William Shatner Blames Himself for 'Star Trek V'

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is considered by many to be the worst of the 13 Star Trek films. Star Trek star William Shatner directed the film and blames himself for its failures.

Shatner looks back on Star Trek V in his new book Live Long And...What I Might Have Learned Along The Way. Trek Movie received an advance copy of the memoir and shared some of its most fascinating insights. These include Shatner’s feelings about The Final Frontier.

“I had a choice,” Shatner writes in the book. “I could accept the compromise or refuse to direct the movie. I made a mistake; I accepted the compromise, which doomed the picture from the beginning.”

Shatner goes on to say that the decision was “consistent with who I was at the time.” He uses the example as a jumping off point to discuss how people change throughout their lifetime.

For those unfamiliar with the plot or background of Star Trek V, the film finds the Enterprise commandeered by Sybok, Spock's brother. Sybok is searching for God and brings the Enterprise crew along on his quest.

They end up coming into contact with the powerful alien being at the center of the galaxy. When the alien behaves in a distinctly un-divine manner, Shatner’s Captain Kirk challenges him and utters the now infamous line, “What does God need with a Starship?”

Shatner’s original story for The Final Frontier, inspired by televangelists, was a bit different. Shatner wanted the Enterprise crew to find that Satan himself was masquerading as God. Kirk’s crewmates would have then been captured and brought to Hell, and Kirk would have to brave the inferno to rescue them.

As Shatner mentions in his book, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry found the original story too controversial. Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley also objected to Shatner’s original plans for their characters. Spock and McCoy would have betrayed Kirk before being dragged down to Hell.


Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was widely criticized for being too religious in tone and too ponderous. The movie reminding fans too much of the maligned first Star Trek film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture. We’ll never know if Shatner's original story would have fared better, but Shatner seems to feel that he should have stood his ground on the matter.

What do you think of William Shatner’s feelings about Star Trek V: The Final Frontier? Let us know in the comments!