The feud between former ‘Star Trek’ stars George Takei and William Shatner has been going strong for decades, with most of it stemming from Shatner’s notorious reputation for being egotistical. It’s a poorly kept secret that Shatner– the main star of the classic TV and movie series– has a pretty hefty ego, especially when it comes to his cast mates. And entire movie, ‘Galaxy Quest’ was built on a thinly-veiled premise about washed up stars from a classic sci fi TV show and their arrogant front man.
With the advent of social media, things have only gotten more heated, especially on the part of Takei, the most active former cast member on the web, who has nearly nine million Facebook followers. But Shatner enjoys quite a following himself and attended the Official Star Trek Convention this weekend, where he was asked about burying the hatchet with ol’ Sulu:
“The hatchet? In George’s head?… Let me tell you about that, you know I’ve never expressed myself, I’ve always never answered George Takei’s mean-spirited comments on me for a life time, and I’ll take this opportunity to do that. I’ve never done it before…. I don’t know him. I don’t know him. “
After joking about burying it in Takei’s head, Shatner responded with a lengthy spiel. Regarding the charges that he placed himself above his castmates, Shatner explained:
“Fifty years ago there was a young man named George Takei, who would come in… play his part, and left. I hardly knew him. ‘Hello George,’ I’d say, I was too busy reciting lines – I had a lot of work to do, so I was busy doing that and publicity… doing other things that I needed to do, whatever it was. I was an actor with ten pages of dialogue to do that day, and ten pages to learn for tomorrow, and the day after that and the day after that, and so on. I didn’t know him. I literally didn’t know him. The six movies we made were a couple years apart, again he’d come in, ‘Hello George.’ I had no interaction with him whatsoever.”
Sounds somewhat reasonable. Kirk was the face of the show. Sulu wasn’t even in every episode and sometimes when he did appear, it was a minor part, sometimes with no dialogue. And even in the movies, Sulu was never the focus.
Even so, Shatner spoke out against what he viewed as Takei’s attacks on his name.
“In the last fifty years, the man has blackened my reputation. I am… I pride myself on being a professional actor, I’m there on time, I know my words, I’m amiable to almost anything because what’s important is making the performance and nothing else. I don’t have to be there for the spaceship being brought up uh…. one of the things he used against me was that I wasn’t at the debut of the Enterprise someplace… I was working! So he has demeaned me, really badly, ugly.”
Shatner claims he has attempted to mend fences, but that he was rebuffed. He maintains that he has taken the high road by not answering Takei’s charges in public:
“Every so often I get in touch with him and say, ‘What are you doing? I don’t know. What did I do to you? What happened?’ I have no idea who he is or what he is, or what he wants. I’ve never answered him, but he has continued to spoil my reputation in one way or another. I thought you know, ‘That’s enough,’ why would one person in this large audience, have a bad opinion of me because of George Takei? It makes me – it upsets me. So I don’t, I’m not burying any hatchet, I don’t have any anger towards him. I do not know, I want you to hear me . I do not know who George Takei is! What drives him, what makes him, I do not know who he is.”
Of course, what’s a Shatner response without his own little dig implying there was more on Takei’s side as to why he was even invited to his castmate’s wedding:
“He invites me to his wedding, I don’t know him! Why would you invite someone like me to your wedding when you don’t know me? I haven’t spoke to you in twenty years, thirty years, why would you invite me to the wedding? Have you got a thought on that?”
Asker: Because you’re Captain Kirk.
“There you go. It has nothing to do with, ‘I want you to celebrate with me, and be joyous with me at my wedding.’ It has to do with, what you just said. So I don’t have any hatchet to bury. I do not carry that hatchet. I carry a peace sign.”
Do you buy Shatner’s argument? Is he an easy target that Takei is using to promote himself? Can Shatner really feign that much ignorance of Takei as a person? After all, ‘Star Trek’ is the mother of all fandoms. They have been popping up at conventions together for decades upon decades. And while filming, there had to be some downtime during which the actors got to know one another. 50 years is a long time!
Is Shatner innocent or is he just trying to seem like the victim? Team Kirk or Team Sulu? Comment below!