Watch: Wil Wheaton & William Shatner’s Dueling Narrations For NASA’s New Mars Rover |
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Watch: Wil Wheaton & William Shatner’s Dueling Narrations For NASA’s New Mars Rover July 30, 2012

by Staff , Filed under: Celebrity,Science/Technology,Shatner,TNG,Viral Video/Mashup/Images , trackback

Once again NASA looks to Star Trek to help tell their story. Today the space agency released two versions of a video about the Curiosity Rover (aka Mars Science Laboratory) which is scheduled to touch down on the surface of Mars next week. And to satisfy fans of different generations one version of the video is narrated by original Star Trek star William Shatner and the other has Next Generation’s Wil Wheaton. Watch both below.        



Wheaton and Shatner preview Curiosity’s Mission To Mars

On August 5th, the Mars Curiosity Rover will go through what NASA is calling "seven minutes of terror" as the craft goes through a complicated entry procedure to land on the surface of Mars. Curiosity is the biggest rover sent to Mars yet and the landing is very complicated.

Curiosity’s "seven minutes of terror"

To help people understand the mission, NASA today released a new video all about Curiosity and its complex entry to Mars. They put out two versions of the video, one narrated by William Shatner and one narrated by Wil Wheaton. The videos and narration script are the same, so you choose which Star Trek vet you want telling the story…

Shatner version

Wheaton version

For more on the Curiosity Mars Science lab visit


1. ados - July 30, 2012

I’ll take Wils view

2. chris - July 30, 2012

Shatner’s version please.

3. Shilliam Watner (Click for Trek Ships Poster) - July 30, 2012

Shatner has one of the best narration voices in the industry. I have to give him the nod.

4. Crewman Darnell - July 30, 2012

Shatner also did a fabulous job narrating the “Mars Rising” series on the Science Channel. I’m totally stoked for what will hopefully be a perfect landing of the Curiosity rover.

5. garth - July 30, 2012

Wheaton was good.. but Shatner’s was better.

6. Your Father's Star Trek - July 30, 2012

Shatner’s narration is the voice of wisdom and experience.
Wheaton’s is the enthusiasm of youth.
Kudos to both Trek vets. Anything that serves to heighten public interest in science and space exploration can only be for the good.

7. D - July 30, 2012

Hopefully everything goes well. There are an awful lot of “ifs” in this landing. I trust NASA to have checked and double checked everything they can, but it’s usually that thing you just didn’t consider that bites ya.

8. ben spratling - July 30, 2012

Neither as good at all. Shatner sounded like they had to re-record words he forgot to say the first time. Had lots of trouble saying “minute”.

Wheaton sounds like “Hi, I’m talking like LeVar in Reading Radio. Actually worse. I was a child actor, but I’m not him anymore! See? I have a beard! I’m someone else! I can talk intensely.” Give me his Eureka character any day.

9. HeavyHDx - July 30, 2012

Wil Wheaton was better, i don’t like the way Shatner is speaking… Or i’m just a too big Wil wheaton-fan i don’t know^^

10. Shilliam Watner (Click for Trek Ships Poster) - July 30, 2012

I really hope that jettisoned heat shield doesn’t kill any Martians.

11. RAO - July 30, 2012

Captain Kirk could make first contact, have sex with their women, and negotiate a treaty by noon. Wesley would’ve been bitch slapped off the bridge and hasn’t seen a vagina since (if you count Worf’s forehead).

Argument is closed, gentlemen..

12. Techtrekker - July 30, 2012

Shatner please.

13. Lostrod - July 30, 2012


“Neither as good at all. Shatner sounded like they had to re-record words he forgot to say the first time. Had lots of trouble saying “minute”.

Uh, not sure how you got that nit pick. Even with my hearing loss I had no trouble understanding either one. Particularly not Mr. Shatner.


14. sean - July 30, 2012

Bill sounds like he’s reading a script whereas Wil sounds genuinely enthusiastic about the subject. A bit too much at first, actually, but he evens out as it goes on.

15. JR - July 30, 2012

Shatner a bit un-enthused… too sleepy…. Wheaton… a bit too excited. Wheaton’s version commands more attention. Perhaps a Take 2?

16. DiscoSpock - July 30, 2012

#8 – Wow, someone must’ve peed in your Cheerios this morning!

Shatner doesn’t struggle with any words here, especially the word “minutes.” The closest thing to a problem is the word “terror,” which lots of people slur into “turrrrr” like Shatner does here. Aside from that, every word was clearly enunciated. (How do YOU pronounce “minutes” if not the way Shatner–and every person ever–says it?)

As for Wheaton, I guess you’re referring to “Reading Rainbow” (not “Reading Radio”), but you don’t know what you’re talking about. Wheaton doesn’t sound any different than he does as the host of TableTop or anything other project, including his Eureka character.

I doubt you actually listened to the narrations, since your observations don’t match even slightly what either man does here.

17. James Heaney - July 30, 2012

Wil is the cooler person.

Bill is the better narrator.

18. Dee - lvs moon' surface - July 30, 2012

I prefer Mr. Shatner version…

19. Andy Patterson - July 30, 2012

Shatner always used words as a weapon. I noticed that as a kid. It impressed me. He disarmed computers and alien races with emphasis on diction and elocution. He charmed alien babes and robots into hs good graces. You could tell language was important to him. People have caricatured him and mis described him into whatever it is they say about him. I’ve since heard him say how important speaking was to him. I’d take Shat’s narration any day.

20. joe schmoe - July 30, 2012

Wil Wheaton Wesley Weenie

21. Glob - July 30, 2012

Bill is a FAR more charasmatic actor, Wheaton a better comedian. Shatners’ voiceover work has always suffered from lack of his full physical engagement in the acting.. His animated series Kirk voice was dull, and his computer game Kirk (Judgment Rites) is practically asleep. (I remember one scene when a starship literally blows up on his video screen and he mumbles “… my god…” like he couldn’t care less.)

Interestingly, you can get these clips to both play simultaneously but after a while they get out of sync. Clearly, a little editing was done to time the video to the pace of the narration.

22. Mikephys - July 30, 2012

Mr. Shatner has excellent voice skills, but I have to go with Wil’s enthusiasm on this topic.

23. captain realistic - July 30, 2012

Anyone notice Shatner makes a real cameo and Wheaton doesn’t. I bet there is a rider in a contract somewhere! HA

24. Andy Patterson - July 30, 2012

@21 “His animated series Kirk voice was dull”

Well, I will agree with you on that. I always felt a bit disappointed by that aspect of the cartoon.

25. Jerry Modene - July 30, 2012

Well, that’s what happens when an actor phones in his performance – literally. ;)

26. Suellen from Savannah - July 30, 2012

I got to give it to Shatner. His voice over work and narration is excellent.

27. David H - July 30, 2012

This is not Shatner’s best voice-over work, but I have to say that I like his better. It’s not so much about talent as it is preference on the voice itself. Shatner’s voice simply fits the Discovery Channel style documentary. Will’s voice sounds more like he belongs on Animal Planet

28. RetroWarbird - July 31, 2012

Shatner’s delivery has a sort of gravitas that is rarely beat. He’s a knowledgable guy, too, so anytime you hear him doing voice work for scientific endeavors and shows, it feels like he’s happy to be learning something, knowing it, and helping share it. (Although Nimoy’s voice was even weightier! In fact, Trek has a pretty substantial history of great, historic voices. There’s a lot fewer modern actors who are so easily recognizable by their voices and the credibility that comes with a distinct voice.)

Wheaton’s great, too. I get a mild kick out of hearing him described as having the “enthusiasm of youth”. The man is 40, right? But he does have a youthful, jovial way of speaking.

29. Thomas - July 31, 2012


I was also thinking Nimoy would do a great job on this.

If you’re looking beyond Trek, one name comes to mind: Morgan Freeman.

30. William Kirk - July 31, 2012

Mr. Shatner,please.

31. Johnny O - July 31, 2012


32. Chris Doohan - July 31, 2012

Wil Wheaton gets my vote

33. Horatio - July 31, 2012

OMG, Shatner by LIGHT YEARS. Wheaton’s is fine but I felt I was watching the Disney Channel science minute.

BTW, i’m pretty skeptical that this new landing method NASA is trying out will work. Seems like there are way to many chances for this thing to fail. I hope it doesn’t, of course.

34. Marilda Molina - July 31, 2012


35. Raan Joseph - July 31, 2012

Shatner. Hands down.

36. David H - July 31, 2012

Of course, the only reason we’re even having this debate is because Patrick Stewart wasn’t part of the discussion…

37. DiscoSpock - July 31, 2012

#34 So, you’re voting for Wheaton, right? ;)

38. Slow - July 31, 2012

Wheaton is better

39. VulcanFilmCritic - July 31, 2012

Neither. Shatner is just phoning it in and Wheaton sounds like an amateur.
If Shatner couldn’t drum up the enthusiasm for a mission of this scope, then they should have hired someone who could.
Patrick Stewart or Michael Dorn would have been just awesome. And that’s what you need here…awesomeness.

40. Quatlo - July 31, 2012

Shatner always over Pestley Crusher, by 154 million miles in this instance. NASA should also the Shat to explain why this Rube Goldberg contraption failed as well. Way too complicated and makes the other rover landing inside a phalanx of air bags seem sensible. Parachute opens at 1,000 mph? Gotta get some of that cord, beats the hell out of any 550 cord. Supposedly. Good luck to them and I hope to be proven the fool on this.

41. Lt. Bailey - July 31, 2012

Shatner gets my vote for the better narration.

42. NCC-73515 - July 31, 2012

Watching them simultaneously is funny :D

43. V'ger - July 31, 2012

Kirk would never allow Wesley on his bridge.

44. Vultan - July 31, 2012

Write-in candidate: Morgan Freeman.

Come on, NASA, if you’re gonna go, go with the best. “Through the Wormhole” is an outstanding show.

45. Phil - July 31, 2012

Both are good, but I think I prefer Shatner here….

46. jerry - July 31, 2012

I’d have to go with Bill. Will sounds like he rehearsed too much.

47. Ensign RedShirt - July 31, 2012

I’ll go with Bill too.

48. Shilliam Watner (Click for Trek Ships Poster) - July 31, 2012

32. Chris Doohan – Traitor!!!!

Just kidding. Hey, how tall are the dilithium crystal vials? I couldn’t find the dimensions anywhere on your site. You know, if you advertised them as dilithium crystal meth, you could probably get ten times the price ;-)

49. Harry Ballz - July 31, 2012

32. Chris Doohan “Wil Wheaton gets my vote”

Uh, Chris, let’s be diplomatic here, without mentioning the other guy’s name.

Did you cast your vote for Wheaton because, in your opinion, the other guy has spent his life resembling and acting like the back end of a certain animal he likes to ride?

If protocol and political correctness dictate that you can’t answer in the affirmative, just reply, “NEVER!”

(we’ll understand) :>)

50. CmdrR - July 31, 2012

Shame, Harry.
Hang your Ballz in shame, sir.

51. CmdrR - July 31, 2012

It’s tax money. They’ll pay for both.

52. Harry Ballz - July 31, 2012


At my age, CmdrR, do I have a choice?

53. Crewman Darnell - August 1, 2012

I have to agree that Wheaton’s spunky delivery sounded like an “Animal Planet” narration. In all fairness though, while listening to Shatner’s voice-over, he sounded a bit tired and I perceived a new, slight lisp at times in his voice that reminded me a bit of Nimoy’s dialogues in Trek 09. A bit mushy. Given the ages of both latter men, a little mush-mouth is totally understandable. I prefer Shatner’s mature performance over Wheaton’s “HIYA! KIDS!” {{{Tail briskly wagging}}} approach, but I can understand why that would appeal to some. It makes sense that NASA chose two different recognizable Trek faces to represent the separate Trek generations.

54. vulcanFilmCritic - August 1, 2012

@53. Yeah, Shatner does sound a little weird. But I can’t attribute it to age. I just saw him a few months ago on stage in “Shatner’s World.” His delivery was as crisp and sonorous as ever. And it was a two hour show. For an eighty-one year old guy, he had tremendous stamina, IMHO.

P.S. I also heard the more frail Leonard Nimoy giving a reading at Symphony Space a few weeks ago. Although he sounds like an old man, and his voice is reedy, and he has a lot of dental hardware in his mouth, he was still able to give a great reading of a short story about Central Park. We were just enthralled.
I think Shatner is just bored and uninterested.

55. Crewman Darnell - August 1, 2012

@54. Coincidentally I’ve recently seen two older neighbor friends getting used to their first set of synthetic choppers, the adjustments, etc and I was reminded of Nimoy’s narrations in Trek 09. I’ve heard Shatner’s voice in *so* many performances since childhood. I’d betcha’ bacon he had something going on, dental-wise at that time. Not trying to pick on anybody, but one can clearly see receding gum-lines in the closeups of some prime actors in TOS. Dentures and/or dental surgery were inevitable later. I heard some difference in Shatner’s voice. Whatever dental reasons, he will still always be The Captain!

56. Harry Ballz - August 1, 2012

55. “Whatever dental reasons, he will still always be The Captain!”


57. Jay - August 1, 2012

OT— I’m getting sick of the Abrams secrecy. It’s time to start showing something. We are starting to see trailers for films coming out next spring and summer, so where and when is the Trek trailer??

10 months out… time for something.

58. Jay - August 1, 2012

Correction – 9 1/2 months. Didn’t realize it was that close.

Time for teaser trailer for sure.

59. T'Cal - August 1, 2012

I choose Hwil Hweaton.

60. BuzzCagney - August 1, 2012

They must have spent all their money on Shatner!

#49 or just perhaps Its based on nothing more than a certain other actor who made the mistake of thinking he was the star, and not a support actor, and carried the grudge to his old age. All very sad really.

61. CmdrR - August 1, 2012

52 – You were supposed to reply: “Yes, sir. I hang them in shame. Consider me well hung.”

62. Sebastian S. - August 1, 2012

I’m going to Pasadena to watch the landing this weekend at the Planetfest. Bill Nye, Robert Picardo and others will be there. As for the documentary? I don’t really care too much who narrates it, but I think Shatner has a better narrator’s voice; although I like Wil Wheaton better personally (I’ve met him a couple times at conventions and he’s a great guy).

Apples and oranges; besides, I’ll probably wind up watching both anyway…


63. Harry Ballz - August 1, 2012


You, CmdrR, are a master baiter, but I, for one, am not going to take the bait! :>)

64. CmdrR - August 1, 2012

Please yourself, Harry.

65. LizardGirl - August 1, 2012

Meh. Neither. They both sound like they didn’t have time to rehearse. I like Shatner’s voice when he’s at his best, but I don’t think this was one of his best narrations.

66. Sebastian S. - August 2, 2012

Vultan (in post #44) had the best idea; Morgan Freeman…. the voice of God himself (hee hee).

Seriously; I love Freeman’s “Through the Wormhole” series and his soothing, earthy yet intellectual voice would be perfect for this.
Best idea yet, Vultan.

67. Thorny - August 2, 2012

66… The problem with Mr. Freeman is I would keep expecting the Visa logo to pop up!

68. Vultan - August 2, 2012


Thanks, Sebastian, though the idea is not exactly groundbreaking, I admit. Freeman is pretty much filling the void James Earl Jones left once he went into semi-retirement, and Orson Welles before him.

Have a great time in Pasadena. Be careful on the highways—I hear there’s a little old lady from there… (Go, Granny, go, Granny, go Granny go)


69. obviously - August 2, 2012

#57…THANK YOU! I am with you all the way. Tired of the “no news”. Where is the teaser? What is the identity of Cumberbatch’s character? Where are the updates on this site??????? Sick of seeing Bill and Will at the top of the page. In the infamous words of Patrick Henry, “Give me Trek or give me death!”. COME ON JJ!!!! THROW US A BONE HERE!!!!

70. Sebastian S. - August 2, 2012

# 68

This is California… I’ll just run her over. ;-D

You’re right; Freeman is filling the post Welles/JEJ void. But he also has a more soothing, relaxed air to his voice that the other two (as much as I admire them) lack.

71. Vultan - August 2, 2012


Yeah, you’re right. Pretty rare voice to be both soothing and serious at the same time. Had no idea before “Through the Wormhole” he was such a science geek. Just another reason to like the guy.

72. Vultan - August 2, 2012

Here’s another video detailing the Curiosity Rover, this one far more dynamic (and exciting!) than the ones shown above:

73. Rick Sternbach - August 2, 2012

A bunch of us will be at Planetfest in Pasadena, CA watching Curiosity’s progress with Bill Nye and Bob Picardo and tons of scientists, writers, and yes, even artists. We in the IAAA, the International Association of Astronomical Artists, are teaming up with the Planetary Society to run a big space art show Saturday and Sunday. The Society is also going to webcast the whole affair, and I discovered that even XBox Live has a live event planned (they’ve got NASA videos and games and such up right now). Going to be pretty exciting.

74. Azrael - August 2, 2012

Hey everyone, apparently is running a 45 percent off sale on Star Trek dvds right now. Just passing the word along to people I think might be interested. I get email “flyers” from them every month, the notice about this sale came in today, so like I said I thought some of you all would possibly want to know.

75. Buzz - August 3, 2012

Shatner for sure!

76. - Doug - August 3, 2012

I’m a huge fan of Wil Wheaton – particularly his geek-centric work after TNG. But, I’m giving Mr. Shatner the +1 on this. Wil’s voice is _too_ eager, _too_ emphatic; the Shat exudes experience, confidence, and is an easier voice to listen to.

Interestingly – if I had not heard the one first, I might have been happy with the other; I wonder if the results would have been different had TrekMovie put Wil’s before William’s….

77. TrekMadeMeWonder - August 3, 2012

I almost commented on this article.


It just wans’nt Star Trek’y enough.

78. Phil - August 3, 2012

Oh, come on TMMW….real space stuff isn’t Trek’y enough? I’m kinda excited about exploring strange new worlds……

79. Number 3 - August 3, 2012

OT……GHEEZ, it’s frackin August 3,2012 and we still don’t have a title for the next movie.Come on guys.Bob, are you there? Wassup?I’ll keep checking back.
BTW, Nimoy would’ve been my pic for the narration.

All my best

80. Azrael - August 3, 2012

So the rumors that Khan will be in the sequel are apparently correct. It is not the character of Khan Singh, but an actress named Hina Khan.

81. Plum - August 3, 2012

Shatner is a master, of course. But I loved Will Wheaton’s narration! Nice job!

82. T'Cal - August 3, 2012


Wake me when some real Star Trek news is posted. Ya know, stuff about the yet-to-be-titled mega-movie due out in 10 months with no known plot, no known villain, no full character list, etc.? This is getting pathetic. It’s making me worry if it can possibly live up to the hype. Likely, no.

83. Uberbot - August 3, 2012

Anthony is missing in action again…somebody wake up Anthony — he’s asleep at the keyboard again!! LOL!!

84. Ahmed - August 3, 2012

@83. Uberbot

Usually, I don’t like when this happen, but to be fair, there is nothing new to be reported these days.

85. Ric - August 4, 2012

there is more enthusiasm from Will… he tends to emphasize more important moments more… Shatner used to do this but he sounds like he is just reading from a script and tends to fade off too often… Will seems to (and yes this surprises me) does a better job as a narrator… Will for me you have the job – well done… welcome back

86. Armus Ate My Baby - August 4, 2012

Welcome back from what??

He’s been in a lot of stuff over the past few years and has published a bunch of books. I love his role in Leverage. =D

87. Phil - August 4, 2012

Hey, the rover lands tomorrow night….hopefully!??!!

88. ados - August 4, 2012

If that landing fails…and I think that is remote…it will be the most filmed fail ever…they have about 9 cams and 1 sat watching the re-entry

89. T'Cal - August 4, 2012


90. Daoud - August 4, 2012

They’ll nail their landing like an American gymnast.
Question is… will be running silent, running deep and not post anything about it for a while. Looks like we have another one of those burps going.
Meanwhile, hope everyone’s caught The Star Wars That I Used To Know:

91. Legate Damar - August 4, 2012

Jesus Christ! Wil Wheaton’s 40. I guess I should have known that he was old now since the show was on in the eighties, but I still think of him as a teenager.

92. Jack - August 4, 2012

“It’s making me worry if it can possibly live up to the hype”

But you just said that there is no hype. :)

93. Anthony Thompson - August 4, 2012

I’m stating to hear crickets chirp…

Hey AP, you haven’t reported on the actor cast as a meter maid in the sequel!

94. Daoud - August 5, 2012

I’m waiting for someone to parody The Star Wars That I Used To Know with The Star Trek That I Used To Know…. if someone could convince Bill to be painted…. hmmmmm…..

95. T'Cal - August 5, 2012

Don’t use that logic crap on me, Jack! Where’s the teaser??? What’s the title?? Who is BC playing?

96. Daoud - August 5, 2012

The teaser is rewatching Space Seed, Whom Gods Destroy, and TWOK. The title is: “The Star Trek: That I Used To Know”. BC is playing Kelvin Garth, crazed former Starfleet captain healed by illegal Antosian techniques which allow him to shapeshift… when he first appears, he is leading the Botany Bay Augments in the guise of Khan Noonien Singh. So he “is” Khan, but he “isn’t”.

97. Red Dead Ryan - August 5, 2012


I just got word from Paramount in regards to a brief plot synopsis, title, and who Benedict Cumberbatch is playing.


First of all, the title will be “Star Trek: Something Else Happens”. The plot deals with some sort of bad guy, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. When the Enterprise encounters him, stuff happens. Phasers are fired, punches thrown, Red Shirts killed, and Keenser cries. A lot of stuff happens in the movie. Stuff is good. Can’t tell you if Spock stuffs Uhura, though. :-)

98. Daoud - August 5, 2012

Sing it Ryan:
“My, my, this here Benedict guy….”
“Space Invader? Villain Captain? Something else? Don’t know why…”
“And Captain Kirk and his supersized E”
“With its ample two nacelles will run free…”
“Red shirts died… and Keenser cried….”
“McCoy was tired… and phasers fired…”
Have you ever noticed how the tagline for Star Trek (2009) was “The Future Begins”? That’s almost “The Saga Begins”.

99. Daoud - August 5, 2012

“A long long space ago
“I can still remember how
“That Star Trek used to make me smile
“And I knew if I had to reboot
“That I could make those actors more cute
“And maybe they’d be Trekkies for a while

100. Jeremy - August 5, 2012

Its an unfair comparision. The script and music fits Wheaton’s style a little bit better. Shatner is better at documentaries not these one minute “news briefs” that NASA puts out.

101. Charles E. Higgins - August 5, 2012

I prefer Shatner’s bass voice for this brief documentary. It is better known anyway from his work with as their commercial spokeman. Wil Wheaton has developed into a good young actor but still lacks that maturity that Shatner had even when he was the young captain of the Enterprise.

102. drkmater - August 5, 2012

Shatner, hands down. There’s a reason why he narrates so many docs, he’s good at it!

103. Ann Thompson - August 5, 2012

Both of these fine actors have positives to provide to the narration, but I must choose William Shatner’s version. He offers the deep timber of age and experience, while Wheaton offers the enthusiasm of youth. I think you have made fine choices to pick from NASA and I look forward to the entire experience Curiosity will bring to us on the “Blue Planet.”

104. Gurubu - August 5, 2012

Even though i’m a Star Trek fan this guy did the best narration of that video sequence. more science less fluff

105. Phobos - August 6, 2012

I vote Shatner.
Wheaton was good but there is some special about Shatner.

106. Greg Goodman - August 6, 2012

Sorry Westley, you didn’t stand a chance. is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.