George Takei stokes feud, says William Shatner was a ‘prima donna’ on ‘Star Trek’ set

Man with gray hair smiling and looking upward to the right in darkened room
Actor George Takei continued his public feud with “Stark Trek” co-star William Shatner by calling him “a cantankerous old man.”
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

George Takei continued his public feud with his “Star Trek” co-star William Shatner this week by describing him as a “prima donna” whom “none” of the sci-fi show’s cast got along with.

“He’s just a cantankerous old man and I’m going to leave him to his devices,” Takei told the Guardian in an interview. “I’m not going to play his game.”

But Takei seemed to be responding to Shatner‘s interview with the Times UK in which he called his “Star Trek” co-stars “bitter” and said they continually criticize him “for publicity.”

George Takei continued his decades-long feud with William Shatner by shading his “Star Trek” co-star for blasting off into space at 90 years old.

Oct. 14, 2021

“I began to understand that they were doing it for publicity,” Shatner said. “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. 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?”


In the Guardian interview, Takei said Shatner was using his name to publicize his recent book, “Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder.”

“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.”

George Takei, William Shatner, Zoe Saldana and other members of the ‘Star Trek’ family mourned Nichelle Nichols, the series’ original Lt. Uhura.

Aug. 1, 2022

Takei was promoting the U.K. premiere of his Broadway musical “Allegiance,” which is inspired by his story during WWII when the U.S. government imprisoned his family and other Japanese Americans in incarceration sites. Takei stars in the production that runs from January to April in a 13-week run.

Takei played Hikaru Sulu and Shatner starred as Capt. James T. Kirk in the iconic TV series and “Star Trek” films. The feud has lasted for decades and well after the last time they were on set together.

Takei previously accused Shatner of being “very self-centered.” In his 1994 biography “To the Stars,” Takei accused Shatner of ignoring him on the “Star Trek” set and changing the script for “Star Trek V” so his character wouldn’t take command of a spaceship. There was also a public disagreement over whether Shatner was invited to Takei’s 2008 wedding.

At 90, William Shatner set the record for the oldest person to go to space after 10-minute flight aboard Blue Origin. “I am overwhelmed,” he said upon return.

Oct. 13, 2021

Shatner has said he pities Takei and has claimed that “there’s a psychosis there” when it comes to Takei and that there’s something “festering” in the actor. In his 2011 memoir “Shatner Rules,” he said that their discord was a result of Takei’s unwillingness to play second fiddle on the show.

Takei had other names for him, calling Shatner “a guinea pig” after the 90-year-old’s October flight aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space capsule. The trip made Shatner the oldest person to launch into space.