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William Shatner to Share His Life Adventure at Comic-Con 2022

For all science fiction fans, knowing that actor – and now, astronaut – William Shatner will be in the famous Hall H of Comic-Con 2022, makes it a mandatory stop inside the San Diego Convention Center.

It will be a highlight to see and hear the actor who made his film and television character, James T. Kirk, the captain of the emblematic science fiction series Star Trek, such an icon. For an hour, Shatner will talk with filmmaker Kevin Smith about his life, career, and upcoming projects.

It’s remarkable that just by typing the word William into Wikipedia’s search box, the results bar puts William Shatner just below William Shakespeare.

Although the 91-year-old Canadian actor is not as prodigious as the other William is for writing, there are hundreds of books and dozens of film and television plots dedicated to his character Kirk, to which are added his comics, novels, audio-books, and albums with his songs.

But every Star Trek fan knows that the series and movies quote famous phrases from the work of the author of Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet.

Since his acting debut in 1951, Shatner combined his profession as an actor in Shakespeare’s domain, theater, with film and television. Having appeared in the episode Nightmare at 20,000 of The Twilight Zone (1963), in which from the window of his plane, he saw a gremlin eating the turbine, and having appeared in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964), Shatner got a good preview of what it was like to use fantasy and science fiction to tell stories with identifiably human themes.

In 1966, fate gave Shatner a character who, apparently, had his name written on his chest. Star Trek producer Gene Roddenberry pitched a pilot to NBC for his series that he described as a “wagon train to the stars,” not causing much excitement among the executives.

In that first episode, Enterprise Captain Pike was played by Jeffrey Hunter. The latter, thinking that it was not a good idea to associate his name with the concept of science fiction, withdrew when he learned that a pilot number two would be recorded.

That forced the production to recruit a new actor, giving the bridge chair of command to the 35-year-old Shatner.

Shatner’s career took off on a trajectory that no actor had gone before, alongside his Star Trek co-stars and a production team led by Roddenberry who, in a world whose goal was to end the 1960s with a man walking on the Moon, dreamt instead that in the XXIII century, humanity would have overcome hunger and wars and dedicate themselves to exploring the stars in ships like the Enterprise.



Shatner was part of the optimism of Star Trek. He imbued Kirk with the freshness of an American explorer, with the wink of a heartthrob.

The leadership of his character, outlined by Roddenberry, was that of being impulsive but at the same time taking the time to listen to his colleagues, including actors who represented Asians, Russians, an African-American woman, and a pointy-eared alien named Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy, who became an image emblem of the television series.

When at the end of the first season, NBC decided to cancel Star Trek because it did not have a spectacular audience size, Roddenberry’s office was filled with letters from fans from all over the planet, something they had not anticipated because the TV executives did not find it transcendent. The execs found it “a program with actors dressed in their pajamas.”

“We fanatical Trekkies (as the fans called themselves) are waiting for James T. Kirk to summon all the members of his Enterprise crew and I’m sure the captain will give the order for more seasons,” wrote 14-year-old Sandra Berlinski, from Brazil, in a letter documented in the book, “Letters to Star Trek.”

The enthusiasm generated by the Trekkies forced NBC to release second and third seasons. By the time it ended, after 79 episodes, Star Trek had already spread the word within the world’s pop culture.

The series’ prediction that technology could benefit not just science, but also education, leadership, biology, computing, artificial intelligence, and geopolitics, and its portrayal of the role of religion in the future made the series worthy of attention used in different university programs.

Shatner saw how intellectuals and students made Kirk an example of how to harmonize with different personalities and never arrive as a conqueror in any culture but as someone always willing to learn and empathize.

Shatner was part of the first interracial kiss between an Anglo-Saxon man and an African-American actress on a television series broadcast to all audiences when Kirk and Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) kissed in the November 1968 episode, Plato’s Stepchildren.

In the middle of his fight for civil rights, community leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. encouraged the actress in charge of communications on the Enterprise not to leave Star Trek, as it was a series where she represented a position of authority.

Almost a decade passed before Shatner could return to the command bridge of the Enterprise, this time on the big screen with Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), driven by the success of Star Wars (1977) and the return of science fiction to television in shows like Battlestar Galactica.

But it hasn’t all been fireworks in Shatner’s career. In 1986, the Canadian actor appeared a month after the premiere of his Star Trek: The Voyage Home to shout the phrase: “Get a life!” – representing himself as a guest at a convention on his popular series and freaking out over the geeky questions and the intensity of the audience.

The phones began to ring and Shatner felt how the fans’ hatred could create a black hole in his future, endangering even his career.

Rumors about the rivalry between Shatner and his colleague Nimoy also existed. While Leonard created with Voyage Home one of the most representative Star Trek films by addressing the issue of whales and their protection, Shatner directed the following Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), considered the worst, as evaluated by the public and the critics.

Shatner’s lack of presence at Star Trek fan conventions – which most of the cast attended – also created a gray halo around the actor. Still, there was no doubt that when NASA renamed one of its shuttles Enterprise, people thought of Kirk and his impact on the dream of exploring space.

Attempting to create his own trail of stories, Shatner created TekWar for television with writer Ron Goulart and input from the actor. The project also manifested itself in novels and comics, from 1994 to 1996.


After years of making the phrase “Space the final frontier…” famous in Star Trek projects and having passed the character on film to Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) in Star Trek: Generations (1994), Shatner ventured into several projects not related to space.

The turn of the century in 2000 brought Shatner back into the spotlight as he was cast in the romantic comedy Miss Congeniality opposite Sandra Bullock as the eccentric host of the Miss Universe beauty pageant.

The public learned of Shatner’s good sense of humor and new projects soon followed. Five years later, he would win the Golden Globe for portraying a likable lawyer in the series Boston Legal.

A tireless television actor, Shatner also finds time to enjoy horseback riding and owns several horses. He received several awards from equine associations.

Shatner wrote in his autobiography Live Long And…What I Learned Along (edited in 2018): “I have lived a lucky life. I have literally and proverbially been to the top of the mountain. I have met the most extraordinary people and enjoyed the most joyous experiences.

“I have ridden horses across the prairies and ridden my motorcycle around the country. I have seen the miracle of my children growing to adulthood; I have lived the full spectrum of emotions.

“I have felt tremendous joy and the deepest pains. I have been loved and hated. There is no such thing as ‘the best choice.’ Nothing is safe. There is no way of knowing what fate has in store for us.”

When Shatner speaks with Kevin Smith at Comic-Con this Thursday, he will surely share some of his meditations as an ordinary man while the audience still has in their memory and on their smartphones (similar to the communication devices of the Enterprise) the image of Shatner crying when seeing himself as an astronaut for the first time in October 2021, courtesy of Jeff Bezos, a declared fan of that Star Trek that has led him to dream beyond its borders.


Translated by Mario Amaya