William Shatner must have stones the size of two slightly smaller William Shatners. On Saturday, the 85-year-old musical genius made a statement at Las Vegas’ 15th annual official Star Trek convention that was pretty much guaranteed to make die-hard fans choke on their Romulan Ale.
“First of all, Star Wars created Star Trek. You know that?” offered Shatner to the crowd according to a CNN report. Considering that the original series predates Star Wars by over a decade and Captain Kirk’s making this declaration on Trek turf, this assessment reads as borderline sacrilege. It’s a bit like going to a Kim & Kanye meet-n-greet and hearing Kanye say Taylor Swift made him famous. Bricks were presumably sh*t.
So what’s Shatner getting at? He explained to the crowd that the arrival of Star Wars in 1977 helped bring Star Trek back to life. A claim that’s way more palatable to Trekkies/Trekkers than the “Star Wars created Star Trek.” Shatner recalled how studios were scrambling after Star Wars proved to be an absolute box office juggernaut and on the search for a worthy competitor.
“At Paramount Studios they were running around bumping into each other: ‘What do we got?! What do we got to equal ‘Star Wars?’ This is a big thing! There was this thing that we canceled, under another management, it was called Star …Trek? Let’s resurrect that!”
Shatner conceded that the first Trek movie was underwhelming thanks to the rush to get it made and special effects that weren’t anywhere near in the league of George Lucas’ space epic. The first cinematic go-around wasn’t great, but Star Trek‘s motion picture presence owes Star Wars a debt in Shatner’s eyes. Mind you, Shatner sees the sci-fi offerings as being different animals.
“Star Trek at its best tells human stories. It’s philosophical. There’s humanity. There’s a principle involved. And it’s well done. It’s about people,” noted Shatner. “Star Wars was grand, like opera. It was huge with great special effects. It was a marvelously entertaining film, but it wasn’t specifically about people the way those Star Treks were.”
So even with that original Wars created Trek mention, things were sorted out in a way where all parties should be happy with the result. Put those effigies away, everybody.