“It is an error”: William Shatner Openly Denounced Star Trek: The Next Generation for One Very Vindictive Reason

Captain James T. Kirk was apparently not a fan of Captain Jean-Luc Picard!

William Shatner in Star Trek: The Next Generation

SUMMARY

  • Star Trek: The Next Generation was controversial at the time of its announcement since it had none of the original cast.
  • Even Shatner did not approve of the series and did not want it to use the Star Trek name.
  • Shatner did not believe that the new TV show could make as much money as the original movies.
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Star Trek star William Shatner was not a fan of the Patrick Stewart-led show, Star Trek: The Next Generation. During the inception of the 1987 show, Shatner did not want the series to use the Star Trek name. Fans were also not too happy with the all-new cast of the series, as they were accustomed to Captain Kirk, Spock, and the Enterprise.

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Patrick Stewart and other cast members in Star Trek: The Next Generation | Paramount Pictures
Patrick Stewart and other cast members in Star Trek: The Next Generation | Paramount Pictures

However, as The Next Generation progressed, fans came to love Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his ship. In fact, even new generation trekkies came to love Stewart’s character from the three-season run of The Next Generation sequel show, Star Trek: Picard.

William Shatner Was Critical About Patrick Stewart’s Star Trek: The Next Generation

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy in Star Trek V | Paramount Network
William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy in Star Trek V | Paramount Network

Star Trek: The Next Generation was announced at a time when fans were through with the original series, an animated series, and four movies. Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner were familiar faces among the fans. It almost appeared that fans didn’t want to see any characters other than Spock, Kirk, and the Enterprise crew.

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Interestingly, Shatner further added fuel to the fans’ sentiments when he shared that the series was an error. Speaking to Starlog Magazine in its 1987 issue, Shatner expressed his disapproval of the series using the Star Trek IP without having any of the original cast or the ship.

He shared that producing the series was an overexposure of the Star Trek name and may lead to a drop in quality. Shatner shared with Starlog (via Weimar.ws):

I think it is a mistake. To call a series Star Trek that doesn’t have the cast and the ship in it is an error. The error seems to me to be overexposure of the Star Trek name and the possibility of not having the Star Trek quality we’ve become accustomed to. It remains to be seen.

Shatner further added that if The Next Generation series were to fail, it was an unnecessary risk to take on behalf of the franchise. Shatner shared that while the series would’ve made considerable money, he was sure that it wouldn’t make more than the movies. He further went on to confirm that he had no part in the TV series. Shatner shared:

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[Should The Next Generation fail,] the whole thing is unnecessary jeopardy. … It’s unnecessary to take that kind of risk. I don’t know how much money they’re going to make. I suppose it’s going to be considerable, but it can’t be more than the grosses they would make from the films. I don’t understand their reasoning. I’m not connected with this TV series at all.

William Shatner assumed a greater role in the Star Trek universe after the fourth film, becoming the director and co-writer of the fifth film. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier became the highest opening gross among the Star Trek films, but the numbers quickly plummeted due to mixed and negative reviews (via The Numbers).

Star Trek: The Next Generation Beat All Odds To Become A Fan-Favorite

Leonard Nimoy and Patrick Stewart in Star Trek: The Next Generation | Paramount Television
Leonard Nimoy and Patrick Stewart in Star Trek: The Next Generation | Paramount Television

Besides the controversy with William Shatner and the fans, Patrick Stewart‘s The Next Generation also ran into issues with finding a platform. The original idea was to feature the series on an entirely new network (Fox). However, the network expressed difficulties in committing to a full 26-episode season (via Wired).

When they approached other popular networks like ABC and NBC (who aired the original show), they rejected the series. CBS considered taking on the series but their offer was for a miniseries, which was a far less favorable option than that offered by Fox.

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Eventually, Paramount decided to put the show out in first-run syndication instead of contracting with a network (via Wired). This meant that the studio could sell it to stations across the country, region by region.

Star Trek: The Next Generation is now available for streaming on Paramount+.

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Written by Hashim Asraff

Articles Published: 1481

Hashim, Entertainment Writer. With over 1000 published articles on FandomWire, he covers a wide range of topics from celebrity life to comic book movies. He holds a Masters degree in Sociology and his expertise proves invaluable in handling sensitive news. His passion for crime investigation thrillers has turned him into a detective, exploring the darkest corners of the internet during his research.