Not everyone was impressed with William Shatner’s recent space flight with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin — which officially made him the oldest person to travel outside Earth’s atmosphere. His longtime Star Trek co-star and even longer-time rival, George Takei, had some choice words for his former captain.
For those unfamiliar, William Shatner and George Takei have been bickering back and forth with jabs at one another for decades, with a majority of the barbs coming from Takei. Apparently, the duo did not get along well when they were working on the 1960s Star Trek: The Original Series, where they played Captain James T. Kirk and Hikaru Sulu respectively.
Speaking to Page Six the night after William Shatner’s now-famous and historic space flight, George Takei lashed out against his former co-star at the opening of Thoughts of a Colored Man. The 84-year-old bashed Shatner, mocking that he was a “guinea pig” for Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. Takei jabbed Shatner by noting that at 90 years old, his body will likely have a lot of wear and tear on it.
“He’ll be a good specimen to study. Although he’s not the fittest specimen of 90 years old, so he’ll be a specimen that’s unfit!” Takei said of his former co-star. While George Takei meant his comments as a negative barb, the truth is that William Shatner did say he was experiencing a lot of soreness and muscle aches during an appearance on the Today show Thursday, the morning after his much-talked-about space flight.
In fact, William Shatner told the hosts that he never truly felt his age until he embarked on this space flight. Although he continues to ride horses and do other activities that 90-year-old men typically don’t, he said that he began to wonder about what his body could “endure” as early as walking the gantry to the rocket. Add in a few G forces, and the feeling of his guts experiencing weightlessness and suddenly the actor’s overwhelming thought was “you know something, I’m 90!” So, it seems George Takei might be onto something.
William Shatner got the last word in this case. In a statement responding to Page Six’s report about George Takei’s barb, the Captain Kirk actor speculated that his former co-star has a “psychosis” within him that forces him to go out of his way to denigrate him, even on such a happy occasion as his historic space flight. Shatner concluded that his one and only feeling toward Takei at this point is “pity.”
However, it’s worth noting that George Takei isn’t alone in his rebukes of William Shatner’s conduct on the set of Star Trek. The actor allegedly had ongoing issues with everyone including Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, Deforest Kelly and more. In fact, he noted in a 2016 interview with The Hollywood Reporter that the man who played his absolute best friend on the show, Leonard Nimoy, would no longer talk to him in the last years of his life. Leonard Nimoy died at age 83 in 2015.
Whether you fall on team William Shatner or team George Takei, the fact of the matter is that it’s upsetting for Star Trek fans to see such public jabs being taken at stars, let alone when they’re coming from another. While it would be nice to live in a world like that of Star Trek, where humanity is all united against common enemies such as the Romulans or the Borg, it seems the stars themselves have some work to do before an Enterprise bridge crew is possible in real life.