Star Trek Finally Picks A Side In The Kirk/Sulu Feud


Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3, Episode 8 – “Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus”Star Trek: Lower Decks sees the Star Trek franchise finally pick a side in the decades-long feud between William Shatner and George Takei. There is a great deal of bad blood between Shatner and Takei, stretching from their time making Star Trek: The Original Series together right up to William Shatner’s 2021 space flight with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. William Shatner’s relationships with his Star Trek castmates was occasionally complex, and his relationship with George Takei is certainly the most hostile.


For decades, the Shatner and Takei have traded insults in interviews, memoirs, and on social media. The feud has made its way into Star Trek lore on screen with Lower Decks season 3, episode 8, as Boimler has a dream where he visits James T. Kirk’s Idaho ranch, only to be greeted by Sulu instead. “Oh my gosh, Captain Sulu. Even better!” exclaims Brad Boimler, firmly placing Lower Decks on the side of George Takei, rather than William Shatner. Here’s everything known about their feud, and how it fits into Lower Decks.

RELATED: Star Trek: What Happened To Sulu After TOS & Movies

William Shatner and George Takei’s Feud Explained

The feud between Shatner and Takei first came to the attention of the public when the Sulu actor published his memoir To the Stars: The Autobiography of George Takei in 1994. In the book, Takei claimed that Shatner ignored him on the set of Star Trek and changed the script of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier to stop Sulu from gaining command of the ship. Shatner defended himself against allegations of ignoring Takei by highlighting the fact that they didn’t spend that much time together on set, due to Sulu’s supporting role on the Enterprise. Both actors have accused the other of being self-centered actors who don’t like to share the limelight.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Shatner later claimed he wasn’t invited to the wedding of George Takei and his husband Brad Altman in 2008. Takei disputes this, and claims that the “snub” from his wedding was purely fictional, invented by William Shatner to draw attention to his new talk show. William Shatner has since leveled a similar criticism at George Takei, suggesting that Takei’s criticism of Shatner’s trip to space was because “the only time he gets press is when he talks bad about me.” It remains to be seen if Sulu’s appearance at Kirk’s ranch in Lower Decks will lead to further bad blood between the two.

Lower Decks Sulu Cameo Avoids A Shatner Problem

Having Sulu appear in Lower Decks gives George Takei some justice for the slight committed against him during Star Trek 5. The whole episode is an affectionate tribute to Star Trek movies that makes some jibes at William Shatner’s derided directorial effort. Having Sulu appear at the end is a nod to how George Takei felt his big character moment was cut out of the finished Final Frontier script.

Lower Decks favoring Takei over Shatner is understandable, given the latter’s recent comments about how Gene Roddenberry would disapprove of modern Star Trek. Shatner’s comments caused upset on social media, and likely reduced his chances of appearing in future Star Trek projects. As a result, seeing Sulu on James T Kirk’s ranch, after jokes about Star Trek 5‘s “bad story” and the movie’s reputation as an “uneven slog” feels like Star Trek: Lower Decks, and the franchise as a whole, has decided whose side they’re on when it comes to the Shatner and Takei feud.

Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 streams Thursdays on Paramount+.

NEXT: The Forgotten William Shatner Role That Proved The World Needed Star Trek


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