William Shatner can't escape 'Star Trek,' but his voyage has gone well beyond it

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(CNN)William Shatner chided maine erstwhile I interviewed him successful 1987. The histrion wanted to support the absorption connected his determination into directing, politely objecting erstwhile I asked astir his narration with the "Star Trek" faithful aft a "Saturday Night Live" skit the twelvemonth earlier successful which helium famously told formed members playing trivia-obsessed fans to "get a life."

Although it was aboriginal successful my journalistic career, I tin callback coming distant with 2 thoughts: Shatner was kidding himself if helium thought helium could ever measurement retired from nether the yoke of "Star Trek," and the likelihood were helium was improbable to beryllium associated with different deed of that magnitude.

As it turned out, I was close and wrong. Shatner volition ever beryllium champion remembered for the iconic relation of Captain Kirk. But helium managed to equine a 3rd enactment to his vocation that has been genuinely impressive, successful portion by leaning into the character's swaggering, swashbuckling representation and laughing astatine himself.

    Shatner's planned travel into space aboard Blue Origin, astatine property 90, marks a culmination and coalescence of those 2 threads -- a elephantine leap for the antheral that besides trades disconnected his transportation to the starship Enterprise.

      Directing, it turned out, didn't correspond the way to Shatner's future. His accidental to nonstop the 5th "Star Trek" movie, "The Final Frontier," was mostly considered among the debased points successful the series.

      Yet the histrion pivoted thereafter into a fig of shrewdly chosen vehicles, making the improbable modulation from starring antheral -- a mantle helium inactive bore successful the 1980s bid "T.J. Hooker" -- to savvy 2nd banana, with supporting roles successful movies similar "Miss Congeniality," oregon guest-star bits specified playing arsenic the Big Giant Head successful "3rd Rock From the Sun." He besides hosted the fashionable world amusement "Rescue 911," keeping himself successful the nationalist eye.

      William Shatner speaks astatine  the William Shatner Spotlight sheet  astatine  New York Comic Con 2021 connected  Oct. 7, 2021 (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for ReedPop)

      Shatner past parlayed a stint connected "The Practice" into his Emmy-winning portion connected "Boston Legal" arsenic Denny Crane, the pompous, eccentric lawyer who enjoyed a bully cigar and claimed ne'er to person mislaid a case.

      Shatner besides joined successful the "Star Trek" jokes, arsenic helium had connected that "SNL" sketch. That included a 2006 Comedy Central roast, wherever helium good-naturedly endured 1 jab aft different astir his overacting and more.

      That acceptable the signifier for his later-in-life run, starring successful the short-lived but memorably titled sitcom "$#*! My Dad Says" and continuing to enactment steadily, precocious romancing Jean Smart successful the autarkic drama "Senior Moment."

      In essence, Shatner went from wincing erstwhile "Star Trek" was the archetypal question successful an interrogation to an "If you can't bushed 'em, articulation 'em" approach, demonstrating that helium could play on portion bending the involvement that came from that venerable franchise into different options.

        Amid a deluge of jokes astir what Captain Kirk volition really find "out there" arsenic Shatner prepares for this symbolic moment, Vulture alternatively cheekily went against the atom with the headline "'Boston Legal' Legend Will Go to Space."

        Nice try, but we each cognize what legendary banner Shatner is carrying with him. Yet what easy could person been his last frontier, arsenic it turns out, was conscionable the commencement of a travel that has taken him -- boldly oregon different -- successful directions that skeptics couldn't person foreseen.

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