Star Trek’s original captain, William Shatner, took a moment to remind fans about what the franchise has always been about. On October 9th, Shatner sent out a tweet that reads, “A word @ @StarTrek; the vision of the show from the beginning was to highlight social problems & stigmas in a way that makes you give it some thought. It may be controversial to some but it presents issues in an abstract enough way to encourage conversation. That hasn’t changed.” While Shatner didn’t provide a reason for sending out that tweet, it seemed to be in response to an online altercation between Star Trek fans on Twitter.
In a 2019 interview, Shatner explained why he believes Star Trek still resonates more than 50 years after its debut. “Star Trek is science-fiction, and science-fiction, to a large group of people, is part of the awe and wonder of the universe,” Shatner said. “We speculate about what’s out there, and since we have no way of knowing, anyone’s speculation is as valid as anybody else’s. But it is of interest to people who look at the stars at night and wonder what’s out there and whether little green men are flying this way. Could we possibly see life? That brings up the question of death and all the stuff that we have no answers for. Science-fiction speculates an answer, and that, I think, is the fascination.”
Shatner accepted the Emmy Governors Award on behalf of the entire Star Trek franchise in 2018. In his acceptance speech, Shatner said, “Thank you so much. 52 years. What a gift. We’re grateful… Star Trek has endured because it represents an idea – one that’s greater than the sum of our parts….we watch and we reach to see the best version of ourselves…. Star Trek is a phenomenon… I accept this award with honor.”
A word @ @StarTrek; the vision of the show from the beginning was to highlight social problems & stigmas in a way that makes you give it some thought. It may be controversial to some but it presents issues in an abstract enough way to encourage conversation. That hasn’t changed.— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) October 10, 2019
Shatner tried to carry on the spirit of Star Trek in his final moments as Captain Kirk, his death scene on Veridian III in Star Trek Generations in which he utters Kirk’s last words, “Oh my…”
"I thought about dying, my death and this beloved character who's going to be put to rest,” Shatner said in another 2018 interview. “How do I play it? You know there's got to be a moment, you're alive, and you're going to die, now you're alive, and now you're going to die. There has to be a moment when we all, at that moment of death, we say, 'Holy cats, I'm dying!' And you're dead. How do you treat that moment? And I think we die the way we live. If we live filled with fear, a fear of flying, a fear of leaving the village, you'll be fearful, you'll lose your breath, you'll panic, and you'll die. Or if you look forward to the next adventure, maybe you're conscious, maybe we're conscious when we die. Maybe, we're aware. A lot of people believe in heaven. We're all going to go to a lovely place and see somebody. I don't know what age we see our mother and father. Are they still old? Or are they young? We don't know. That would be a lovely thing to happen, but we don't know. It's how we die that's interesting. And I think we die the way we live."
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