'Cantankerous old man': George Takei stokes feud with 'Star Trek' co-star William Shatner


George Takei (left) played Hikaru Sulu and William Shatner starred as Capt James T. Kirk in the iconic TV series and 'Star Trek' films. Photos: TNS and Handout

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 criticise him "for publicity".

"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 publicise 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."

Takei was promoting the UK premiere of his Broadway musical Allegiance, which is inspired by his story during World War II when the US 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-centred". 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.

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. – Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service

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