Blue Origin’s second human spaceflight has returned to Earth after taking a brief flight to the edge of space this morning. Among the four passengers on board — there is no pilot — was William Shatner, the actor who first played the space-traveling Captain Kirk in the Star Trek franchise.
“The covering of blue. This sheet, this blanket, this comforter that we have around. We think, oh, that’s blue sky,” an emotional Shatner said after returning to earth.
“Then suddenly you shoot through it all of the sudden, as though you’re whipping a sheet off you when you’re asleep, and you’re looking into blackness, into black ugliness.”
One of the hardest-working men in Hollywood hasn’t been slowed so much by the pandemic.
He has two television shows going. He released a movie several months back and will release an album next month.
Lately he has traveled by land with his horses and by sea swimming with sharks, and he casts a hopeful eye on heading to space — but not before recording an A.I.-driven version of himself for future generations to hear. Did we mention he also eased up long enough in March to celebrate turning 90?
Captain James T. Kirk famously died in Star Trek Generations but William Shatner personally conceived the perfect last words spoken by the Starfleet icon. Shatner starred as Kirk, the Captain of the USS Enterprise, for three seasons of The Original Series in the 1960s before headlining six Star Trek movies from 1979-1991.
Star Trek Generations was Shatner’s final canonical appearance as Kirk, and the legendary actor hasn’t reprised the role of the good Captain since 1994, although he remains indelibly linked to Captain Kirk. Kirk’s death was part of Star Trek Generations from its inception.
In the early 1990s, Paramount saw Star Trek: The Next Generation as the future for the movie franchise and the studio began planning for the show – headlined by Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard – to end with season 7 so that it could make the leap to the big screen. However, Paramount also worried about the TNG movie’s box office chances and wanted a crossover film with TOS’ cast to make it an ‘event’ for Trekkers.
Ultimately, only Shatner, James Doohan, and Walter Koenig signed on for the first of what became four TNG movies Shatner’s participation was crucial because the death of Captain Kirk was planned as the movie’s big climactic moment in order to pass the torch to Picard.