PHXCC2012 – Death of Kirk, ‘Mythology’ Of Star Trek, Twilight Zone, Galaxy Quest + more [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

The Star Trek highlight of Phoenix Comicon on Saturday was William Shatner who delighted the packed crowd with stories from his life along with some of his insights into his career path, the nature of fandom, the mythology of Star Trek, how his Star Trek novels are actually autobiographical, and more. He even showed how he pranks stewardesses by reenacting his famous Twilight Zone episode. See below for highlights, quotes, photos and the full video.

 

PHOENIX COMICON – WILLIAM SHATNER ON SATURDAY

William Shatner appearing before a capacity crowd of 5,000 fans. Bill was his usual avuncular self, but also got serious at times. We have photos, highlights and full video of the event. Check it all out below (including a must-see story about Bill reenacting his look from Twilight Zone "Nightmare at 20,000 feet"  when he flies.

Highlights:

  • Opened with a couple of jokes about how he was amused Southwest Airlines instruct you on what to do in the event of a water landing when flying over the barren landscape between Burbank and Phoenix — "The only body of water that I can think of is in my bladder" got best response…he then moved to Q&A (after quick story about horses)
  • Says that sometimes when he flies his kids have got him to reenact his famous panicked look from Twilight Zone episode "Nightmare at 20,000 feet" (see video below at 46:28 mark)
  • Noted on a couple of occasions how he hates getting the question "What is your favorite Star Trek episode?"
  • Currently editing new documentary on Star Trek fans called "Get A Life!" which will air on Epix later this year and in Canada it will be longer and called "Fan Addicts"

Some selected quotes:

"He had a little tummy when he played me – a little pooch in his stomach – and I thought that was kind of mocking"
– Shatner on Tim Allen’s portrayal in Galaxy Quest

"Like with riding, I’ve only recently discovered how to act. I have been acting since I was six years old, but it is amazing about how you get older and physically less capable, your ability to distill the knowledge grows so that you know what to do, you can’t just do it as well."

"The actor just feels, brings up, remember, allows to penetrate and permeate the body. And without thinking, like riding the horse, without thinking, no thought, just feels. The actor feels the words, feels the feeling. And allows it to come out through whatever means it will come out. And that’s the art of acting that I have only recently discovered."
– Shatner on how when you get older you learn how do to things (from riding horses, to acting, etc)

"Twilight Zone? Science fiction? I don’t do science fiction, I am a Shakespearean actor…so I do this show and it is essentially me and this Czechoslovakian acrobat in a furry suit pretending to be a gremlin on the wing of an airplane. I thought, I just came off of Marlow and Tamurlaine the Great and I’m doing this thing looking out at this idiot on a wing…my career is wrecked before it even begins! I thought"
– Shatner on working on Twilight Zone

"There are universals, and it doesn’t matter what it looks like. Our special effects in Star Trek – looking back now with the computer generated effect that they have now and what JJ Abrams can do with the new movie – are ridiculous. Sometimes the set would shake when they opened the door and the director would say "would you mind bracing that, just put another nail in it for god’s sake." But it didn’t matter what it looked like. That is why we are here. It’s not for the sets and the special effects. We are here to celebrate our love of Star Trek because of the stories and the meaning."
– Shatner on 60’s shows like Twilight Zone and Star Trek compared to today

"I started to do my documentary ["Get A Life!"] and what I have discovered blows my mind. It turns out that we are all here [at a convention] because of the mythology. We lack a mythology in today’s culture. We don’t how to explain our lives. You can talk about religion and to religion is to many people a mythology that gives you explanation…We are here to celebrate this mythology of Star Trek and you are here to celebrate the ritual of a mythology. The cast, perhaps the captains, are there heroes of that mythology. And the wearing of the uniforms and the getting of the autographs and putting on [your head] the omelet that looked like Klingon – all that is participating in the ritual because it is what we love. It is our explanation of our lives for that moment. And the people that don’t know this are the poorer for it. So what looks to the outside world as "who are these Trekkies/Trekkers – what do they want?" They don’t know the secret that I discovered as part of this
film. We are here as part of a cultural myth. And it all makes sense."
– Shatner on what he learned making "Get A Life!" documentary

"’The Transformed Man’ was a failure because it wasn’t very good."
– Shatner on his 1968 debut album "The Transformed Man"

"The franchise of Star Trek is jealously guarded by the people at Paramount and at this point I think it is JJ Abrams – holding on to and not letting it get out of hand. But somehow they let me go with some novels. In fact on the death of Captain Kirk, I played the death and did it and I walked up to the producer Rick Berman and I said "I have an idea on how to bring him back" and I wrote a treatment and they turned it down but they allowed me to write the novel called "The Return." So I wrote the novel and it well received and successful and so they allowed me to write others. So then I began to write stories about Captain Kirk that involved me – Shatner. The journey that Shatner was going through…how Shatner felt about death in my life, how Shatner felt about the aging process and the desperate grasp onto youth and not wanting to a moment to go by without living it to its fullest. I began a series of novels that are autobiographical. I didn’t realize it fully until some time later. So when I came up with what stories to tell about Captain Kirk, they were the stories of me and my marriage, and the death of marriage and the love and enmity and the stories of things that happened to people I knew…So if you read any of those novels they are things that either happened to me or I thought about."
– Shatner on his series of Star Trek novels

Photos

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Video

NOTE: Due to unforeseen circumstances, we were not able to cover the Wil Wheaton "story time" panel.

More to come + live coverage

On Sunday there is a Star Trek TNG mega-panel with Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, LeVar Burton, Wil Wheaton and Brent Spiner. TrekMovie will have a report on that later.

For live coverage:

Photos and text by Anthony Pascale, video by Nai Wang

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Shat looks young in that photo!

Shat was great in “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” but I think John Lithgow did him one better in the movie version—the only segment of that movie worth watching, in my opinion.

Bill is pure entertainment.
Keep going, you!

Battle-scarred Sciatica

@1 Harry

I agree.

He must be on the same medication as Levar.

He looks great.

Love the Shat!

@2 The Vic Morrow segment was the most entertaining segment to me.

#5

To each his own.
But I don’t think Vic Morrow would agree.

#6.

Vultan, there’s no need to cut his head off over a simple remark.

Damn you Wil WHHHEEEEEEEEEEEAAAATTONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN

Love, Sheldon

Call me

#7

Oooo… It’s been 30 years, Harry, but I still feel like saying: “Too soon.”

Vic Morrow directed some of the best episodes of COMBAT! and was well liked among the other actors on the show as well. Nimoy and Morrow were friends back in the day. I don’t think it’s very funny at all to joke about his death in any context. Shame on you Harry, that was lacking class to the max.

7. Ouch!

Er, that’s what he sai…

Jesus. Sorry.

I didn’t read his fan book(s?) – but I wonder if Shatner ever realized that guest actors involved in the show get that same level of fan attention at these things, I think just for being part of something that gave fans a bit of hope about the future (and I think we mostly realize that it was just a job for them like any other)… am I wrong and just haven’t noticed the captain worship?

Maybe we don’t realize it was just a job and the actors weren’t setting out every day to make a statement about humanity and the future…

How does Mr. Shatner know what JJ Abrams can do with CGI in the new movie?

After 45-plus years of his selfish, narcissistic personality, I would think that if he were NOT in the new movie, he would be so pissed that he would never mention it. Don’t want to see it! he would protest, but now he’s awfully chatty about the “new movie” isn’t he? Hmmmmmmmmm….
Do we have another slip here?

Leonard Nimoy is “just talking” to the folks involved with the movie, because he talks to them “all the time,” and now the Shat Man is uncharacteristically mentioning “the next movie.”

They’ve gotta be in the next movie. Like the death knells of a disintegrating starship full of astonished Vulcans, I CAN FEEL IT!!!

Dee - lvs moon' surface

Great article Anthony Pascale… thanks… Mr. Shatner “rocks” again… ;-) :-)

12#
VulcanFilmCritic
Itake it not a Shatner fan
Then why are you here?
Oh hang on, Bill was in the Original series and is a BIG part of what made it sooo good. But of course you won’t accept that.
I guess your only here for the all the latest news on remakes/reboots with better CGI. Story not important.
Bill survives, as does original Trek.. where will Pine etc be in 40 years??????

@13 son-of-shatner
Is English your first language? If not, then maybe you didn’t understand what I was implying by my post.

Keachick - rose pinenut

I have not watched the video in full yet, but I take it that William Shatner was not rude to anyone and was merely being fairly honest about his motivations etc. I think it would be hard for him not to mention something about how this series of films is being made, special effects wise, when he is talking about how things were done on a 1960s Star Trek set. This is just a mean bit of nitpicking, VulcanFilmCritic.

Much of what is expressed in fiction starts with how the individual writer/actor is feeling. It is those feelings expressed in a creative, fictional manner which can give substance and meaning to a work of fiction. Otherwise, it would be flat.

As far as narcissism goes, Shatner probably fits in where the majority of the human race sits. The real narcissists are the ones who do a lot of harm to others. Shatner is not one of those people.

I am not sure what Pine has to do with this thread. Nobody knows where (Chris) Pine will be in 40 years, but then nobody knew where Shatner would be either.

Dario (from Argentina)

Again, thank you for uploading these videos and photos! From someone that cannot attend many of these cons. I appreciate it.

@16 Keachick This is William Shatner we’re talking about. Right?
Not narcissistic?

Did anyone see the ‘Shat’ on ‘Have I got news for you’? Very surreal, check it out on BBC iPlayer http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01jk677/Have_I_Got_a_Bit_More_News_for_You_Series_43_Episode_7/

I’m glad you guys cover the conventions so well, now I don’t have to pay to go!

Sheesh, can’t someone as rich as him do better than wearing a XXXL $10 shirt from Target, and maybe tuck it in as well? I mean, the guy looks like he just off a bus trip from Wichita to Dayton.

#21

Thank you, Joan Rivers.

When you’re in your 80s and look that good and have that much energy you’re entitled to wear whatever you want!

@22. Well, the late John Candy, who was a very large man like Shatner, always did his best to be reasonably well-dressed in public. You have to really have a huge ego I guess if you are that large, to show up in public in “fat pants” and cheap ill-fitting t-shirts. If I was out to dinner in public and my dad dressed like that, I would be embarrassed, and I would not be surprised to hear snickering around us at dinner.

@23. My grandfather, may he rest in peace (died at 90 years old a few years back), fought in WWII, and he would never have dreamed to dress like a fat slob in his 80’s, when he was still very active as well.

Bill is a national treasure! Make that, international.

@24

I hope you enjoy being dressed no less than business casual everywhere you go.

Some of us enjoy dressing ACTUALLY casually. Oh, and y’know, that other thing: comfortably.

Personally, I don’t really care how Shatner looks; he’s 81 years old. He’s made it. He’s earned the right to dress however he likes.

If I had his kind of money? I probably spend all day in a bathrobe and slippers…. ;-D

As a matter of fact, I’m not rich and I still dress casual most of the time.
I live in California; what the hell? ;-)

As for his Twilight Zone segment? I actually prefer his second episode, “Nick of Time” better (a nice cautionary tale against superstition). In both Star Trek and “Nick…” he was taking advice from a guy with pointed ears…. ;-P

9+10.

Sorry about that, guys!

Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire

Long Live the Shat!!!!!!

@29. John Landis, now there is one of the greatest scumbags in movie history.

Here we go again. Shat isn’t Nimoy. Shat isn’t Stewart. And Shat isn’t MJ’s dapper deceased Grandad.
Shat is Shat. And i do believe that is his right!

Hard to believe he’s 81. He could play a 60-year-old Kirk anytime! What can be done do UNDO Star Trek Generations?

@32 I never claimed that Shat didn’t have “the right” to go around dressed like Al Bundy.

@33 “Hard to believe he’s 81. He could play a 60-year-old Kirk anytime!”

Just when I think I am perhaps going overboard on Shat, a post like this reenergizes me and confirms my belief in what I am saying here! :-)

I don’t want to see anymore old guys trying to recapture the youth of their characters in any further movies. There is a reason why younger actors (with the exception of Simon Pegg, who is 42, though I suppose he acts younger) were brought in for the reboot.

“Star Trek” was starting to feel more like “Jurassic Trek” in it’s latter stages on the big screen.

#35
.
I’m not being “nice” to Shatner. I mean, look at the man!! “S– My Dad Says” showed how sharp his mind is, and how “clean” his acting can be. Working for television is way more tiring than making movies. He has the stamina. But does CBS have the guts to bring him back as Kirk? Hollywood has an extreme prejudice against olderly people. Only J.J.Abrams’ clout could bring Nimoy back, I suppose. Of course I loved the Star Trek reboot (and I hope it’s just the first of many in coming decades), but I’m sure NOBODY will get tired of seeing Shatner as Kirk and Nimoy as Spock. They’re good even when the script is bad (as in ST 5 – “Not in front of the Klingons.”).

@37. Well this proves certainly that two people, looking at the same thing, can draw remarkably different conclusions. I see a red-faced 300 pound guy…sorry, but that is not the Captain Kirk I remember.

#37.

“S–My Dad Says” was cancelled after one season. Shatner was acting as himself in it. I saw a couple of episodes and they stunk. It was canned because the show sucked, and Shatner had done better work in the past.

Some of us prefer seeing the new cast take the lead. William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy gave us iconic characters. We’re grateful for that. But at some point, the Trek franchise has to move forward.

#39
.
I agree that we have to move on, that’s why I said I hope this will be the first reboot of many to come!!
.
#38
.
I’m NOT saying he should run and fight as Kirk. He could just be an older kirk, teaching at Academy, writing a book, rediscovering his old friendships, I don’t know. I just think it was a shame not to let his character live and age. He has the stamina to do whatever he wants, and he has continually proved it. Of course he’ll never be brought back, mainly because he will never accept a cameo, and Hollywood will never give a “go” to a multi-million-dollar project to a person who could simply die of old age in the middle of the production. That’s how Hollywood sees older actors. Oops, 3:18 a.m. in Rio! Time to nigh nigh!

Keachick - rose pinenut

#18 – I said no more narcissistic than most other human beings. Some just learn to hide that side of their natures better than others. It depends how the narcissism is defined. When I think of William Shatner, I think – Captain Kirk of Star Trek and horses. When I think of Leonard Nimoy, all I immediately think of is Spock, and more Spock.

Why does Leonard Nimoy have to be on the set of the making of the sequel if he has so much confidence in Zachary Quinto’s ability to be a good Spock? In a site where speculation is the most common of occupations among posters, I have speculated that the reason that Leonard Nimoy is around the set is that he can’t let go of the Spock character and doesn’t think that anyone else can play him like he did, so much in love he is with his Spock and his abilities.

One could say that William Shatner is miffed because he is not part of this Star Trek film series. However, on the other hand, although part of him might want to be there, he knows it is time to move on and let a younger man take the reins, has the confidence that Chris Pine will do the Kirk character justice and just lets Chris get on with it.

There are so many different ways of looking at a person’s actions and what they say, especially when not everything is totally transparent.

@41 “Why does Leonard Nimoy have to be on the set of the making of the sequel if he has so much confidence in Zachary Quinto’s ability to be a good Spock? In a site where speculation is the most common of occupations among posters, I have speculated that the reason that Leonard Nimoy is around the set is that he can’t let go of the Spock character and doesn’t think that anyone else can play him like he did, so much in love he is with his Spock and his abilities.”

What do you base this on? With Shat, we have years of quotes and comments that pretty much proves he’s an egoist who can’t let go, but with Nimoy, I don’t see anything he has said that supports one iota of your conjecture here.

Nimoy is a class act who deserved to be involved in the reboot; I can’t say the same for Shat. I think this conjecture that basically infers that Nimoy visited the set for some selfish reasons has no basis in reality whatsoever.

Please don’t try to give Shat a free pass by claiming that Nimoy has essentially the same motivations — that is not going to fly here with a lot of us.

#10,
VIC: I knew I asked for a short haircut, but this is ridiculous!

#35,
yeah – too bad no one gives a shit. Go open a window.

I always thought, tweek this a little bit, and Ashes of Eden & The Return would make great animated Star Trek. Not so much a series, more the odd feature-length animation based on the Shatnerverse novels. Sort of in the spirit of WB’s various Batman and other superhero efforts on DVD. Sort of Clone Wars in what are potentially lost entries in the film series. The Ashes of Eden is perfect. While mostly set between VI and the Generations opening scenes, it’s framed at the beginning and end, with Spock visiting Kirk’s grave and Starfleet carving up the Enterprise’s saucer section – removing any evidence for Veridians to find. It also has that moment set during Kirk’s younger days going up against the Vampire Cloud. I’d get Chris Pine to provide the voice for that part. Various TOS cast members back in their roles, with likely impersonators for Scotty and McCoy. It was done as a graphic novel and I loved that the villain was human and an old rival of Kirk’s. Pulling the Enterprise-A out of mothballs and having it go down fighting, IIRC against Excelsior and the rest of Starfleet. Then do The Return but some adjustment here and there to make it better. I like its mix of Kirk and Spock alongside a TNG crew (split between differing new assignments after Generations) plus Bashir & Quark putting in a cameo. The female Romulan with a grudge against Kirk, enough to go grave robbing and use him in… Read more »

At least the effort will make the wait between Abramsverse films more bearable, while adding something else to reinterest fans in the back catalogue of TOS/TNG already seen countless times over.

What I do find great in “The Return”, is Picard being more like the TV character, than the action hero he was in the films. The first time he’s in the book, it’s on a mission with Beverly Crusher and some Special Forces-type from Starfleet, to a Starbase that’s been assimilated. He’s vulnerable and it’s a bit reminiscent of “Chain of Command”. There using his Locutus alter-ego to get in and out with intelligence on them.

The ending is pretty contrived, in expectation of a follow-up. Borg tech running through Kirk’s system, being diagnosed irreversible, basically leads to another sacrifice like Data’s in Nemesis and that’s a bit pointless given the whole point of him being resurrected. Having struggled through Avenger and Kirk’s fate resolved there so implausably it can only be referred to and described matter-of-factly by the character – I feel if this were being adapted for the screen, they would just fix him and leave no part of The Return left dangling. He helps destroy the Borg central node. Both Picard & Kirk get back to the Enterprise and the other demands the nanites be removed, expecting to die but some residule bio energy from Chal changes the rules or whatever.

The man is a legend.

Anyone else catch Willy on “Have I got News for you” the other night?

He was pretty funny.

Any chance of an article on that AP?

They should make The Return as a telemovie now. Who cares about the age difference, i think you would forget that pretty quick.

I would like the end to be a little stronger, some clever way that Kirk outwits Picard to save the day.

If they did it as a mini series it could explore the connection Kirk and Picard would have now both had been assimilated.

I see money in the story.

I don’t understand why Shatner still claims to have written those novels. He’s never even seen any of the other TV series, many elements of which are interwoven into the novels. It’s been common knowledge since pretty much the first book’s release that Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens ghost-write them all for him, just as Ron Goulart wrote all of the Tek novels and Michael Tobias wrote believe. Shatner’s never written a novel in his life. Star Trek V shows the type of novel we’d get if he ever did.

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