing reference to him being dead? Were they going to haul out one of his old stunt doubles from TOS and kill him that way? What?

May 14, 2008 4:31 pm

Newsflash… by the time of Generations, under normal circumstances, he would have been dead anyway. Berman was using an empty threat but Shatner probably didn’t think it through.

May 14, 2008 4:32 pm

I’d have to agree his tone is somewhat inconsistent…one minute, he’s admitting that he might have behaved poorly and mistreated his co-stars, then the next minute he’s denying events and saying people need to get over it. And is he implying Nichelle was a bit of a tramp? That’s probably not going to help mend any fences with her! Ha.

May 14, 2008 4:42 pm

Oh my.

May 14, 2008 4:46 pm
The original idea was that sabotaging Sulu’s promotion in Star Trek II would benefit Takei by keeping him in the company of the Enterprise crew. But it is faulty logic, never mind the fact that he had no right to protect his peers in that way, if that was his real motive. It sounds like retroactive justification. They probably still would have had Sulu help Kirk steal the Enterprise for one more mission, maybe by pulling strings even, or conversely by raising the stakes in that there are now two captains conspiring to break Starfleet regulations (well three counting Scotty). He would have been in Star Trek IV simply because he would have still been on Vulcan at the end of III. There are definitely ways he could have been in V and most definitely in VI. All these ways would have been far less convoluted than how they got Worf into the Next Gen movies. In fact it was precisely the idea that Worf would revert to Starfleet service that I disliked most about Worf in Nemesis. Ditto Wesley. Why mess with the closure of a character that’s not yours if you’re not really going to build on it? I think Worf’s job experience as a diplomat would have improved his arc in Nemesis considering he comes to gain new respect for the Romulans that fought in battle with honor. But I digress with 20/20 hindsight. I guess my point is that the people who wrote the TOS movies… Read more »
May 14, 2008 5:07 pm

The silly story about the Shat tanking Takei’s promotion scene in ST II has never rung true, to me.

I Love My Moogie
May 14, 2008 5:13 pm

I love that Shat—-he’s a mensch!!!

May 14, 2008 5:19 pm

Actually, a ‘feud’ would imply an issue **between** people. Shatner hasn’t demonstrated any issues with his ex-castmates: they’re the ones chucking out the abusive remarks and trading off the ‘We hate Bill!’ gravy train they created. I guess what it really means is that they’ve run out of interesting things to say, unlike William Shatner who can always be relied on for good entertainment.

What it looks like is jealousy, as they haven’t made much of an impact beyond their roles in a TV show that was cancelled almost 40 years ago and desperately want the worship of Trek fans.

It’s silly, because I find every TOS character, no matter how much they claim to have been sidelined, far more memorable than pretty much any of the characters from subsequent shows.

They’re too old for this nonsense! All they did in the 1990s was spout abuse at Shatner and damage the public’s perception of TOS. Now Trek has moved on they should shut up and get on with their lives before they ruin the new Trek!

May 14, 2008 5:20 pm

‘Oh my.’

Oh Shat!!! :-)

May 14, 2008 5:28 pm

#23 C’mon… Nichols admits to having “been with” Roddenberry. What more do you need?

#26 I agree: I always thought it was revision to ST III:TSFS where part of the lines remained, IIRC… SULU: “I’m hoping for Endeavour.” SCOTT: “Why would you want that bucket of bolts?”

Early versions of “The Vengeance of Khan” never had any Sulu promotion stuff. So, seems like endless retellings of half-truths baked into an obviously false statement.

May 14, 2008 5:33 pm


Uhh, how about evidence she had ‘been with’ anyone else? So she had an affair with Rodenberry, that means she slept with everyone? Come on.

May 14, 2008 5:58 pm

Look…we all know Bill can be a real horse’s behind, but I have to agree with him on one thing…..IT’S BEEN 40 YEARS!….geez George, move on with your life! Does he have so little to say in interviews that Shatner-bashing is a standard part of his spiel to reporters?

At some level you get the feeling that the supporting cast somehow feels that Shatner denied them superstardom of something. I also find it interesting that all those bad stories about him surfaced AFTER the original cast stopped making movies. If they hated him that much, they should’ve stood on principle and simply stopped appearing in the films with him.

May 14, 2008 6:07 pm

Actually, who cares?
As sex scandals go, it’s a bit tame since some’s are dead and some’s are living in the present.

May 14, 2008 6:11 pm

I’m sorry but Doohan and Takei spent/have spent years trashing Shatner on the con circuit and in books. To quote Shatner, GET A LIFE!

I honestly don’t think Shatner intentionally did anything to them. He was single-minded on the set of Trek trying to make it the best it could be. It wasn’t personal and they WERE the supporting players not the stars. Nimoy was the same way and just as determined to get what he wanted but he isn’t denigrated like Shatner. In the beginning — 20 years ago — it was amusing when Doohan would go off about Shatnter and I really used to like Takei but it’s just gotten ridiculous.

“Early versions of “The Vengeance of Khan” never had any Sulu promotion stuff. So, seems like endless retellings of half-truths baked into an obviously false statement.”

Very true. I’ve got 3 versions of the script.

May 14, 2008 6:11 pm


You are forgetting about Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr but I’ll stop there.

May 14, 2008 6:19 pm

Folks, I think the story about Shatner getting Sulu’s scenes cut is being misconstrued by Stern and Co. I don’t think that the story ever was about TWOK. What it was in IV, the scenes that they filmed in SF and Shatner somehow SABOTAYGED© that backstory. I think thats what it was.

someone correct me please.



Richard Daystrom
May 14, 2008 6:22 pm

Whatever. It’s all old news. Give me some pics of the new movie JJ!!

May 14, 2008 6:28 pm

The picture for this article is making me very upset.

Good article though.

May 14, 2008 6:36 pm


It was not Mr. Shatner who eliminated Sulu’s backstory in San Francisco. It was the child actor who was to play Sulu’s ancestor. The child froze, had a meltdown and his mom joined in. The scene could not be shot and the production team moved on.

The fact that people are posting that somehow Mr. Shatner was responsible shows just how rediculous some of these rumours are. It gets posted, repeated over and over accross the net until a lot of people actually believe it.

May 14, 2008 7:19 pm

This whole subject is getting old , if fact it’s been old for a long time, yet the media kicks it up again Why? How many ways can they beat this dead horse? i just cannot work up the gumption to care anymore. What happend between George Takae and William Shatner 40 years ago and more recently they both need to turn the page so do the media outlets it isn’t a news worthy topic and it isnt even gossip worthy, Both these men are wealthy and successful, they don’t need to do this tit for tat thing its silly.

May 14, 2008 7:23 pm

I really don’t care who screwed who or anything about this “feud”. I can see where Shatner possibly could have done something to upset Takei and vice-versa..but what does it matter?
Two old men need to stop acting like brats and we all move on.


May 14, 2008 7:34 pm

#34: ““Early versions of “The Vengeance of Khan” never had any Sulu promotion stuff. So, seems like endless retellings of half-truths baked into an obviously false statement.”

Very true. I’ve got 3 versions of the script.”

Come on, guys – this is not at all difficult to research. Of course there’s a scene referring to Sulu’s promotion – here, scan this for starts:

And before someone offers up something lame about the script being tampered with, that site is far from being the only source in the world of this draft. It’s been available for decades.

I don’t believe that Shatner interfered with the scene – but claiming that it never existed is misinformed nonsense.

May 14, 2008 7:44 pm

Ilisten to stern everyday and yet i has dt omiss this today in the morning and afternoon replay crys SIRIUS 100 baby!!!

May 14, 2008 8:08 pm

I find it funny listening to the supporting cast year after year thrashing out at the star of the show… I think a lot of the “feud” is because it makes tabloid headlines, and let’s face it… actors like attention. Lord knows, they’re not gonna get it beyond a lot of overpriced convention appearances, so they get out there and make comments about an actor who is still vibrant and working, getting Emmys and starring in a top TV show.

I’m sure Mr. Shatner is telling the truth when he says he’s not bitter about the new movie… just disappointed. I can certainly understand why he would be… the train is going on without him… and with his “best friend” in the club car.

And at least Trek V has some enjoyable scenes in it… and you can tell that the film as a whole “means well”… just doesn’t quite make it. I think that has more to do with studio waffling and non-support and a writer’s strike than it has to do with Shatner’s direction. Some sequences in the film are the most cinematic in the whole series.

May 14, 2008 8:12 pm

George Takei is making a living at this point on bashing Shatner. It may or may not be true, but at this point he needs to let it go. The whole thing is getting tired.

Stanky McFibberich
May 14, 2008 8:16 pm

Takei is/was never going to be a star or the lead, or for that matter, a major player in a Star Trek production, Shatner or not. His character was never intended to be more than a supporting element of anything.
I’m almost starting to like Koenig more than Takei because of all of Takei’s whining, and I can’t stand Koenig.
The supporting players should be happy they even have a mention this many years later. Supporting players of any other shows of the time have been long forgotten for the most part.

May 14, 2008 8:26 pm

Daren Doc…

You really need to get hired on someday to work on a TREK V Special Edition. I know you hear that all the time, but fact is, if anyone can make that movie better, it’s you!

May 14, 2008 8:28 pm

“I don’t believe that Shatner interfered with the scene – but claiming that it never existed is misinformed nonsense.”

Misinformed nonsense? FYI– scripts go through many revisions…colored pages are used. I have several versions of many of the Trek Movie scripts. It’s fascinating to see how movies evolve. So, we aren’t saying it didn’t exist at one point; just that it wasn’t always there.

May 14, 2008 8:29 pm


Uhh, are you insinuating she slept with Martin Luther King, Jr.? Because…wow. Where’s your basis for that one?

May 14, 2008 8:43 pm
#42: He may not remember something like that. I know that I don’t remember things that other people did at work last WEEK, let alone 26 years ago (filming date for TWOK). I also think it’s hard to keep a square head on your shoulders when you’re the lead in a Hollywood project. A hundred or so people whose jobs depend on the lead will cater to him/her and I think it’s hard for people, especially actors who are needy for approval anyway, to always behave appropriately when you have sycophants telling you how wonderful you are, catering to your whims, giving you a sense of power. You have this unknown guy from Canada who all of a sudden is a star and from his own admission had very demanding parents, so to go from one behavioral paradigm to the other was probably bound to create some diva moments, but really, it’s not like the other cast mates were big stars before the show, so Takei blaming Shatner for his life not turning out perfectly is a bit much. He only worked with him part-time for three years on the show and had a bit of a movie career which he failed to parley into something more. Doohan, Koenig and Nicoles were only mediocre successes before Trek and after because they were mediocre. They were well-suited for their TOS parts, which is the only reason they had parts of any size in feature films because they were associated with Trek,… Read more »