George Takei and William Shatner: What's That About?

I knew that George Takei was one of the first Trek alums to be openly critical of Shatner in print. I never read his memoir, but my understanding is he basically depicted him as something of a prima donna and egotist who wanted as many plots around Kirk and as many closeups of himself as possible and generally wasn’t a super nice guy. To my knowledge there was no absolute hatred there, and much of what he said was echoed by other cast members (particularly “Scotty” Doohan). Takei partook in a sometimes mean spirited roast of Shatner a year or so ago, but so did a lot of other people including Nichelle Nichols, Nimoy (via video), and many people he’d probably never met, and everyone knows the whole purpose of a roast is to be snarky and funny.

Okay, when Takei got married to his longtime male companion a few weeks ago (wedding pics) he didn’t invite Shatner. He said in one interview it was because he and his partner had 3,500 people on their contacts list and only 200 seats available. He invited Nichelle Nichols (who was his matron of honor), Walter Koenig (Chekhov) who’s evidently a good friend was his best man, Nimoy was invited. Doohan and Kelley are dead meaning they probably wouldn’t have come anyway. No idea if Doohan’s widow or Majel Roddenberry were invited.

While Takei has had a professional relationship with Shatner for more than 40 years, more off than on, by Shatner’s own admission they’ve never been particularly close friends and they almost never saw each other outside of a studio or Trek functions. So, Shatner seems a reasonable person to omit from a wedding guest list; I certainly have many co-workers past and present who I don’t hate or obsess over one way or the other but wouldn’t invite to my wedding (where seats are limited and reception guests are expensive after all).

So Shatner is now in the news for a video interview in which he rips Takei over a supposed “psychosis” (Shatner’s term) that makes him obsess on his hatred of Shatner. YouTube hereand transcript here. Selections from latter:

Okey doke. I’ll admit I’ve never been much of a Trekkie- not since I was about 12 anyway. All I know about the cast is what most people know. I know Takei is Japanese-American, was in an interrment camp during WW2, apparently wasn’t super fond of Shatner, is a long time jogging and health/anti-smoking activist, came out of the closet a few years back, does a lot of theater and Trek conventions, by the accounts of Trekkies I’ve known he’s a super nice guy and perhaps the most approachable of the original cast, and that he’s had a bit of a career comeback in recent years due to Howard Stern/coming-out/HEROES. Anything else I know about him is commentary on one of those things.

Is he really that obsessed with Shatner? Does he bash him at conventions or on Howard Stern? I was just curious why Shatner’s accusing him of obsession and who’s right.

Making a point of explaining why someone wasn’t invited in public is rude. Not to invite Shatner probably isn’t, but it’s almost a given that Shatner did not exempt Takai from his “be an ass” policy. Nimoy and Kelly were fairly forgiving about it, the others not so much.

Obviously, George Takei has no sense of humor. I bet he didn’t think this was very amusing:


I read the article and my take was this;

Shatner didn’t bother to read Takei’s book. He didn’t give a rat’s ass about Takei in any way, shape for form. He throws out a snide remark about why Takei might have been mad at him in the past, showing that he never made any effort to make amends, just thinks Takei should get over it.

So where’s the relationship? Answer: There isn’t one, never was one.

Shatner is just in the mode recently of making big tiffs out of how he’s been snubbed (see: the new ST movie) and is using such things to get free publicity.

Boo Fucking Hoo, Bill. :rolleyes:

So, what does the book actually say about Shatner?

He could’ve hated Kirk down through the years, blaming him for being passed over for promotion, blaming him for never recieving a command of his own

Interestingly, I own that book. I just scrounged it out of my book case and see that it still has the $2.99 discount tag on the front. :smiley:

Sifting through scanning a bit…

Shatner was “The Star!”, especially in his own mind. Snubbed Takei when they met a while after making the pilot.

“But Bill was the star. That was one inarguable fact. Even if the idea had originated with one of us, if Bill wanted it, he got it. Even if I tried to ad lib an entirely appropriate ‘Aye, Sir’, to a command, he would nix it, claiming that it would take away from the rhythm of the scene. This despite the fact that many of us had precious little to do in so many of the scripts. But Bill seemed totally immune to the sensitivities or the efforts of those he worked with.”

Scanning a bit more, Shatner comes off as a self-centered attention hog who intentionally diminished everything that might take focus off himself and put it on one of his co-stars.

And frankly, as I said above, that’s how he comes off with this whining in the press about not being invited. It wasn’t about HIM, so he has to find another way to make it BE ABOUT HIM.

Well, he does eventually take command of the USS Excelsior, being only the second Enterprise officer to get an independent command (Captain Sulu, of course, was Captain of the Enterprise around Star Trek II, before the Genesis Incident kicked up, and was again ostensibly the Captain in STVI, although Kirk was in command of the mission.

Erm, right, I think I just Trekkied out a bit there. :smiley:

Is that what happened, though? Obviously I haven’t seen this interview, but if it was one interview where Takei is discussing his wedding, and Moron Interviewer comes out and asks “So why didn’t you invite Shatner?” I’d think trying to avoid answering would call more attention to it than the simple, downplayed answer he gave. If the sum total of his answer was “We had a 200-guest limit” then there’s absolutely nothing personal about that – that’s what every about-to-be-married couple has to do. Apparently there were about 3300 people who also weren’t invited, should they all pitch a fit too?

Unless Takei actually brought Shatner up unprompted, or was bringing it up in multiple interviews, so he could tell the world that he wasn’t invited, I’m thinking Bill is making waaaaayyyy too much of this. It comes off sounding like he’s all offended that he’s actually not the center of someone’s universe, as he should clearly be the center of everyone’s universe, dammit.

Harlan Ellison describes watching Shatner spend hours reading the script The City on the Edge of Forever, thinking that Bill was intently studying the script for nuances and the like. Nope. Shatner was counting lines to make sure nobody had more than him.

Piffle, there’s a continuity breach between TOS and all that follows, it’s a parellel timeline. I remember sitting in First Contact, my favorite of the movies, and thinking ‘this can’t be the first warp flight, they were still on impuse power when they hit the energy field that surrounds our galaxy.’ Then the other side of my brain is like, ‘shut up geekboy, just don’t kiss the Borg Queen and we’ll get out of this ok.’

I love First Contact. So many great lines, though I wish more of the DS9 cast had appeared. O’Brien at least, and you KNOW Sisko would want to get his swings in at the Borg, but then we wouldn’t get Worf’s awesome intro with the Klingon battle theme (incidentally, my two big complaints with DS9: no Commander Tomalak (granted, the actor was on Babylon 5 at the time) and no use of the Klingon battle theme, also called “A Hymn For Blowing Everybody’s Shit Up (With Honor)” :smiley:

But yeah, Shatner just kinda gives off this really intense “I know just how awesome I am” vibe which can be very annoying if the person doesn’t happen to be as awesome as they know they are. Sometimes he seems inclined to play it for comedy (ie: “How William Shatner Changed the World”), but I’ve heard that he can be a whole lot of not fun in person. If I had teh choice between Walter Koenig and William Shatner at my wedding, I’d totally go with Walter.

But an AP article had this:

So is George not being straight with the media?

ETA: Hah, I just noticed the reporter referred to Shatner as “the 77-year-old Kirk.”

Umm, of course, I’m sure you meant Spock was captain of the Enterprise in The Wrath of Khan. As the Enterprise was meant to be retired, Sulu was meant to have taken command of the Excelsior in The Search For Spock, but due to the events of TWOK, the Enterprise crew was temporarily detached from active duty and Captain Styles was given command of the Excelsior instead. Sulu won his own command between the events in The Final Frontier and The Undiscovered Country.


Yes, Captain Spock had command in STII and STVI. :smack:

Ha, very funny.

William Shatner is one of the biggest drama queens in Hollywood, and he always has.

I don’t have them anymore, but IIRC, Sulu as the intended original captain of the Excelsior only exists as a storyline in the novelizations.

Officers and gentlemen captains all except for Sulu and his one mistake, but Shatner does not forget.

I don’t really care. While I realize the novels aren’t considered canon, I appreciate the movie novelizations for filling in the blanks that they don’t take the time to flesh out in the films. If Sulu hadn’t actually been offered command of the Excelsior in the film, he should have been. I think the movie novelizations at least should be cut a little slack and considered as canon hand-in-hand with the films.

It’s like the Voyager episode “Flashback” which placed Tuvok on the Excelsior during the events of TUC. One can weave as many various threads as one desires into a tapestry of his choosing.