William Shatner Explains Why Star Trek’s Still So Popular

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Though the future of the films might be a bit unclear at the moment, what with Chris Pine having departed from Star Trek 4Gene Roddenberry’s legendary sci-fi franchise is still in rude health on its traditional home of the TV screen.

2017’s Discovery was the first Star Trek show on the air since 2005 and CBS announced back in the summer that Patrick Stewart will be returning as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in a brand new follow-up series to The Next GenerationBeyond that, there’s also an animated Trek show in development called Lower Decks and a few other projects that the network’s been throwing around, too – including one centered around Khan.

But what is it about Star Trek that allows it to continue to endure and find itself so beloved even after all these years? Well, according to William Shatner, who played perhaps the franchise’s most iconic character, Captain Kirk, it’s because Trek inspires a certain fascination we have with outer space and what else is out there in the universe.

“Star Trek is science-fiction, and science-fiction, to a large group of people, is part of the awe and wonder of the universe,” Shatner tells Parade. “We speculate about what’s out there, and since we have no way of knowing, anyone’s speculation is as valid as anybody else’s. But it is of interest to people who look at the stars at night and wonder what’s out there and whether little green men are flying this way. Could we possibly see life? That brings up the question of death and all the stuff that we have no answers for. Science-fiction speculates an answer, and that, I think, is the fascination.”

Shatner certainly makes a good point here, and though Star Trek‘s idea of a scarcity-free future is, sadly, somewhat implausible right now, it’s still nice that the franchise continuously attempts to show us visions of a potential future in which the accumulation of knowledge and the betterment of mankind as a species is prioritized over the enrichment of any one individual.

Even after several decades and countless television shows, movies and more, Star Trek still seems to resonate with people just as much as it always has and with CBS making it pretty apparent they have no intention of slowing down in their output of Trek content, and Paramount remaining committed to a fourth film in the rebooted series, it’s clear that for Trekkies, the best may be yet to come.

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