How can you not love a guy like William Shatner? The original Captain James Tiberius Kirk has never been one to shy away from expressing his opinions, and if you suspected that he had a stance on J.J. Abrams helming the next generation of two of science fiction’s biggest franchises—Star Wars and Star Trek in case you’ve been sleeping in a cave or something—you’d be correct.
In the process of pumping up his latest film, the animated genre joint Escape From Planet Earth, the question invariably came up (I’m surprised interviewers don’t just blurt it out the moment they spy him). See what he has to say right now.
Shatner’s deadpan is so good, so honed after decades of use, that sometimes it’s difficult to tell when he’s joking and when he isn’t. Basically, you have to take pretty much anything he says with a grain of salt. In this case, however, it seems apparent that he playing around. There very well may be a lingering sense of resentment, but he’s still having fun here.
From the beginning, he’s setting us up. Calling Abrams a pig, like a kid hoarding all of the best sci-fi toys, gets your attention. Then he throws in that he considers the director a friend, that they’ve shared that sacred bond of eating sushi together. At this point you’re still having that internal debate about whether he’s serious or not. Is William Shatner, T.J. Hooker himself, really going to sit J.J. Abrams down over spicy shrimp rolls and lecture him about stockpiling movie franchises?
But then, of course, it’s not that Abrams has all the fun things to play with; the true problem is that neither one of them includes Shanter in the cast. That is foolhardy indeed, as is making any movie without Shatner.
Plenty of sci-fi fans do seem to be legitimately pissed off that Abrams would dare take on two iconic film franchises. Maybe William Shatner is one of them, but that seems unlikely.