Posted in: HBO, Max, TV, YouTube | Tagged: , , , ,

Star Trek: William Shatner, Bill Maher on Kirk/Uhura Kiss, AI & More

On HBO's Real Time, William Shatner and Bill Maher discussed the groundbreaking Kirk/Uhura "Star Trek" kiss, Shatner's thoughts on AI & more.

To many, it was one of the biggest society-shifting moments in television history. In the 1968 Star Trek episode "Plato's Stepchildren," viewers witnessed an interracial kiss between William Shatner's Capt. James T. Kirk and Nichelle Nichols' Lt. Nyota Uhura – a moment that almost didn't happen. Checking in with Bill Maher on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, Shatner explains how the network was trying everything possible to give off the illusion of Kirk & Uhura kissing without actually having them kiss on camera. Why? Apparently, the network was worried about offending conservative Southern viewers. In the clip above, Shatner shared how he pushed for the kiss to stay in the show and for it to be shown. "If you had not insisted…," Maher says at one point before Shatner finished the thought by adding, "It would not have gotten done."

star trek
Image: HBO Screencap

In addition to his one-on-one with Maher, Shatner took part in an "Overtime" session where he joined the panel to field a number of questions on a wide range of topics – but it's the opener on AI that's worth checking out:

Last month, The Hollywood Reporter had a chance to speak with Shatner to get his thoughts on a number of subjects pertaining to the "Star Trek" franchise. In this first highlight, Shatner discusses how franchise creator Gene Roddenberry's "rules of conduct" would often end up at odds with the "Next Generation" writers. Following that, Shatner shares what it was about Star Trek V: The Final Frontier that led to one of his biggest regrets.

Shatner on Gene Roddenberry, Writers Butting Heads Over Roddenberry's Rules: "He was in the military, and he was a policeman. So there was this militaristic vision of 'You don't make out with a fellow soldier.' There are strict rules and you abide by the rules. Around that, [the writers] had to write the drama. But within that was the discipline of 'This is the way a ship works.' Well, as 'Star Trek' progressed, that ethos has been forgotten [in more recent shows]. I sometimes laugh and talk about the fact that I think Gene is twirling in his grave. 'No, no, you can't make out with the lady soldier!' Shatner explained.

As he saw it, the "Next Generation" writers were looking to have more of a creative sandbox to play in but Roddenberry wasn't looking to waiver on what he considered to be core beliefs. "The fights that went on, to my understanding, were big because the writers had their difficulties. 'We need some more material.' 'We need to get out of here. It's claustrophobic," Shatner added, explaining why he believed Roddenberry would be "twirling" six-feet-under. I haven't watched the other 'Star Treks' very much, but what I've seen with glimpses of the 'Next Generation' is, yes, the difficulty in the beginning, between management, was all about Gene's rules and obeying or not obeying those rules."

"Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" Led to One Thing That Shatner Will "Regret the Most": "I wish that I'd had the backing and the courage to do the things I felt I needed to do. My concept was, 'Star Trek goes in search of God,' and management said, 'Well, who's God? We'll alienate the nonbeliever, so, no, we can't do God.' And then somebody said, 'What about an alien who thinks they're God?' Then it was a series of my inabilities to deal with the management and the budget. I failed. In my mind, I failed horribly. When I'm asked, 'What do you regret the most?,' I regret not being equipped emotionally to deal with a large motion picture," Shatner revealed. "So in the absence of my power, the power vacuum filled with people that didn't make the decisions I would've made."

In the context of the film's success – or lack thereof – there is more than enough blame to go around – from budget constraints to forced notes from the studio. But with "Star Trek V," Shatner takes full responsibility – while also sharing some insight into the tough day-to-day production decisions that needed to be made. "It is on me. [In the finale,] I wanted granite [rock creatures] to explode out of the mountain. The special effects guy said, 'I can build you a suit that's on fire and smoke comes out.' I said, 'Great, how much will that cost?' They said, '$250,000 a suit.' Can you make 10 suits? He said, 'Yeah.' That's $2.5 million. You've got a $30 million budget. You sure you want to spend [it on that]? Those are the practical decisions. Well, wait a minute, what about one suit? And I'll photograph it everywhere [to look like 10]," Shatner shared.

Enjoyed this? Please share on social media!

Stay up-to-date and support the site by following Bleeding Cool on Google News today!

Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
Comments will load 20 seconds after page. Click here to load them now.