William Shatner On Why He Still Enjoys Conventions But Has Lost Patience With A Certain Star Trek Co-Star

(Photo: TrekMovie.com)

At 91, William Shatner is not slowing down. He is still out promoting his new Boldly Go memoir (see TrekMovie review). He’s got a documentary coming out, and he just announced dates for a bunch of Star Trek Tour live appearances for 2023. He talks about Star Trek and his continued activities in a new interview, along with reacting to some of the critiques he has heard from his former co-stars.

Shatner on Star Trek’s success and still doing conventions

Promoting his new book’s release in the UK, Shatner did an interview with The Times where he gave his assessment of the enduring success of Star Trek:

Here is a group of people you get to love going on an adventure that, although unusual, harkens back to things that happen on Earth. The futurist stories we told were really human stories with a twist. People loved the stories, they loved the characters.

Shatner has continued to attend Star Trek conventions and other cons and he explained why:

I enjoy the conventions when I am on stage fielding questions. I have acquired a way of doing this hour so that it becomes a kind of mutual distribution of information. The fans are interesting, it’s part of the reason why I go.

William Shatner at 56-Year Mission Las Vegas in August 2022 (Photo: TrekMovie.com)

Done with Takei

In his new memoir, Shatner reflects on how he was “horrified” and “ashamed” when he learned from Nichelle Nichols that his fellow Star Trek co-stars found him “cold and arrogant.” He has talked openly about how he was “devastated” over how things ended with Leonard Nimoy, where he wasn’t able to talk to him in the time before his death. However, Shatner has lost patience with some of the criticism, especially from co-star George Takei—who even took a swipe at his recent trip into space.  Shatner tells The Times:

I began to understand that they were doing it for publicity. Sixty years after some incident they are still on that track. Don’t you think that’s a little weird? It’s like a sickness. George has never stopped blackening my name. These people are bitter and embittered. I have run out of patience with them. Why give credence to people consumed by envy and hate?

And when talking to the Times about his Emmy-winning run on Boston Legal, the actor used the opportunity to draw a contrast:

James Spader was wonderful, the whole cast was wonderful, and I have never heard a word from them saying how much they didn’t like me.

George Takei and William Shatner on Star Trek

Shatner Live 2023

In 2023 William Shatner goes back on tour doing live events with screenings of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

For more details and links for tickets visit williamshatnertour.com.


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I remember seeing Takei appear on Shatner’s Raw Nerve interview show many moons ago. There was some tension and frank discussion and airing of grievances, and I thought at the time they seemed to patch things up. Too bad it didn’t take.

It’s just a tired old story at this point, isn’t it? I mean, decades from now, are any of us still going to be complaining about the co-workers we once had to put up with? I hope not.

Wasn’t Takei. That was Walter Koenig

Really? Wow, I totally remembered that being Takei. My mistake. Thanks. I guess Koenig had his own list of grievances, ha.

Koenig is class. I like Takei, but I think the ball has been in his court for awhile to sort to grow up on this thing.

Agreed.

My heart bled when poor Koenig’s son died. George has been allowed by his life choices to retain a teenage mentality.

Yeah, the death of Koenig’s son was just so sad. : ( Suicide of a child just destroys the family. : (

I still remember him from Growing Pains and that one Deep Space Nine ep. :(

What does that mean? What life choices? Because he’s gay and doesn’t have children?

I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant

Agreed, which is weird to say for me. Ten years or so ago, I was far more sympathetic to Takei’s side of things, but he really has taken some shitty public potshots for no good reason at all. At this point, Takei is stretching it out willingly. I love ’em both, don’t get me wrong, but it’s way past time for George to take it easy on Bill.

Calling Shatner a Guinea Pig when he became the oldest person ever in space was WAY over the line IMHO

Agreed. I’m not saying at all that Takei doesn’t have a point but sheesh Shatner is right when he says it has been like 60 years and the only one that is talking about this anymore is Takei.

Hmm who bought it up again? Who has a new book to sell? Shatner is a hypocrite saying the cast ‘bring it up for publicity’

Walter and George are no longer on speaking terms either, for what it’s worth

Oh blimey! What happened between George and Walter now?!

I honestly thought this was all going to be over after Shatner’s Comedy Central Roast.

Ah, good point, I forgot about the roast.

That’s sort of when it truly started.

I swear the man drinks baby’s blood or has made a deal with the devil. I hope I’m as vivacious as Shatner when I’m 91 years old!

Sounds like a plot to keep Kirk alive in a Star Trek movie. ;-)

lol I see what you did there!

It’s not. This image of a vivacious Shatner exists mostly in the overactive imaginations of some in the fan base. If you listen to what the man actually says, he is bemoaning the physical foils of old age.

Heck, I wish I were as vivacious as Shatner NOW, and I’m 27 years younger than he is! :-)

Here too. And I’m over 30 years younger!

The man has always had insane amounts of energy. It must be wonderful.

It’s so sad that, as they grow older and see more years behind them than ahead of them, these two men are holding onto decades-long grudges that accomplish nothing. I’m not suggesting they just forget whatever drove a wedge between them, because it was clearly significant enough to create animosity, and that shouldn’t be ignored. No one is innocent here. Both of them have said and done things that were hurtful and inappropriate over the years, and that can’t just be washed away. They don’t have to become best friends; that opportunity is long gone. That being said, there’s still room for civility. They need to let go of their pride and bury the hatchet before it’s too late.

Takei needs to understand that without Shatner there wouldn’t be a Star Trek as we know it, it’d have just been some obscure 60s scifi series lasting a couple of seasons with Lloyd Bridges or Jack Lord as the captain

Takei’s career would have probably done better if that had been the case; certainly his political aspirations wouldn’t have been derailed the way they were owing to the equal time rule, since his opponents said that any syndication reruns with him were essentially free publicity. He withdrew in at least one race over that issue as I recall.

I think you’re making too big a deal of it. In 1973 some TOS repeats were suspended and one TAS episode was swapped in LA until after the election, and Takei lost. In 1980 Takei withdrew from a race instead of some TOS episodes being suspended. I doubt he thinks about it much these days.

Considering Takei has always been a dude with a social conscience, I’d think those opportunities to serve being lost would, as Scotty once said, ‘stick in his craw.” Certainly other stuff has, otherwise this thread wouldn’t exist.

But the typecasting fallout post-Trek wouldn’t have happened if it only lasted a season or so, and he could well have wound up with signficant roles in TORA TORA TORA and THE FINAL COUNTDOWN, to name just two feature films with signficant action movie roles for Asians.

Even today, name recognition is HUGE in any downballot race.

It was surely even more important in 1973 and 1980, before you could google information on downballot candidates.

I have to believe that Takei benefitted from name recognition.

Agreed. I mean even if the TV issue hurt him, the name recognition he had based on his TV work would have more than offset that.

Jack lord would have kept the series going for years after Gene walked in season 3 he did the same with the original five-o after the original creator died he took over full control of the rights and the creative choices since the original creator agreed to give lord 50 percent rights to five-0 when he cast him as mcgarrett and Gene was to money grubby to give lord 50 percent rights to Star Trek to play Kirk
also jack lord was a way way better actor then shatner has ever been

good lord

Actually, I see a lot of similarities between Lord and Shatner. I don’t really see a big difference.

Also, Gene never gave Shatner that sort of deal, and Gene didn’t die leaving the series to Shatner to continue with, so I have no idea what point you are trying to make with that statement?

“Jack lord would have kept the series going for years after Gene walked in season 3 he did the same with the original five-o after the original creator died he took over full control of the rights and the creative choices since the original creator agreed to give lord 50 percent rights to five-0 when he cast him as mcgarrett and Gene was to money grubby to give lord 50 percent rights to Star Trek to play Kirk also jack lord was a way way better actor then shatner has ever been”

:::deep breath:::

Um…..

:::deep breath:::

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I want whatever she’s having!

I like your response better than mine. :-)

Lord and Shatner were each great in their respective roles. They fit perfectly.

I wouldn’t buy any of that even if TREK had shot in Hawaii – whih was probably Lord’s main incentive about keeping the show going.

And Lord’s acting talent was decidedly limited, as in, Robert Conrad has greater range. I don’t think Lord could have even pulled off later era comedy like Robert Stack Leslie Nielsen stuff and his ego driven judgement — like thinking Leiter merited equal billing with Bond, which kept him out of the 007 sequels — makes even Shatner’s massive ego seem just a trifle meek by comparison.

I disagree. Lord was, at least until the Craig era, the best Felix Leiter, hands down.

I think he struck a Kennedyesque pose, which is why Roddenberry looked at him.

Jack Lord was great as Leiter. I also think he could act circles around Robert Conrad — Conrad just played himself in everything he did, like John Wayne.

There’s never been a Bond’s helper role better than Kerim in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, so any Leiter would run a very distant second to that — not picking on actors with that either — Kerim’s the best in the Fleming books as well, though Leiter comes off very well in the THUNDERBALL novel as well as the DAF novel.

I guess I’d reluctantly pick Jeffrey Wright as the best Leiter, because he is very nearly the only good thing in the whole Craig era. (but if he had resurrected ‘Peoples’ Hernandez from SHAFT instead for Bond, I’d have liked it a ton more.) After that, probably Rik Van Nutter from TB and Bernie Casey in NSNA and the guy everybody rags on from THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, who is saddled with a terrible Bruce Jenner haircut, along with Lord. Cec Linder from GF and Norman Burton from DAF are abysmal, as is David Hedison, who got the job the first time owing to friendship with the star and the second time owing to a miscalculation on the part of the producers that people would care more if they saw a Leiter they remembered.

Living Daylights Leiter – Hawk The Slayer

Takei should thank his lucky stars Jack Lord didn’t play Kirk. If he thinks Shatner was a pain, Lord took being a pain to a whole other level.

That was largely BS because he wasn’t big on talking to the media. He didn’t suffer fools, and he expected everyone to show up on time and work hard — if you had a problem with that, sure he would set you straight. So what?

Jack lord would have been an awesome Kirk! If Five-O “just an obscure cop show”?

I’m over Shatner. He doesn’t need to bring this up if he is truly “over it.” The man does EVERYTHING for publicity, including this. Boo.

When people ask him, he responds.

Shatner isn’t the one bringing it up tho. Takei keeps taking and the media keeps asking for his reaction. He said himself that he knows it’s all about the publicity.

Dude, he was ASKED this question.

LOL

Exactly. Shatner wants to put this behind him. The media won’t allow it, nor will Takei…

Sixty years after some incident they are still on that track. Don’t you think that’s a little weird?

One could argue that Shatner’s pettiness towards his co-stars happened in later Star Trek productions after the original series. Let’s take a look at Star Trek V: The Final Frontier for instance.

Sulu: Gets lost in the forest, commits mutiny against Kirk and gets blasted in the face with Rocket Boots. Ends his role starring at a Klingon’s butt.
Chekov: Also gets lost in the forest with Sulu, commits mutiny against Kirk and ends his role starring at a Klingon’s butt.
Uhura: In a relationship with Scotty that’s uncomfortable to watch, strips naked and dances in front of a bunch of horny men and commits mutiny against Kirk.
Scotty: Can hardly fix anything and ‘walks’ straight into a beam which knocks him out.

And yet the only three crewmen competent enough to do anything are… Kirk, Spock and McCoy. The latter two were almost going to join Sybok until Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelly flat-out refused to do it.

This leaves us with Kirk. I know Kirk as a character is awesome and iconic in the science fiction genre, but here it’s just Shatner using his directing and co-writing skills to indulge in his ego. When the film isn’t outright telling us how awesome he is, it’s showing us how he’s the only competent person who can think for themselves and not give into Sybok’s temptation. Why? I don’t know. Something about ‘pain’ that is never explored, hinted at, or brought up again.

And even though Shatner can take jabs at himself, this particular one from Futurama still highlights the issue with Shatner.

Nimoy: You have to respect your actors. When I directed Star Trek IV I got a magnificent performance out of Bill because I respected him so much.
Shatner: And when I directed Star Trek V I got an amazing performance out of me because I respected me so much!

Yeah, that’s how I’ve always seen it. He’s amazing, but anyone who thinks he doesn’t have a massive ego has blinders on.

And Takei is amazing too, but clearly not above being petty as all hell.

Imperfect people doing imperfect things. Doesn’t change that they’ve done so many things for good alongside what they’ve done to delight and entertain us.

What struck me was his use of the word ‘they’. He knows he’s abrasive, and it’s not just one old malcontent. He also knows talking about it sells his books. So he doesn’t care.

I think Star Trek V gave the entire cast something to work with — much more so than the much-ballyhooed WOK. Sulu led a ground assault, and Chekhov got to sit in the big chair and negotiate with Sybok. As for Uhura, she also got to sing, and it wouldn’t be the first time in history that sex was used in espionage.

The only other movie that *really* gave use that was Star Trek IV.

Sulu did not lead the assault on Paradise City. Kirk did. All Sulu did was get blasted off his horse when ordered by Kirk to take out a light.
Chekov pretending to be Captain was dumb for the simple reason that he didn’t wear a Captain’s insignia when he was ‘visually’ communicating with Sybok. Also Chekov’s quick thinking when retrieving the shuttle craft and avoiding the Klingon’s attack… is credited to Kirk. Even when giving characters something to do, Shatner will still take credit.
Sex used in espionage… Good to know that Uhura, the only female member of the original series crew, is used solely for sex appeal. That kind of makes the whole Shatner handling his co-stars worse in context.

Credit where credit is due, Sulu got blasted off the horse, then, without being rattled at all, immediately took out the light anyway, which might be the coolest bit of action in the movie. Isn’t saying much, though, I know.

Keep in mind, Star Trek V as it ended up being is not the movie Shatner wanted to make.

I don’t know. Shatner brought the features back to the core trilogy. Which I always felt was missing somewhat from the features at that point. TVH might have been helped if those 3 stuck together. Instead, they presented Scotty as a blithering idiot. Checkov and Uhura get lost. McCoy runs around like he was high on cordrizine. While Sulu is given such ridiculous knowledge that he knows how to operate 300 year old devices like he’s used them every day of his life. One could argue that even Nimoy doesn’t really get the other characters. Only Shatner came across as truly competent in that flick.

A lot of ‘off-character’ moments that happen in TVH can easily be attributed to the simple fact that it was a ‘fish out of water’ storyline. Our heroes are in an environment that they are not accustomed to, and they struggle to find a way to adapt to it. When they’re in their respective timeline, the comedy is gone and our characters act and behave just as we expect them to.

TFF does not have the benefit of the ‘fish out of water’ storyline to justify it’s out-of-place comedy which winds up conflicting with the themes and tones of the franchise in general.

I hear that quite often in defense of TVH but it just doesn’t fly. They’ve been the ‘fish out of water’ before. They’ve even done light and comedy before. With good results. It didn’t work here. It didn’t work because the characters were suddenly unbelievably stupid. I know it was done for yuks, but it all felt forced. The comedy from TFF at least was organic and most of the gags worked.

Yea, but TVH scenario wasn’t like other “fish out of water” stories that Trek fans had grown accustomed to by that point. These characters had been around for decades, and this movie was trying to appeal to a “modern” 80’s audience specifically. Like, ” hey! I know how to use a computer mouse, but Scotty doesn’t, and he’s so much smarter and more capable than I’ll ever be, how ironic, lol!”

Shatner didn’t give himself any scenes
or sequences like this, which I do think speaks to his ego. But the entire conceit of the movie was supposed to be how the crew would interact/comprehend modern people/society/technology etc…and played for laughs. There’s no way Shatner just added all that in to assassinate the rest of the cast while propping himself up. It was supposed to be fun and relatable for the fans.

Except your example is the one I use as a perfect example of why TVH never worked. Scotty was so unbelievably unaware he was in the past that he acted as if he was in his own time. That is why that joke fell flat and reflected extremely poorly on Scotty. I understand being self deprecating if it could engender a laugh. Him hitting his head on the low hanging beam in TFF did exactly that. But him talking to the mouse only induced a facepalm. It made zero sense. It also relies on the audience not being aware that Scotty comes from the future if they are amused by Scotty not being able to work the mouse.
The idea was they needed to go light after the very much downer that SFS was. Which was not a bad idea. But The Trouble with Tribbles was fun and relatable. TVH was just ridiculous. It didn’t work on any level.

Shatner was not responsible for giving himself scenes as he was not the writer or director. I doubt he would be opposed to scenes like that. In The Trouble With Tribbles he was totally fine with getting a bunch of tribbles rained on him. There is an ego, I’m sure but he comes across as someone who is fine with a little self deprecation even for a laugh.

Our heroes are in an environment that they are not accustomed to, and they struggle to find a way to adapt to it.

…which is a big part of the reason why I think TVH, or at least the 20th century portion of it, is overrated. These are *explorers*. They’ve been in plenty of alien environments that they’re not accustomed to, most of which are probably further removed from 23rd-century human culture than actual human societies on earth. (What would be stranger to you, a Vulcan or meeting Alexander Hamilton?) They should not act like blathering idiots merely because they’ve travelled back in time. (Seriously, Kirk has never tried beer before?)

At the end of the day, TOS was never an ensemble cast like TNG and the other shows. I agree abut STV but when it comes to TOS frankly Shatner is allowed to literally sit in the big chair if he is the star of the show. This has happened soooo many times across so many shows in the history of hollywood but Takei feels like he is the only one in the Universe that had to deal with a diva.

True. It seems that every scene, no matter whose scene it is, ends on a shot of Shatner reacting.

The so called feud really is getting tiresome. Both of these men are up there in age, it’s time to let it go. Yes, Shatner tended to be a jerk at times. That’s no secret and he even admits it to a point. But what Mr. Takei never understood was that in essence he was a bit player. The triangle of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy were the stars of the show. With Shatner being the top. Funny though, Mr. Takei never said “NO” to any of the projects post TOS, including Star Trek V. I guess the money was good, and for the right amount of money he could let his personal feelings about Shatner go. He only keeps the “feud” going because he needs to stay relevant. To be honest, does anyone really pay attention to him outside of the Trek franchise? It’s not like they were knocking his door down to cast him in anything, then or now.

I think Suku’s last hurrah was best on Voyager, and quite frankly, if there was more there to dig up and mine, Sulu could have even ended up on Picard. Or could be in a future spinoff.

I think I can agree to that.

Also, perhaps there is a little bitterness on his end that a desired Captain Sulu show never materialized?

I think that VOY ep was horrible. It was meant to honor the 30th anniversary of TOS and all we got was Janeway telling Tuvok that he was right and Sulu was wrong and later that in the 24th century Kirk, Spock and Sulu would be thrown out of Starfleet. Some honor!

He only keeps the “feud” going because he needs to stay relevant. 

This.

Pity.
I was thinking of buying this book,
Not Now.

Let’s be real — you were not going to get the book in any case. lol

Maybe he wouldn’t have to lose his patience with his co-stars if he was a decent human being. But, instead, Shatner is an egotistical primadonna that is on record several times as ‘hating trek fans’, refused to go on stage at Doohan’s last Conn appearance because “He can’t deal with this Alzheimer’s bullshit”. While unsubstantiated, his previous behaviour doesn’t do him any favours in dispelling the rumours that he took part in derailing Takei’s career at any chance he could because of Takei’s sexuality.

The man’s a complete irreprehensible A-Hole, and as a Canadian, I’m ashamed to be of the same nationality as him. I really wish the media would stop feeding his Ego.

He’s like every other person I’ve met or worked with who went to McGill :)

When I was in college, we booked Doohan for a speaking appearance. I have almost forgotten about it, but now I am reminded that… he was completely drunk, and IIRC, he could barely stand. So maybe 1989? Perhaps Shatner was a little confused about why people were saying it’s Alzhheimer’s. But… probably not!

Why do people bother about this? These guys are entertainment artists, they entertain you through various medium, film, books, TV, person. Their personalities outwith star trek shouldnt be raising people’s blood pressure unless they have personally been rude to you.

Non Fandom operates in the way you suggest. Are you a Vulcan!?

First thought when noticed article “He’s still shilling his book?”. He’s just cashing in on a resurgence of the franchise. Anything he has to say has been said 100 times before, whether it’s about Takei or his temporary “love” for adoring fans.

Yep, Shatner knows that stirring the pot sells books. Having a living foil that can’t say no to taking the bait helps. You’ll notice the bewilderment he always expresses about what went wrong is mostly saved for those who are no longer able to respond. It’s a decidedly one-way conversation when the other party is dead.

 He’s just cashing in on a resurgence of the franchise

For sure. But he’s not the only owe. It seems hardly a week goes by without some former Trek actor clamoring to be put into a new series, but who can blame them?

Agreed. I’m getting fatigued with the Mulgrew constant campaign to get an second new Trek series. Poor Kurtzman has to pretend he’s interested or risk a Takei-like “Captain Sulu” public relations mess. LOL

George Takei needs to move on. He’s obviously troubled and needs to grow up.

Both of these guys need to stop it with this already. C’mon.

I am thinking I would pay good money to see that WoK with Shatner thing. Not yet seeing a date in my neck of the woods though.

I obviously don’t know the man personally but from his public persona he comes across as a decent guy who I don’t mind hearing from.

I was at a lecture here in Seattle that he gave. He was generally pleasant, but at one point during the Q&A portion of the event, one of the audience members tried to say something clever and Shatner mocked them for trying to be clever. Didn’t even try to be polite. Not a good look.

I’ve seen him at least five times over the years. Never saw that. I will say that he is sarcastic and that some of his humor doesn’t always land. You can’t be too sensitive when seeing him — he does do that sort of standup comic thing — so I can see how some oversensitive people would take him way too seriously and get their feelings hurt on his audience conversation schtick.

I saw him do this exact program in 2019. 200% worth the price of admission — he was fantastic.

I saw him with WOK in 2020 and it was fantastic!

Please let that be the end of it.

Many others have lost patience with this too. You can move on or be a bitter old man. Set a course for Option A.

I’ve lost patience with this guy. He never has anything good to say about any project that he’s not involved in. Such a bitter guy.

Love Takei, but let’s be honest ; Shatner was the star of the show and he was good at it. Takei has long been resentful of being a secondary character.
DeForest Kelley had the most class of all of them; never had a bad word to say any of them.

I’m so glad that Pluto is launching A Star Trek channel ! Also love William Shatner’s books!

Can’t wait to read the new book!

All these guys, everyone of them, absolutely strive to add even the tiniest bit of fuel to the barely chugging Star Trek money train and darn if they aren’t going to ride it till the bitter end; and then some.

There can be only one (star trek)

Takei never appeared on Raw Nerve. That was Koenig.

Shatner has defended himself since before his so-called “costars” passed away. It’s NOT a one-sided discussion. The complainers are cast members that have their credits at the END of the episode, not before. Hell, their names came after the guest stars! Shame on them for their swelled egos and making Shatner the fall guy. Putzes all.