It began in the 60s with Star Trek, the television series, before a string of movies exploded onto the international consciousness. Now Star Trek: The Exhibition is beaming into Edinburgh, bringing to Europe for the first time an extravaganza of Trekkie models, props, costumes and sets. It coincides with the release of Star Trek: Generations, a movie designed to propel the whole phenomenon into unchartered territory.
There is no going back, but you can make the voyage easy with The List’s Trek special.
WILLIAM SHATNER and PATRICK STEWART — Captains James T. Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard — speak about revolution in Trekdom, while Star Trek’s past and future are visualised by its production designer HERMAN ZIMMERMAN. We speak to a Scottish Klingon, surf on the Internet, Trekkie-style and probe the
depths of the Trek legend.
Captain’s Log, Stardate 95
In 1966 Star Trek was launched with Captain James T. Kirk at the helm. l-lilary Oliver speaks to WILLIAM SHATNER, the man who filled his starflcet boots for nearly three decades.
Was it difficult getting back into the role and the Lycra?
All. the Lycra. No. it wasn‘t difficult. You just get measured. slip into the tight pants. the cameras start to roll. you take a deep breath and say your words. It's almost second nature.
Did you get a feeling for the historical significance of Star Trek: Generations?
We certainly knew the old cast was giving way to the new. There was a sense of change there and change is difficult. I‘ve never understood why nature hasn‘t allowed us the mechanism to accept change without fighting it. since change is inevitable. With the changing of the guard. so to speak. it has freed me to pursue the many other projects in my life.
They say there was a melancholic feeling on set as they filmed your final scene, the ‘death’ of Kirk. What was the emotional build up for you as you prepared for that?
I wanted to perform it with realism. so l had to think about my own death and what l would like to do: how I would like to go out. Rather than screaming in terror at something. id like to go out like a hero. So I had to consider those things which are difficult. painful subjects to come to grips with. As the last scene was shot. there was a definite feeling of sorrow.
Is it true that the original ending was different — that you were due to be shot in the back?
Yes. there were some adjustments and I fought for them. It‘s not the way a hero goes. being shot in the back. There wasn't as much spectacle as they wanted. so they went back to that dreaded place called the Valley of Fire and re-shot for a week. giving it tnore spectacle and a little more heroic action.
It makes great commercial sense bringing both generations together. Do you think Paramount and the producers also felt they owed some emotional
dues to Star Trek fans to let the older crew go in grace?
Perhaps. The parts written for Spock and Dr McCoy were so small that Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley felt they‘d rather he remembered for the way they were in Slur Trek VI than appear in this. There weren‘t too many ofthe original cast in there.just me. James Doohan and Walter Koenig. but there was definite executive decision tnade to put sotne of us in there as a ceremonial handing over — and also perhaps as some box office insurance.
Director David Carson says Star Trek has always had tremendous production values — that it has touched on many aspects of the human condition. Over the years have you worked out your attitude to life through the character of Kirk?
The situation with Srar Trek is that in many instances the cast are the creators. in Star Trek: The Final Frontier which i directed. I sought to bring God and the Star Trek cast together. The meaning of who and what God is in relation to Star Trek is an exploration
Playing the generation game: William Shatner as James T. Kirk
of a son. There was a great deal of that going on in my life: working out my thoughts on life. death and God. The flexxus in this film is a very interesting idea. Was there much discussion as to what individuals thought about the Nexxus — the perfect world?
Yes. we would ask each other ‘What‘s your Nexxus‘." My own would be nothing different from yours: love. passion. a sense of health and well being. horses and dogs.
Kirk and Picard share obvious qualities of leadership, but what are their essential differences? Traditionally. Kirk has been a man of action. They tell the story that if Kirk got the drop on the bad guy with the gun. he'd say: ‘When 1 count to three you are going to drop your gun . . . one. two. bang.‘ if it was Picard. he‘d say: ‘()ne. two. two and a half. . . ‘ i suppose that the edicts. as laid down for the writing of The Next Generation were more intellectual than the action- adventure of the first series. ‘ You’ve said that in the early days it was a hazard just J
The List 27 Jan-9 Feb l995 7
Sun TREK SmurAl