Star Trek legend George Takei has opened up about the tensions on set of The Original Series back in the day. Takei, who played Hikaru Sulu throughout TOS and its associated movies, spoke with fellow sci-fi icon David Tennant on the Doctor Who star’s podcast, David Tennant Does A Podcast With… Takei’s time as Sulu naturally took up a lot of the discussion, including how fraught things could get on board the Enterprise, particularly between William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy.
According to Takei, the infamous rivalry between the Kirk and Spock stars came from the difference in fan mail they received. Fan appreciation for the Vulcan was apparently much higher than for Kirk, something which didn’t please Shatner.
“It got more and more intense,” Takei says. “How do I put it? It began from the TV series. There was one character whose charisma and whose mystery was like a magnet. It was Spock, the strange alien with pointy ears. That intrigued the audience, and women thought, ‘I’m the one who can arouse him.’ His fan letters were this many, and Leonard’s were that many, and that created an insecurity.”
Continuing to speak diplomatically, Takei recalled that there was a lack of team spirit in “some actors” on set who felt that Trek was more of a “one-man show” and not an ensemble piece.
“You know, movie-making, TV-making, theatre-making is all about collaborative teamwork,” he said. “A good actor knows that the scene works when there’s that dynamic going on with the cast. Some actors seem to feel that it’s a one-man show. That’s the source of some tensions.”
Of course, Takei’s own feud with Shatner is arguably even more heated than Shatner and the late Nimoy’s complicated friendship was. In fact, the Canadian actor has lashed out against his former co-star’s claims on Twitter, completely refuting his words and accusing Takei of “making things up.”
George needs a new hobby. Now he’s making things up. We never saw fan letters. ??♂️ That’s why there’s so many secretary signed photos. We barely saw George. He was in once a week at most-how would he know anything? The only person with jealousy is George.? https://t.co/Aq8vvHvVeG
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) August 25, 2020
Well, obviously the two of them were never going to see eye to eye on this issue. If you want to know more about the Shatner/Nimoy dynamic though, at least from the former’s point of view, Shatner published a book titled Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man back in 2016.
To learn more about George Takei’s side of things, meanwhile, and to hear him discuss other Star Trek matters, check out Tennant’s podcast via the link below.