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CCI: William Shatner Explores Meaning of Fandom in Get a Life!

The ever commanding William Shatner sat down the press at this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego to give some insight into his new film, Get a Life! The film, which recently debuted on Epix, is a documentary described by Shatner as “about who comes to Comic-Con, or who comes to Star Trek conventions.”

In his book of the same name, the actor wrote of his belief that the people who attended conventions came to see each other, renew old friendships and be part of a community. In the course of shooting his documentary, however, he realized his initial assumptions had fallen short of capturing the full reality. “In fact, there is something very mystical, ritualistic, sociological about these conventions. They have a far deeper meaning then even the people themselves know.”

Coupled with his previous documentary Captains, Shatner is producing films that serve as retrospections of his life, looking back and embracing the fans and community surrounding his body of work. He said he always loved the Star Trek and science fiction community, and while he may have made jokes and poked fun at fans in the past, it was always in good fun.

“I’m not making these [films] because I want to leave a legacy; I don’t even know what that word means. I am having a sense of entirety. I am beginning to see the whole,” he said. “I never not liked being Captain Kirk. The show was over, and it was time to move on.”

Shatner expressed his love for science fiction, saying he had a particular affinity for the fans’ devotion and the heart found in so many stories set in the genre. “It’s staggering how much we don’t know,” Shatner said of the universe. “It’s too complex for us to grasp.

“An astrophysicist looking up there is thinking in terms of science fiction,” Shatner continued. “The mystery of science fiction is what I am taking about. Science and science fiction are essentially one and the same.”

Returning once more to talk about Get A Life!, Shatner related some of the lessons he’s learned in spending time behind the camera. “I really didn’t understand that in the making of the documentary, that you are three quarters of the way through the story before you realize what the story is,” Shatner said. “If you only knew. I didn’t fully grasp that in the making of Captains. I grasped it the making of this. I know I have to be on guard because I am going to find out stuff I don’t know. It’s a learning process that I am so excited about. It’s telling a story, only it’s visual. I’m discovering and you are seeing me discovering what it is that I am trying to tell you.”

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Comments

  • John Morehead

    The most profound aspect of this essay is the insight of Shatner encapsulated in this quote: “In fact, there is something very mystical, ritualistic, sociological
    about these conventions. They have a far deeper meaning then even the
    people themselves know.” This echoes my conclusions in my research from the perspectives of anthropology, sociology, and religious studies, wherein science fiction function for many as sacred myth, and conventions as transformational festivals which border on the spiritual. My thanks to Mr. Shatner, one of my lifelong heroes of the fantastic, for his continuing body of work, and one which hints at the depth and significance of geek culture.

  • Ken

    I don’t see it as deep as this indicates.  More like .. Star Trek made William Shatner a celebrity.  With a lot of fans.  The relationship between celebrities and their fans predates Star Trek.

  • Pink Apocalypse


    This echoes my conclusions in my research from the perspectives of anthropology, sociology, and religious studies, wherein science fiction function for many as sacred myth, and conventions as transformational festivals which border on the spiritual.” 

    Well done, sir!