San Diego Comic-Con is well underway, bringing about the greatest and most unexpected revelations in the world of geek culture. During Thursday's proceedings, that included a "Shatner on Shatner" panel, spotlighting an upcoming documentary focused around actor and pop culture icon William Shatner. Moderated by Kevin Smith, a director, actor, and collaborator with Shatner on the upcoming second season of Masters of the Universe: Revolution, the panel is set to provide fans with a first look at the documentary, and some surprises along the way.
Moderator Kevin Smith introduces the panelists — Legion M co-founder and president Jeff Annison, Legion M VP of Development David Baxter, producer Kerry Deignan Roy, and director Alexandre O. Philippe.
He then queues up Shatner's arrival with a story about their work on Masters of the Universe: Revolution, where Shatner chastised Smith for "directing" him too early on a take.
Shatner is then asked about his previous times attending San Diego Comic-Con, and fandom writ large. He then tells a story that leads him
Smith asks Shatner why it's taken so long to get a definitive documentary made about him. Shatner reminds the audience that he's 91 years old, and how he's felt his age and his shortness of breath while participating in horse-riding competitions. Shatner jokes that his autographs will go up in value when he dies — and that would especially be the case if he died onstage in the panel.
Smith asks Shatner if he enjoys talking about himself, and Shatner explains that he enjoys talking to people about their "interesting stories," as opposed to asking what his favorite episode is. He temporarily gets distracted by his microphone malfunctioning. Shatner jokes that he and Smith are going to have a "foul-mouth contest", after they have been swearing so much during the panel thus far. Smith jokes that Shatner handled the mic situation like a true "no win" scenario.
Smith introduces Legion M, the crowdsourced production company behind the documentary, before a brief sizzle reel about the company plays. Shatner explains why he loves the ethos behind Legion M. Annison highlights how much Legion M has grown in the past six years, and is excited to see how the company grows six years from now — leading Shatner to joke that he's curious to see how he'll be six years from now.
Baxter reveals how he first met Shatner while in Indiana Jones cosplay, and was happy that Shatner liked the idea of the company and wanted to become an advisor. He also speaks about working on Phillipe on his last movie, and how Phillipe had "always" wanted to make a documentary about Shatner. Shatner reveals that he'd had faith in the creative team to make the documentary, and in the idea of shareholders essentially being able to "vote" and have an opinion on a project. Baxter echoes that the company loves having its shareholders involved, but that the project was rooted in the creativity from Phillipe and
Smith asks Phillipe and Roy where they even start with making a documentary about Shatner, and jokes he would make a two-hour documentary just about Shatner's delivery of the monologue in Star Trek 2. Phillipe reveals he's been a fan of Shatner since he was a child, and that he found inspiration and structure for the documentary in the themes of Shatner's autobiographical songs. He says that the film is "lyrical" and "poetic", and celebrates Shatner's life as both an actor and a person.
Roy says the creative team of the film has made the documentary's process as easy as possible, and says Shatner has an amazing energy. She reveals that they spent three days interviewing Shatner in a studio.
Phillipe introduces a "sketch" of a scene from the documentary, which he says sets up Shatner's thoughts on nature — something that starts grounded and grows cosmic.
The footage shows Shatner telling a story about his first family dog, and how he discovered that his dog had been hit by a car at the age of 9 or 10. As Shatner was holding the dog's remains, a nearby lattice had cast a shadow over the body, and it left Shatner "bewildered." He then buried the dog, and hadn't had a dog since — until he got married in his twenties. He argues that dogs, horses, and trees all speak. He argues that there's a "latticework" to the universe, and that it's all precious. He gets profoundly impacted by it — and by the "extinction" that is happening all around us due to the actions of humans, which he says is destroying the "miracle" that's all around us.
After the footage is over, Shatner tells a story about attending camp as a child, and getting awestruck by the night sky filled with stars. He then talks about how we're connected to all things on Earth. He then plugs his upcoming book, Boldly Go, which explores this concept even further. He tells a story about his work with Ben Folds, as well as his recent album — and some songs that will be in the documentary.
Phillipe and Roy reveal that they're still filming parts of the documentary, and suggests finding a way to film in Hall H, so the audience can be included in the movie. The panelists get out their phones and record the crowd cheering for Shatner. Shatner plugs Boldly Go, Unexplained, and some of his other projects, including a watch and an NFT/Funko Pop! combo.
Smith opens up the floor for audience questions. A fan asks what planet he would want to land on if he went to space again. While Shatner initially gets confused by the question, he answers that "this is the only f-cking planet that you have", and that others are either hollow or inhospitable. He then talks about the complicated variables of space travel, and Smith jokes that the fan would've just wanted him to say the planet from Genesis. Shatner says we should "make our home" on Earth instead and clean up the planet.
Another fan shows up and exchanges pleasantries with Smith, which confuses Shatner. The fan asks Shatner what was the most unexpected feeling he felt while traveling in space. Shatner reveals that he'd wanted to spend his time in space looking out the window, as opposed to playing around with weightlessness. He then describes how black space was, and that it was a darkness he'd never seen before, and how it made him look at life and death differently.
A third fan shows up and suggests a curse for the "foul-mouth off" — "double dumbass." Smith and Shatner then engage in the "foul-mouth off", and Smith quickly loses. The fan also asks if there were any performances after his in the Star Trek franchise that impressed him, and Shatner says there's nothing. Shatner argues that Gene Roddenberry would be rolling over in his grave if he saw some of the subsequent Star Trek stuff.
Smith then wraps up the panel, and Shatner gets a standing ovation.0comments