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George Takei Calls William Shatner a “Cantankerous Old Man,” Says He Was “Prima Donna” on Star Trek Set

In response to Shatner accusing Takei of "blackening my name"

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George Takei William Shatner Star Trek cantankerous old man
George Takei and William Shatner in Star Trek (Paramount)

    Earlier this month, William Shatner called out his former Star Trek castmate George Takei for “blackening my name.” In a new interview with The Guardian, Takei has responded in kind by calling Shatner “a cantankerous old man.” When asked if anybody in the cast got along with Shatner, Takei said, “No, none of us.”

    Takei, who played Hikaru Sulu opposite Shatner’s Captain Kirk in the Star Trek franchise, remembered the “great camaraderie” on set “except for one, who was a prima donna.” He praised “lasting friend[ships]” formed with co-stars like Walter Koenig (Chekov), Nichelle Nichols (Uhura), Leonard Nimoy (Spock), and James Doohan (Scotty). When pressed about his relationship with Shatner, Takei was initially reluctant.

    “I know he came to London to promote his book and talked about me wanting publicity by using his name. So I decided I don’t need his name to get publicity,” Takei said. “I have much more substantial subject matter that I want to get publicity for, so I’m not going to refer to Bill in this interview at all. Although I just did. He’s just a cantankerous old man and I’m going to leave him to his devices. I’m not going to play his game.”

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    Takei also described a younger Shatner as “self-involved,” adding, “He enjoyed being the center of attention. He wanted everyone to kowtow to him.”

    Shatner spoke about his shaky relationships with his Star Trek co-stars in a recent interview with The Times. Besides the breakdown of his friendship with Nimoy, Shatner said he was taken aback when described as “cold and arrogant” by Nichols.

    “I began to understand that they were doing it for publicity,” Shatner said about his former castmates slamming him. “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.”

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    He continued by directing his ire at Takei, saying, “George has never stopped blackening my name. These people are bitter and embittered. I have run out of patience with them. Why give credence to people consumed by envy and hate?”

    Back in 2021, Takei mocked Shatner’s space flight aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket, describing his former co-star as “not the fittest specimen.” He added, “He’s a guinea pig, 90 years old and it’s important to find out what happens.”

    Takei is currently promoting his starring role in the British production of the musical Allegiance, which is inspired by his personal experiences with the Japanese American internment during World War II. Meanwhile, Shatner is making the press rounds in support of his recently released book, Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder.

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