William Shatner Boldly Credits Star Wars For The Success Of Star Trek

William Shatner hasn’t always been a staunch defender of Star Trek—he famously mocked Trekkies on Saturday Night Live in the mid-’80s—but he has come to embrace the series that made him a star, going so far as to make his own documentaries about the topic. Shatner has been less vocal in his support for Star Wars, but over the weekend, he credited the rival franchise with the ’70s Star Trek revival that continues to this day.

While speaking at the 15th annual official Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, Shatner made a bold and seemingly illlogical claim. “First of all, Star Wars created Star Trek,” he said, even though his iconic TV series preceded the 1977 George Lucas classic by 11 years. Elaborating on this mysterious assertion, he argued that the success of Star Wars was directly responsible for Star Trek’s belated transition to the big screen. “At Paramount Studios they were running around bumping into each other: ‘What do we got? What do we got to equal Star Wars? This is a big thing. There was this thing that we canceled, under another management, it was called StarTrek? Let’s resurrect that!’”


In spite of this gracious nod to Star Wars, Shatner remains a Trekkie at his core. “Star Trek at its best tells human stories,” he explained. “It’s philosophical. There’s humanity. There’s a principle involved. And it’s well done. It’s about people. Star Wars was grand, like opera. It was huge with great special effects. It was a marvellously entertaining film, but it wasn’t specifically about people the way those Star Treks were.”

For the latest in the ongoing Star Trek saga, check out Star Trek Beyond—in theatres now—and/or Star Trek: Discovery when it premieres in January. For a brief glimpse of the latter, watch the Comic-Con test footage below.