William Shatner Takes The Blame For Hated Star Trek Failure

By Britta DeVore | Published

william shatner

Best known for being the man to originate the legendary Captain Kirk in Star Trek: The Original Series, William Shatner is just as infamous for his feuds with co-stars and unswaying opinions. That’s why some may find it hard to believe that the 92-year-old star has the self-awareness to recognize that even he can fail as many believe that he did on the feature-length film, Star Trek 5: The Final Frontier. Considered to be one of the worst installments in the franchise, Shatner will be the first person to admit failure, even going so far as to say, “I failed horribly.”

His Search For God Was Derailed

Looking back on his time with the film, which he not only starred in but also directed, William Shatner says that Star Trek 5 was essentially doomed from the start, something that he sees largely in part to his own leadership. From its first imaginings, Shatner says that he wanted the film to be something like, “Star Trek goes in search of God,” but that he ultimately lost out to the studio which was afraid that such a concept would alienate the fans. Finally, they settled on a plot that would see an alien believing that it was god, giving Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Captain Kirk (Shatner), and the rest of their team a run for their money.

He Didn’t Know What He Was Getting Into

In addition to regretting lacking “the courage” to stand up for what he wanted from the project, William Shatner also points to the lack of budget and “backing” for Star Trek 5. “It was a series of my inabilities to deal with the management and the budget,” the iconic actor said, before adding, “I failed.” He says that in hindsight, his biggest regret is not having the emotional capacity to “deal with a large motion picture,” still feeling the fallout of his perceived failure today.

His First Shot

william shatner

To the outsider, it’s completely understandable why William Shatner would have stood down to the studio and not rocked the boat too much for Star Trek 5 as it was his first foray into filmmaking.

A Costly Failure

william shatner

From what we know about the behind-the-scenes issues on the fifth film in Star Trek’s vast film series, William Shatner has plenty of places to pass the buck and pin the negative feedback on the studio. But, he’s not willing to do that, taking full accountability for coming up short on Star Trek 5 by saying, “It’s on me.” Further explaining how he sees himself responsible, the actor explained that he went all in on wildly expensive effects to make his production as big as possible.

Not only did he spend cash on “granite [rock creatures]” that would “explode out of the mountain,” but William Shatner says that he had a chat with the special effects team behind Star Trek 5 about a suit that would catch on fire, willing to drop $250,000 a suit with 10 suits total. Suffice it to say, the $30 million budget quickly disappeared.

Shatner’s Other Behind The Camera Work

Taking what he learned and applying his perceived failures to how he would proceed with other directorial pursuits in the future, William Shatner didn’t allow his time behind the camera for Star Trek 5 to completely dissuade him. The performer would go on to helm and write other titles down the line including Groom Lake and The Captains, not to mention carrying the legacy of one of the most famous characters of all time. 

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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