Why William Shatner Has Never Seen Star Trek

It was the short-lived series that made Shatner famous and yet, the veteran star admits that he has not seen many episodes of the hit show as well as most of the movies.

By Apeksha Bagchi | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

William Shatner

Even today, William Shatner is a name synonymous with the Star Trek franchise. He brought to life the heroic character of Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek: The Original Series, which ran from 1966 to 1969, and several films under the franchise. It was the short-lived series that made Shatner famous and yet, the veteran star admits that he has not seen many episodes of the hit show as well as most of the movies because it is “painful” to watch himself act. 

William Shatner, 90, who is currently gearing up for his latest project, Senior Moment, was recently interviewed by People and the topic of Star Trek cropped up. When being asked about the series that defined his acting career, the star admitted that he actually dislikes his work as the beloved Captain Kirk. 

“I have never watched Star Trek,” he shared. “There are many episodes I don’t know, there are some movies I don’t know.” The only film that he was forced to watch was Star Trek V: The Final Frontier as it was the only one in the franchise that he directed. 

“I directed one of the movies — No. 5 — I had to watch that one,” William Shatner said. “But it’s all painful because I don’t like the way I look and what I do.”

Star Trek V
William Shatner in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Even as fans still praise William Shatner’s immeasurable contribution to the franchise, the actor has made it clear on more than one occasion that he has no plans or desire to ever return to Star Trek, especially through a television series like the Patrick Stewart starrer Star Trek: Picard

“That word, ‘resurrect.’ That’s a key word. Resurrect. You’d have to resurrect me, Shatner, in order to do the daily,” Shatner had shared with ComicBook.com in 2019. Doing a series is debilitating for a young guy, for a 25-year-old, which I was doing when I was 25 years old. It’s a physical wrecker, it’s a mental wrecker, and it’s a homewrecker ‘cause you’re working 14, 18 hours a day. And in the last series I did, Boston Legal, I had, in rush hour, a two-hour commute. So add that. So no, I would not be interested in doing a series, per se.”

Even though we will not get to see William Shatner return as the Captain of the USS Enterprise anytime soon, his upcoming film Senior Moment, will be a treat for his fans as the actor returns to the world of space travel once again. In the film, we will see Shatner playing the character of a retired NASA test pilot leading a reckless life until one day his driving license is revoked and he is forced to take the bus. It is here he meets the woman of his dreams.

William Shatner and Christopher Lloyd in Senior Moment

While Shatner is entitled to have his beliefs, nothing can dampen the magnitude of his contribution to making the Star Trek franchise successful. Even though the series was cancelled after just three seasons due to low ratings, it went on become a cult classic in broadcast syndication- a status it retains even today as it continues spawning more spinoffs, books, games, etc. So, even though Shatner is not a big fan of his work in the Star Trek franchise, millions of fans around the world will continue to root for his version of Captain James Tiberius Kirk. 

Star Trek was created by Gene Roddenberry and premiered in 1966 on NBC. The show opened to rave reviews, though those which quickly declined. The story of the series took place sometime in the 2260s and followed the space adventures of the crew onboard the starship USS Enterprise, as it travelled through the Milky Way galaxy. They were on a five-year mission to explore new worlds and to “boldly go where no man has gone before.” The crew of explorers, including First Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Chief Medical Officer Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley), was led by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner). 

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