William Shatner Weighs In On ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ And Canon

Star Trek’s original captain William Shatner is well known  for being prolific on Twitter, but every once in a while he dives into the world of Reddit (and TrekMovie has verified the account is authentic). In the last couple of weeks he posted there to promote the online auction of various bits of Hollywood memorabilia for his upcoming Hollywood Charity Horse Show. While he was there, he got engaged in some of the discussions, and last night he commented on one of the many about Star Trek: Discovery in the r/startrek subreddit. In a thread called “It’s disgusting how the new Trek doesn’t respect its history” (which was actually a bit of a parody thread mocking those who are pre-judging the show), Bill weighed in:

I just love how frazzled some of you get about canon. It’s a show and they are doing a prequel to something that was made 50 years ago. Star Trek was always more about the stories and messaging than the look. If they screw that up; roast em alive and kick em in the you know what! If they don’t; then enjoy it. Kirk out!

Bill’s comment to nitpicking fans about Star Trek being “something that was made 50 years ago” is reminiscent of his classic Saturday Night Live “Get a Life!” sketch from 1986.

Shatner talks Kirk’s death scene and waiting for the sequel

Earlier this week William Shatner was a guest on the Hallmark Channel show Home & Family and during the interview Bill recounted an experience of a horse falling on him and injuring his leg and how he struggled to get up after the accident, saying he used the experience as inspiration for the death scene in Star Trek: Generations:

That getting up and falling down, when it came to play the time of Captain Kirk dying I thought “shot in the back, stand up, fall down, stand up, fall down. Struggle to live, and then let go. And then wait for the sequel [laughs]

He also talks about how he gave horse riding advice to Sir Patrick Stewart when shooting Generations, telling him to wear women’s nylons to avoid chaffing. Bill also participated in a DIY segment where they built a home-made Star Trek captains chair. During the segment Shatner talked about when he was working on the original Star Trek the buttons on his chair always came off when he pressed them. Watch the full episode online.

Bill on getting his start with Star Trek and how Star Wars brought Trek back in the 70s

Another stop on his media tour promoting his new book “Spirt of the Horse” was DirecTV’s Rich Eisen Show where Bill talked about getting the call to be on Star Trek and how surprised he was that the franchise came back in the 70s thanks to a popular gag reel. He also attributed to the success of Star Wars to Paramount giving a green light to Star Trek: The Motion Picture. You can watch that full interview below.

Hollywood Charity Horse Show

The Hollywood Charity Horse Show is next weekend on June 3rd. The dinner is sold out but fans the Arena Show is free and open to the public. The event is at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank, CA and starts at 5:30. For more info visit HorseShow.org. You can also help the charity and get some cool memorabilia in his Online Silent Auction.

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Make it hose!

Shatner looks 20 years younger than his 86 years. I hope that I have his joy of life if I live that long.

No kidding! He looks amazing.

Amazing enough to appear on Discovery!!! The next time we hear Bill talk about Trek , I hope it is a guest appearance!!!
Usually he says he knows nothing about the shows. At least he knew this was a prequel. Seemed to be informed a bit.

Oh please god no. Please no gimmicky appearances by Shatner. His time is done!

He’s just digging an even bigger grave for the franchise. Why is he even still relevant?



Re: Why is he even still relevant?

Careful, it’s that kind of slippery slope thinking that any one of us has the right to declare the irrelevancy of another that led to the otherwise empathy capable majority of German people under Nazi rule to turn a blind eye to the extermination of millions of Shatner’s and Nimoy’s fellow Jews as well as other lives just as flippantly labelled for other equally capricious reasons. That vile lulled seduction was what the Trek episode PATTERNS OF FORCE’s narrative was meant to warn generations against.

Besides, the existence of this article and its citations of many recent Shatner interviews already answered your irrelevant question before you decided to go ahead and ask it anyway, out of irrational and undeserved contempt.

It’s incredible! How does he do it? He is truly blessed.

Special effects and a lot of botox

Weekly injections of blood from Nolan Ryan.

He is rich and happy. A very good combination!

Rich and unhappy a deadly combination…

Right. True.

Well my respect for him has grown. Maybe I won’t mind if he stays alive.

Who are the people with Shatner in the picture at top? Is that Sugar Ray Leonard in the captain’s chair?

It is Sugar Ray Leonard and the cast of a home improvement show.

The woman is Debbie Matenopoulos.

Thank you Bill Shatner for putting things in perspective. The man is absolutely right.

“It’s a show and they are doing a prequel to something that was made 50 years ago. Star Trek was always more about the stories and messaging than the look. If they screw that up; roast em alive and kick em in the you know what! If they don’t; then enjoy it. Kirk out!”

Word, Captain. Thanks.

Shame only the hard core fans will be watching their one and only season of Discovery..

Even without airing, the licensing deals for the show with Netflix guarantee a profit by covering the production costs. A second d season is more or less guaranteed.

What a guy!

“I just love how frazzled some of you get about canon. It’s a show and they are doing a prequel to something that was made 50 years ago. Star Trek was always more about the stories and messaging than the look. If they screw that up; roast em alive and kick em in the you know what! If they don’t; then enjoy it. Kirk out!”

Holy Sugar Cane, I actually agree 100% with the Shat-man. World must be ending tomorrow. :O

Nope. Still here.

Bill is just plain awesome. :)

I get where the Shat is coming from. Each new iteration of Trek has played around with continuity in their own way. The difference is, until Enterprise, the narrative was always moving forward. If we had a look back, it was within an episode that contributed to the character growth of whomever that episode was about (TNG: Tapestry, DS9: Necessary Evil, VOY: Flashback).

With Enterprise already having gone the prequel route with mixed results, fans and any interested parties are just flummoxed why can’t you just set a Trek show post-Voyager or flash forward another 100 years or so. That way, the slate is going to be wiped clean anyway without making this prequel/reboot/transdimensional story of Discovery more convoluted than it was at the outset.

Moving forward doesn’t have to mean adding some numbers to a calendar.

That thinking is so terribly narrow minded and unimaginative.

Moving forward is about our continually evolving vision of how mankind is progressing TODAY as told in stories set tomorrow.

(violin playing)

Idealistic rubbish.

@Christopher — except, I’m not interested in the period set after TNG. The technology is already way too advanced and convoluted for my taste. The alliances and relationships that have been set up are of little interest to me. I hate Q. And now Romulus is gone. All canon, all must be considered when moving forward.

On the other hand, I love this period set around TOS, specifically the technology limitations, and the state of the Federation, and the Klingons and Romulans.

That said, aside from the technology limitations, the story is the thing, as Shatner correctly points out. Stories set in the 25th Century, and those set in the 23rd, can both avoid addressing any canon issues. Certainly VOY did that, by taking place in a quadrant where there was little contact with the Federation. As long as a series doesn’t place it’s characters into conflict with existing canon, it doesn’t matter when it’s set. And as long as they honor the limitations set forth in the period in which it occurs, it doesn’t really matter what anything looks like.

Have you seen the Klingons in the Discovery trailer? Existing canon was already squashed by the ENT’s Augment virus that explained TNG Klingons looked different from TOS Klingons.

I stand by what I said, moving forward in time is the best way to wiping the slate clean as opposed to going the prequel/reboot route AGAIN. I want new situations, I want new status quo. I don’t like that since Enterprise (although it did find its footing in Seasons 3-4) and the Reboot movies, a franchise I have been watching since Kindergarten (Circa 1991) has been struck in an extended period of navelgazing, not stargazing

I’ve been watching since 1977 & I do not want a show set after TNG. I am very much looking forward to Discovery.

There were some shows set after TNG. They were called Deep Space Nine and Voyager. They were successful, therefore there’s precedent for an audience Post-TNG.

I, too, am eager to move forward in time, post-Dominion War, BUT…there IS one more Pre-TOS show I’d like to see: “Star Trek; Daedalus Class, the Era of Exploration begins…” It could be an anthology series with one overall theme; the adventurous explorations of various Daedalus-Class Explorer ships. There could be an opening prologue, such as: ” the newly founded United Federation of Planets launches a crash program to build a class of rugged little Explorer ships to plant the Federation Flag on new stellar systems. In four years time 600 Daedalus-Class ships were built. In their 30-year career of exploration, only half returned home; the rest…lost in space, fate unknown…”. Then we can have episodes of these lost ships AND also the ones that returned home. There would be tales of catastrophic failure, crash landings, irreparable breakdowns, turning stranded ships’ companies into permanent colonists struggling for survival, some ships simply overwhelmed by disease, or by the natives after making landfall, or taken prisoners by various Empires, or Orion Crime Syndicates, etc…I would make the Daedalus-Class ships planet landers, and play around a little with the “sacred” Canon.I would like to see episodes more in keeping with exploring and colonizing, much like the excellent Mars shows seen of late.

Shatner and Kirk are very different in a lot of ways, but they have something essential in common: they’re both unstoppable forces of nature. :-)

Well said Shatner, well said! He said what many of us been saying for weeks already. But now that the figurehead of Star Trek has spoken in maybe people can get over it.

And yes Shatner does look great for a guy in his 80s but jesus what about Sugar Ray Leonard lol. That guy looks like he’s in his mid-30s and look more in shape than most 20 somethings. Thats insane.

Aha!, I feel a certain responsibility to respond (and repeat) in this particular thread topic. ;)

Personally, I ABSOLUTELY agree with Bill’s comments that the stories are more important than the look when it comes to STAR TREK…

…but I also absolutely agree with myself when I say that judging by the trailer alone, I’ll personally enjoy this latest show MUCH better if I disregard it’s numerous visual discrepancies to the original onscreen TOS era by simply considering it to be an alternate ‘Expanded Universe’ version of the source material, and look on it as being a totally separate TOS-like ‘parallel universe’ instead…whether the stories are great or not.

Just as I equally prefer to look on the beginning of J.J.’s 2009 movie ‘reimagining’ as NOT being set in the actual TOS ‘prime universe’ either.

Although I know others are heavily invested in the ‘officially sanctioned canon’ over the years, it’s just a bit of fun for me to ‘pick and choose’ my own ‘personal canon’ regarding this franchise, so that I can enjoy it better for myself. But if anyone else loves ALL of STAR TREK just as it is, and wants to accept that all it’s content and stardates are truly set in one continuous timeline in one individual ‘onscreen universe’…then that’s all good too.

No-one should get too worked up by the fact that I prefer to look on the supposed ‘prime universe’ onscreen antics of Bill & the gang as ending with ‘The Undiscovered Country’ movie, period! Or that I choose to look on Bill’s character (and his crewmembers too) in STAR TREK GENERATIONS as being merely ‘parallel universe’ versions of the actual TOS ones. I just like to think of it that way, so that the TOS ‘Captain Kirk’ character that I watched over the years ISN’T the one who died on the WRONG ‘bridge’…and a rusty one at that! ;)

But at this point, I’m certainly looking to enjoy the latest interpretation very much, and hope that STAR TREK DISCOVERY will re-energise the franchise well into the future, no matter where I choose to place it into my own imagined ‘canon’.

He’s right of course. If the stories, characters, scripts and messages are great, isn’t that what it’s all really about? Who cares if the Klingons look funny? It’s just a TV show. Suspend your disbelief. A follow on 50 years later HAS to look different.

Exactly! Its all just made up fiction end of the day. As long as they try to be consistent with the time line I can get over it looking cool, modern and updated. Thats a good thing. ;)

Good for Shatner for speaking up about Discovery, that is about the most common sense statement that I’ve heard about a show that we haven’t even seen yet. Well said, sir.

I hope that I have a fraction of the drive and stamina that Shatner has shown….86 years, wow. This guy is and continues to be amazing.

I would like William Shatner to play Captian Kirk in a STAR TREK movie or on the STAR TREK: DISCOVERY future episode one more time. This would be STAR TREK history.

That would be awesome. However if they would not fork up the cash for Michael Dorn probably wont happen for The Shat.

Shatner would command a hefty fee & CBS would be happy to pay it if they feel the need to include him. But I think they will not call unless Nick Meyer produces a wonderful Kirk centric script then even if he did work some script magic on that the next episode would not be Kirk and the difference like in Generations before and after his onscreen appearance kills the new show dead in its tracks so its unlikely to ever happen now.

I would like fans to let go of their obsession with William Shatner.

Bill hasn’t given up his obsession with William Shatner, so why should we !


Because Shatner is a bloated gasbag. He’s a part of Trek’s past, not it’s future.


Re: bloated gasbags

Um, you are aware that it is STAR TREK’s ethos that old gas bags will be encountered in its future setting and even if the future us are initially repulsed, that we’ve learned that it is only rational to get over it and accept the diversity of the universe?

Well this is a step up from wishing he was dead. But I do agree with you, I love Shatner but his time on Trek is over and its about, sorry, the next generation. That said its nice to see him as a figurehead of Trek with his documentaries, seem to embrace all the other actors from TNG, Enterprise, DS9, etc and even seems to love the new KT films even if he complains he’s not in them.

He doesn’t need to actually play Kirk again and still be part of the legacy as he does a lot today.

I will do a dance when I read his obituary.

There’s only one contributor to the comments on this site in my long perusal of it that could say on the one hand:

“Well my respect for him has grown.” — Torchwood

and then turnaround and “demonstrate” that grown respect with:

“I will do a dance when I read his obituary.” — Torchwood

often wrong, MJ.


Easy there, Bill. You’re going to confuse people.

Would CBS still want to handwave people if they weren’t watching the show? :)

I think the misunderstanding is the presumption fans ‘nit-picking’ about canon mean they’re unfairly criticizing the show or considering it ‘bad’ based on that fact. I can watch ‘Star Trek Discovery’ and I can *love* it, but that won’t change my mind that it’s problematic to the canon – that does *not* make it a bad show or a poorly-made program by any means, but being high quality wouldn’t erase my concerns, either.

I look forward to it! I think the story looks interesting enough! I probably won’t pretend it happened next time I watch TOS but I can still enjoy it! That’s fair, isn’t it?

I know that some will vilify me for sounding another “bring on the Shat” chant, but I really would LOVE to see him again in some way.

And why isn’t anyone mentioning that “10 years before Kirk” probably means 10 years before Kirk took command of the Enterprise, which means that in the Discovery time frame, Kirk is a 22-or-so year old lieutenant, serving probably on the Farragut – which means they could work in Chris Pine for a big season finale cameo in some awesome action sequence! Maybe a few ships are needed to repel a Klingon attack or something, and young Kirk does something freakin’ awesome.

People have mentioned this.

I would like that actually but they would still have to “de-age” Pine a bit to make him look like a 22 year old. I’m not sure a 36 year old can pass for 22 very easily.

Harry Plinkett,

Re: have to “de-age”

And if you are going to afford the opportunity to “de-age” to one actor, then there’s nothing to bar extending the opportunity to all. Besides, it’s not as if digital PhotoShopping of actors’ looks isn’t part of the “make-up” kit in general use anyway.

And Shatner’s more experienced in performing a “de-aged” role as he and the original cast broke that ground in the Filmation series’ episode that introduced Commodore Robert April.

With Shatner you’d also need to “de-girth” him. That’s a lot of photoshopping. I don’t even think ILM could pull that off. Yes I know TUP will probably berate for this comment but come on, some people make it so easy ;)

Harry Plinkett,

Re: “de-girth”

Oh, so hands wider than Shatner’s current waist you don’t have a problem with, but heaven forbid a human in the 23rd century have a waist that wide for some other equally plausible reason — for one, we know Kirk has allergies one of them tissue enlarging?

Or is it just that you’ve been on the grumps with STAR TREK ever since you found out about the Tellarites?

Besides, with Schwarzenegger, with which BTW they are making another TERMINATOR sequel, they gave him a whole new body from the neck down when needed.

Easy there chuckles, you’re going to pull something. The examples you use like the Terminator require another actor of similar physical proportions and they put those little dots on his face and digitally put Arnold on the body. It’s not Arnold himself de-aged. Similarly with people like Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing. They didn’t use the original actor but stand ins with digital makeup applied later. Guy Henry played Tarkin in Rogue One for example.

Harry Plinkett,

Re: It’s not Arnold himself de-aged.

Oh, yes he was was too de-aged! You are confusing Hollywood’s long used box of de-aging tricks, such as the the use of body doubles, with somehow being illegitimate merely because you don’t want the digital process to subsume it even though it’s perfectly legitimate for filmmakers to use every tool at their disposal to accomplish a goal, such as apparent youth on screen.

@ Baroner – I seriously doubt if Chris Pine would be considered for inclusion in this particular ‘re-imagining’. If it turns out that the writers of STAR TREK DISCOVERY *do* end up including young versions of ‘Kirk’ or ‘Spock’ (or both!) into the proceedings as a ‘cameo’ appearance in some minimal way…then I’m sure the roles will be given to totally fresh, relatively-unknown young actors that will be given the roles.

I’d be more than fine with their addition to this show personally, as the new faces in those roles would just make it even easier than it already is for me to just look on this as *not* being set in the Shatner-starring ‘prime TOS universe’ to begin with. But an appearance by an ‘parallel version’ of these characters might make for a fun addition, if kept brief.

#PrimeShatnerKirkAndCrewLivedLongAndProsperedAfterTheUltimateCountryMovie! ;)

Oops, that should have have been …TheUndiscoveredCountryMovie! of course.

Why don’t they just fully CGI Kirk, and have Pine AND Kirk voice him? We can either layer their voice tracks, or have them record every other word?

Or maybe, we can have Kirk arrive from the future, in an alternate timeline where he lived, and his gut escapes his human form to threaten Discovery?

Pine & Shatner*

Pine will ALWAYS be the True Kirk to me.


Re: Pine will ALWAYS be the True Kirk to me.

Even to the you that existed in 2007?


You write that as if you believe both actors have eschewed the use of both stunt and body doubles in their acting careers.

But I must admit the Schwarzenegger solution of Shatner’s head on Pine’s body is marvelously Solomonic even if neither ego would allow for it.

When in doubt, I use my head canon, it works every time!

They should of just did a Star Trek series set 80 years after Star Trek Nemesis and problem solved.

DS9 is King,

A Trek series with Federation god-box replicators would be as boring and unrelatable as a series dedicated entirely to the antics of the Q.

I don’t understand this obsession with the calendar. Just tacking on some years and adding a letter to the Enterprise just seems so lazy to me.

You people, and the admin of this site are in complete denial.
You’ve embraced an atrocity, and it will cost you all of your jobs.
You have no legitimacy anymore. You are no longer an authority of Trek, you’re a laughing stock!

wtf are you smoking? It’s a TV show.

Funny, you’re the laughing stock to me!

There’s no way to make Star Trek now in the same groovy 60s style as the original series without it coming off as utterly comic. Maybe someone can have a beehive hairdo as a call-back to the original (nowadays it’s so forgotten it’ll look alien) but the crazy bright colors and all that? Nope. Just let Discovery do its thing and judge it on the results.

I agree it would be like Batman today looking and acting like Adam West

Even if it is plastic surgery, how many us have parents and grand parents at 86 that can walk unassisted, let alone work all day and run around? He’s very lucky.

Really? People are debating whether he’s had surgery? Who cares. If he has, its damn good work. But its not that he looks 25 years younger, its his mobility, sharpness, wit and tireless work.

“Kirk out!”
Ultimate mic drop

Oh, I do hope those are his last words!


Re: Kirk out

In the Prime universe, can only happen if they resurrect the character. KT Kirk can only accomplish that if, despite all odds against, Paramount green-lights another go around and they kill that character off too.

IF they get another KT movie , I wish they would include the Shat. Not likely as JJ would have done it by now. No talks for Discovery yet either

I grew up in a time when the prevailing thought was if you’re going to do something, do it RIGHT. If Bill & other apologists don’t like that, tough. Get over it.

That being said, I am planning on tuning in to the pilot to see the results. I reserve final judgment for after that day.

Most amusing how so many retaliate against those who are merely expressing their opinions. It’s ok if your opinion concurs with theirs, but call attention to a discrepancy & voice an opinion contrary to theirs and look out…

No offense man but you the one that has to get over it. Shatner is only telling you this IS the show, you can take it or leave it but thats what the show is. It sounds like he plans to watch it and enjoy it for what it is. Its the haters who can’t let go.

And no one is saying people can’t express their opinion.I support Discovery but I been critical of it too, mostly being a prequel. But again I’m over that aspect, I made my points, said my peace but I’m going to give it a chance because it looks like its going to be a quality show.