William Shatner Blames Star Trek Feuds on "Bitter and Embittered" Co-Stars

Star Trek star William Shatner says that his feuds with fellow cast members are the fault of "bitter and embitterred" co-stars. Shatner's role as Capt. James T. Kirk in Star Trek: The Original Series and seven Star Trek movies are iconic. The tension between him and other Star Trek cast members is also well-known to fans. The primary source of this information is the various memoirs written by the cast. In his new memoir Boldly Go, Shatner recalled feeling taken back when Nichelle Nichols told him most of his co-stars found him to be "cold and arrogant." It seems that, as the years have gone by, Shatner has come to believe the problem is not him but them. 

"Sixty years after some incident, they are still on that track. Don't you think that's a little weird? It's like a sickness," Shatner says in an interview with The Times of London. "I began to understand that they were doing it for publicity."

He and George Takei, who played Sulu in Star Trek, have thrown barbs at each other publicly on several occasions. Most recently, Takei called Shatner "unfit" and compared him to a "guinea pig" as Shatner prepared for his Blue Origin spaceflight.

"George [Takei] has never stopped blackening my name," Shatner says in the new interview. "These people are bitter and embittered. I have run out of patience with them. Why give credence to people consumed by envy and hate?"

The Times of London interview caused a new swell of online comments about Shatner and his Trek co-stars. Shatner responded to this new swell on Twitter.

"I do find it sad that a handful of day players who were on set for maybe 20-30 days a year total spent 50+ years creating fantasies to get noticed in the press," Shatner tweeted. "Why did actors in other shows I was in not have the same issues? I stupidly allowed them to do it I guess. No more!"

During a 2020 interview on David Tennant's podcast, Takei claimed that the tension between the original Star Trek cast began when Leonard Nimoy's Spock became a bigger deal than Shatner's Kirk. "It got more and more intense," Takei said. "How do I put it? It began from the TV series. There was one character whose charisma and whose mystery was like a magnet. It was Spock, the strange alien with pointy ears. That intrigued the audience, and women thought, 'I'm the one who can arouse him.' His fan letters were this many, and Leonard's were that many, and that created an insecurity."

It doesn't seem like the nature of their relationship is going to become any less combative soon. Shatner's latest book, Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder, is on sale now.

Star Trek: The Original Series is streaming now on Paramount+. The original six Star Trek movies were recently re-released on Blu-ray and, for the first time, released on 4k UHD Blu-ray.