William Shatner, the icon who played Captain James T. Kirk in the original Star Trek, recently returned to the bridge.
Shatner attended a special William Shatner Weekend at Star Trek: Original Series Set Tour in Ticonderoga, New York, visiting the replica of the original USS Enterprise set as it appeared on Stage 9 at Desilu, recreated by Star Trek fan and Elvis impersonator James Cawley.
Shatner’s activities included a private talk with VIP guests, a press conference, photos taken in the captain’s chair, autographs, and a Live on Stage talk in the auditorium of the nearby high school.
“When I left the set (for the last time), I think I had the flu,” Shatner recalled (via StarTrek.com). “I think I was a little ill. I went on my way. And now I’m back! Maybe we can do it again.”
Shatner also discussed what it has been like embodying Captain James T. Kirk for 50 years and how he might play the character differently now.
“I brought myself to it,” he said. "What would I do now? Quite different, I think, because 50 years have gone by. If I weren’t going to do something different 50 years later, I’d be stuck in a time warp, and that’s too science fiction-y for me. So, the evolution of the human being... if you’re a good actor you bring all that you have lived. I was quite callow in those years and, 50 years later, I have more depth, having lived, and I’d hopefully bring something more.”
Shatner also praised Cawley’s faithful recreation of the Enterprise set, saying, “This set is exactly the way it was 50-odd years ago. And it’s like coming back to a house that you might have been born in and go look around and you see it: ‘Wow, it’s bigger and smaller than I remember, and yet it’s the same.’ So, if you’re interested in Star Trek, this is extraordinary.”
Cawley also invited out famed graphic designer Michael Okuda, who is best known for helping to define the look of Star Trek. Though Okuda only began working on Star Trek with a small contribution to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and a staff position on Star Trek: The Next Generation, he expressed fond memories for The Original Series.0comments
“The original Star Trek is the one I grew up with,” Okuda told StarTrek.com. “Don’t get me wrong; I’m very proud to have worked on TNG and all those other shows, but as a child, this is the ship that I traveled in in my imagination. So, to get to come here to see all the sets in physical proximity to each other, exactly as they were? It’s like stepping into a dream.“
You can learn more about Star Trek: The Original Series Set Tour at its website.