Earlier today at New York Comic Con, Star Trek actor William Shatner spoke about his upcoming trip into outer space. No, he’s not planning for a new TV role. Rather, he’s planning for the role of a lifetime; a real-life trip aboard the rocket New Shepard NS-18. But first, he talked a bit about technology, friendships, and his grandkids. When he asked if he forgot anything, the crowd at the Javits Center shouted “Outer space!”
“I’m going to go into [space]. I’m scared,” Shatner said, before pausing and then adding with a smile, “I’m going where no man…” And you know the rest.
Shatner then related a bit of the story behind the upcoming venture. A year and a half ago, his friend Jason Ehrlick mentioned to him, “People are going up into space now. Wouldn’t it be something if Captain Kirk went?” Shatner responded with short-lived hesitation, saying, “That was years ago… plus I’m doing… I’m up to… okay I’ll go!”
He explained at the panel that the COVID-19 pandemic soon hit, and then he waited a year as Jeff Bezos went into space. Finally, Blue Origin, Bezos’ spaceflight company, contacted Shatner and asked him, “How would you like to be the oldest person in space?” Shatner turned 90 years old this past March. He suddenly preferred the promotion of the stunt as Captain Kirk, the Stark Trek role he originated in 1966.
The actor mentioned a few preliminary worries, such as coming up with something memorable to say while looking at Earth and wondering about the abundance of the phrase “it’s our best guess” from the team at Blue Origin.
So is he afraid of the rocket trip scheduled for this Tuesday, October 12th? Yes and no, but mostly yes. He explained that the fear goes away and then suddenly comes back. “My only hope is I won’t [look out the window and] see someone else,” he remarked, a reference to his classic performance in the Twilight Zone episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.”
Jokes aside, “I really am scared,” Shatner remarked, before walking offstage and presumably mentally preparing himself to boldly go where few have gone before.