William Shatner: ‘Star Trek’ Creator Would Be ‘Turning in His Grave’ if He Knew About the Spinoffs

Star Trek debuted on NBC in 1966, and it has since established its legacy as one of the greatest sci-fi franchises of all time. Created by Gene Roddenberry, the series revolutionized TV with its out-of-this-world settings, props, and characters. The franchise has earned its fair share of reboots and spinoffs over the years. But none has earned the stamp of approval from one of Star Trek‘s biggest stars: William Shatner. And the James T. Kirk actor doesn’t think Roddenberry would like the new projects either.

William Shatner speaks about 'Star Trek' at 2022 San Diego Comic-Con.
William Shatner | Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

‘Star Trek’: William Shatner’s role, the originals, and the spinoffs

On the original Star Trek series, Shatner played James T. Kirk, the fearless captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise. With his steadfast second-in-command, First Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy), by his side, Kirk led the crew into new star systems to seek out life, explore strange new worlds, and establish friendly relations with alien cultures.

Star Trek featured Shatner and Nimoy in leading roles, along with DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, George Takei, and James Doohan.

The original series was short-lived. NBC only renewed Star Trek through season 3, though most of the original cast returned to their roles shortly after for Star Trek: The Animated Series in 1973.

Generally, most Trek fans consider the 1966 original series, the 1973 animated series, and six feature films — Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country — to be “the originals.” 

Spinoffs followed, including the Patrick Stewart-led Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Enterprise.

More recently, Star Trek has had a modern-day revival with projects such as J.J. Abrams’ movie reboot Star Trek: Discovery, as well as TV series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which has earned rave reviews since its May premiere.

William Shatner shared his thoughts on new ‘Star Trek’ projects at Comic-Con

While speaking about his life and career with host Kevin Smith at the 2022 San Diego Comic-Con, Shatner didn’t hold back about the new era of Star Trek

Per The Hollywood Reporter, when asked whether there were any new Star Trek series he thought rivaled his own, Shatner replied: “None of them.”

The 91-year-old actor then added, “I got to know Gene Roddenberry in three years fairly well. He’d be turning in his grave at some of this stuff.”

In addition to his polarizing comments about Star Trek, William Shatner also took a jab at another famous sci-fi franchise. “F*** Star Wars,” he said. “… But not Mark Hamill.” The panel concluded with a friendly “curse-off” between Shatner and Smith.

The Captain Kirk actor has made other eyebrow-raising remarks

Shatner’s recent comments at San Diego Comic-Con certainly raised some eyebrows from fans of the new Star Trek series. But it’s far from the first time the Captain Kirk actor has been scrutinized for his remarks.

During the same panel, Shatner not-so-subtly shaded a fan for wearing a facial covering while attempting to ask him a question. “Not only did I not understand what he’s talking about, but I don’t understand who he’s talking to,” Shatner said after asking the fan to remove their mask several times, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Some might also remember the time Shatner insulted Star Trek fans on a 1986 episode of Saturday Night Live. In the sketch, Shatner plays a version of himself at a sci-fi convention. He tells a room full of Trekkies to “​​get a life, will you people? I mean, for crying out loud, it’s just a TV show!”

In 2021, Shatner was also one of few individuals to travel to space in controversial Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ New Shepard NS-18 of Blue Origin. It was an experience the actor gushed about at Comic-Con 2022.

“I went, and I vowed that every moment that I spent in space, would not be playing around in weightlessness, but looking out the window and trying to get an impression,” he said.

Many criticized his decision to travel to space, including his former Star Trek co-star Takei, who mockingly described the actor as “unfit” and a “guinea pig,” as reported by Page Six.

RELATED: If William Shatner’s First TV Show Had Been More Successful, He May Never Have Joined ‘Star Trek’