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‘He wasn’t really in outer space’: George Takei plays down William Shatner’s space flight

The Independent logo The Independent 17/01/2023 Louis Chilton

Star Trek star George Takei has played down the significance of William Shatner’s journey into space.

Shatner took a space flight in 2021 on board Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin shuttle. Then 90 years old, the actor is the oldest living person to travel into space.

However, Takei, who played Hikaru Sulu alongside Shatner’s James T Kirk on the cult TV sci-fi series, has appeared less than impressed by the achievement.

Speaking to The Mirror, he said: “Well, he wasn’t really in outer space and it wasn’t for very long.

“I’ve also been in zero gravity but I did it for longer,” he added. “I took a parabolic flight and experienced five minutes of weightlessness, whereas William only experienced three minutes. So I’ve spent more time in zero gravity than him.”

Takei also described Shatner as a “prima donna” during their time on Star Trek together, though refuted the idea that there was “animosity” between the two of them.

“Let’s just say he’s not the easiest guy to work with and I wouldn’t leap at another opportunity,” he said. “That’s a universal feeling, although the other [Star Trek stars] have a better sense of restraint and discretion. I believe in being honest and forthright.”

Shatner looks out a window aboard the Blue Origin space vehicle (via REUTERS) © Provided by The Independent Shatner looks out a window aboard the Blue Origin space vehicle (via REUTERS)

Upon his return to earth, Shatner said that the trip into space had left him experiencing a strong sense of “dread” and “grief” for our planet.

“When I looked ... into space, there was no mystery, no majestic awe to behold... all I saw was death,” Shatner wrote, in his book Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder.

“I discovered that the beauty isn’t out there, it’s down here, with all of us. Leaving that behind made my connection to our tiny planet even more profound.

“It was among the strongest feelings of grief I have ever encountered.”

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