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SYFY WIRE William Shatner

William Shatner discusses his upcoming space journey at NYCC: ‘I’m Captain Kirk and I’m terrified’

By Brian Silliman
Comic-con 2021 William Shatner

James Tiberius Kirk has had a lifetime of adventures, and so has William Shatner. The actor who portrays the famous Star Trek captain/admiral may be most famous for his work on Star Trek, but he's also well known for roles in Boston Legal, T.J. Hooker, and more. Kirk has seen every corner of the galaxy (including the 1980s and a gangster planet) but Shatner himself is soon going to see the actual final frontier. 

Shatner will soon take part in a Blue Origin flight to space, and at 90 years of age he will be the oldest person to boldly go up there. Today, Shatner held court at New York Comic Con 2021, where he discussed his upcoming journey, as well as his storied career. 

Shatner strutted onstage, and there was no moderator in sight. He took his captain’s chair (armchair) and proceeded to begin with a story, which included an old friend of his stealing from him for 30 years. He transitioned into being astonished by that which he doesn’t understand, saying, “You’ve gotta be dazzled by everything. Trees! They keep discovering things.” 

There were many changes of pace, but Shatner asked the audience to, “Just stay with me.” Most of the preceding was in service of Shatner talking about his new spoken-word album, “Bill,” along with various other projects. He’s fascinated by everything, including the unknown, and maintained that any conversation, if taken far enough, will yield interesting results. 

Did he talk about the big George and Gracie (whales) that were in the room, meaning did he talk about going to space? He did indeed. “I’m going up in space,” he said, as the room burst out in applause. He then said he wasn’t going to talk about that yet, as he had some other things to get through first. 

Like: What kind of a world are we going to leave the youngest among us? Shatner asked as much while discussing some time he spent with an A.I. “Everything is magical, what kind of a world?” Shatner asked. “We’ve got to focus on that, the end is coming, I’ll be gone. Take care of it!” 

Then, out of nowhere: “I’m going up. I’m scared. Captain Kirk going… where? Where am I going?” One fan in the audience screamed, “SPACE!” 

“I don’t want to be known as the oldest guy in… I’m bloody Captain Kirk!” he said, referring to the original idea for his journey, where it was clear he would be, promotionally speaking, the oldest man to ever make the trip. 

During his recent training, Shatner admitted he was put off by the repeated refrain from scientists of, “our best guess…” 

“There’s  little niggling… I’m terrified,” he said. “I’m Captain Kirk and I’m terrified. I’m not really terrified. Yes I am. It comes and goes.”

Either way, he’s definitely gonna press his face to the window once he’s up there, he just doesn’t want anything looking back. He's also been prepping "little speeches" for when the moment comes. 

“Here we have this little tiny thing, and we’re sitting here in this great city of New York… this little tiny speck of dust," he said, musing on how small the Earth really is, adding, "We’re vomiting and puking on it, and s**ting on it, we’ve got to stop folks, we’ve really got to stop.”

With that, Shatner wrapped up the panel... but not before getting out one final line: "I really am scared." 

Click here for all of SYFY WIRE's coverage of New York Comic Con 2021.