Set Phasers to Stun: Shatner Says Star Wars Responsible For Star Trek Success

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William Shatner has a way of igniting fans. Close to 50 years after the original Star Trek television series, fans of the show are still rabid about their devotion to the franchise’s integrity. So when Shatner said that the Star Wars films are responsible for the success of the Star Trek, fans were less-than-pleased.

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Shatner dropped this bomb in front of thousands of fans who had come to his talk at a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas.

“First of all, ‘Star Wars’ created ‘Star Trek.’ You know that?” he said, rhetorically. The audience gasped. Several fainted. Others immediately set the phasers on stun.

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The original “Star Trek” series aired from 1966 to 1969. George Lucas was still in diapers, so to speak. “Star Wars” didn’t debut until 1977.

Luckily, before any real violence could break out, Shatner clarified what he meant. Star Wars, Shatner was suggesting, helped create an audience for Star Trek, and that kept the series and movies alive.

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“Every year there was the threat to be canceled. The third year, we were canceled, and everybody accepted it,” Shatner said.

“Star Wars: A New Hope,” a glorified space opera, was much more accessible. The film grossed $775 million at the box office.

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“At Paramount Studios they were running around bumping into each other: ‘What do we got?! What do we got to equal ‘Star Wars?'” Shatner said. “This is a big thing! There was this thing that we canceled, under another management, it was called Star …Trek? Let’s resurrect that!”

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So they made a Star Trek movie. And it came nowhere near the success of Star Wars. Shatner blames Paramount for rushing the project.

“‘Star Trek’ was done so hastily… there were no time to edit the special effects, and so the movie was flawed and didn’t make as much money,” he said.

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“It was ‘Star Wars’ that thrust ‘Star Trek’ into the people of Paramount’s consciousness,” he said.

If you want to back that statement with some facts, consider all of the Star Trek that exists now: 13 films, 624 episodes. And more to come.