William Shatner Reveals That He’s Never Watched Star Trek

William Shatner turned 90 this week, and his fans have been celebrating the Canadian actor's legendary screen career on social media. Shatner's been in the business for seven decades, but it's fair to say that his most famous role is James Tiberius Kirk in Star Trek. His beloved portrayal as the captain of the Enterprise has made him one of sci-fi's biggest icons, so it's pretty shocking to hear that the man has now revealed he's never actually seen the show that turned him into a star.

William Shatner turned 90 this week, and his fans have been celebrating the Canadian actor’s legendary screen career on social media. Shatner’s been in the business for seven decades, but it’s fair to say that his most famous role is James Tiberius Kirk in Star TrekHis beloved portrayal as the captain of the Enterprise has made him one of sci-fi’s biggest icons, so it’s pretty shocking to hear that the man has now revealed he’s never actually seen the show that turned him into a star.

While speaking with People to mark his birthday, Shatner dropped the bombshell that he’s always avoided watching The Original Series, which initially ran on CBS from 1966-1969, because he finds revisiting his early work “too painful.” The same thing goes for the Trek movies, though Shatner admits that he had to see The Final Frontier, as he was also director on that one.

“I have never watched Star Trek,” Shatner admitted. “There are many episodes I don’t know, there are some movies I don’t know… I directed one of the movies — No. 5 — I had to watch that one. But it’s all painful because I don’t like the way I look and what I do.”

It’s obviously pretty common for actors to not enjoy watching their old performances, but it’s still hard to get your head around the fact that Shatner has never seen Trek, given that he’s always been so entrenched in the franchise. What’s more, you would think that any misgivings he may have about his portrayal would be dispelled by all the love his turn as Kirk has got for the past 55 years.

Shatner portrayed the character for almost 30 years, with his tenure ending with the hero’s death in 1994’s Next Generation crossover movie Star Trek: Generations. With various faces from the franchise’s past returning of late, the actor is often asked if he would come back as James T. one more time, but it seems he’d be reluctant to do so. Though maybe a call from Quentin Tarantino would get him to change his mind.

Meanwhile, Star Trek is plowing on without him, with new shows like Strange New Worlds and Prodigy and sophomore seasons of Picard and Lower Decks in the works for Paramount Plus.