Even those who have never watched Star Trek know that William Shatner, who rose to fame playing Captain Kirk, had a contentious relationship with his costars. Those stars have come forth over the years and dropped some very candid descriptions of their former onscreen captain, and they will forever change how you view one of Hollywood’s most famous celebs. If you don’t believe it, then set your replica phaser to “catty” as we walk you through the meanest things Shatner’s costars ever said about him.
George Takei Obliterates Shatner’s Biggest Accomplishment
Honestly, this list could have been nothing but comments from George Takei. The Captain Sulu actor has been very public about his grudge against William Shatner for many decades now. However, one of the absolutely meanest things Takei ever said came much more recently when he decided to mock Shatner’s historic trip to space.
Fans and press alike had made a big deal about Shatner’s trip, noting how cool it was that the man who played Captain Kirk was visiting space for real. But Takei mocked the whole endeavor, noting that Shatner was “boldly going where other people have gone before.” If that wasn’t brutal enough, he continued dunking on his costar by saying, “He’s a guinea pig…he’s not the fittest specimen of 90 years old, so he’ll be a specimen that’s unfit!”
James Doohan Was Ready to Fight Him
Compared to George Takei’s brand of claws-out criticism, James Doohan’s comments may seem pretty mild. Still, the Scotty actor was very blunt in his dislike of his former onscreen captain. At one point, he summed his feelings up as simply as possible: “I like Captain Kirk, but I can’t say that I’m very fond of Bill Shatner.”
At another point, Doohan made it clear that he felt like fighting William Shatner quite a few times over the years. “I wanted to thump him on more than one occasion.” Fortunately, he kept his anger in check just as efficiently as his onscreen character kept the warp core intact.
Walter Koenig Wanted To See William Shatner Publicly Degraded
Walter Koenig hasn’t criticized William Shatner quite as much as some of his Star Trek costars over the years. However, that means when he does speak out, it has plenty of impact. That was especially clear when Michael Starr requested to interview Koenig as part of a Shatner documentary he was working on.
Koenig declined the request, telling Starr, “Unless you will have several photos in your book showing Mr. Shatner having sex with a horse, I must politely decline.” It could just be Koenig’s cheeky humor, but it really sounds like he’s just waiting for media figures to degrade William Shatner. Admittedly, if such photos ever surfaced, it would probably make Kirk’s onscreen fascination with horses in Star Trek: Generations that much weirder.
Nichelle Nichols Said Shatner Sabotaged Her Career
Nichelle Nichols got in some fairly good digs at William Shatner during his Comedy Central Roast. However, we didn’t want to include any of those because the whole thing was meant to be in good fun. But the late Nichols was much more sincere about her former captain in her earlier 1994 memoir Beyond Uhura, and in that book, she blames Shatner for sabotaging her career.
Pulling absolutely no punches, Nichelle Nichols said that William Shatner was an “insensitive, hurtful egotist” and that his “callousness affect[ed] everyone around him.” More explosively, she claims that he used his clout on Star Trek: The Original Series to get her lines and her costars’ lines reduced. The reason for this was to allegedly give Shatner even more screentime.
DeForrest Kelley Had To Put William Shatner In His Place
On Star Trek: The Original Series, DeForrest Kelley played Dr. McCoy, one of Captain Kirk’s closest friends. Offscreen, he and Shatner seemed to get along very well, but that might have come at something of a cost. For example, the late Kelley once admitted that he had to put William Shatner in his place from time to time.
As reported by The Times, Kristine Smith is a Star Trek superfan who became a close friend to DeForrest Kelley and his family. She recounted a story of a Star Trek convention where Kelley was asked if William Shatner was hard to get along with, and Kelley’s response was that while he loved Shatner, he “had to straighten his ass out a time or two!” Ultimately, it’s telling that one of the few costars who seemed to still like Shatner acknowledged the need to slap him down on occasion in order to put him in his proper place.