William Shatner Addresses 'Phenomenon' of 'Star Trek' and Captain Kirk: 'Never Been Anything Like It' (Exclusive)

As the Star Trek franchise boldly ventures into its sixth decade, it's no secret the influential rays of the longstanding enterprise has been beloved by the masses far and wide. The impact of the iconic series and films is one legendary actor and series star, William Shatner tells PopCulture.com exclusively he believes is unlike anything the world has ever experienced — nor ever will.

"Star Trek is a phenomenon," Shatner told PopCulture. "There's never been anything like it, and there never will be anything like it in our lifetime because the show would have to go 55 years to equal the longevity, let alone the number of iterations of Star Trek, so it is a phenomenon. It's unique. The reason for it being unique is part of the unexplained." He goes on to say how he used to joke about Star Trek being an almost "vision of the future," especially one in light of the ongoing pandemic, prompting conviction in knowing "that there is a future."

(Photo: Justin Bettman / A&E Networks, History)

Shatner, who played Capt. James T. Kirk in the first chapter of the iconic series, also explains how there isn't any room for a new or revived reiteration of his celebrated and beloved character. "I don't know how you explain Captain Kirk 55 years later," he said. "When the character was killed in the sixth or seventh movie, I started writing books about the Captain Kirk character, and I was given permission, and I used my own life. What happens to Captain Kirk in my books, and I got special permission to keep him alive in those books, is semi-autobiographical. I dramatized my life by giving it to Kirk."

While the 89-year-old is all about "living in the present and the future as against living in the past," he is set to return as host and executive producer for his History series, The UnXplained this Saturday. Lending his recognizable voice to the non-fiction anthology series, Shatner dives deep with audiences into subjects that have mystified the masses for centuries, including the likes of greatest escapes, superhuman senses, mysterious curses and bizarre rituals. Answering questions while creating new ones sparked from insight and information never before known, the enthralling stories are something that has evolved from its debut season, according to Shatner.

With the first season being an "exploration of how to do the show," Shatner says the producers and networks are a joy to work with considering their dedication to the subject matter and material development. "Sometimes it evolves into something quite different. Evolves a soul, because you begin to find out what the show is and what works," he said. "What has frequently happened is a show is canceled before it gets through the first lot of shows, and you don't get a reaction from the audience until it's on the air. Then the audience begins to tell you, like a stage play, what's working and what's not working. So, we're finding out what's working and what's not working because we've been given an order."


Shatner goes on to share how The UnXplained is a hit thanks to all the "bright people who are doing the show," led by co-executive producer, Kevin Burns. "I've had a small hand in it — [but] we now know what seems to work and we're banking on that. This second series of shows fall somewhere between the first and second seasons. There are eight new shows coming up this summer. These are now becoming knowledgeable."

The UnXplained premieres Saturday, July 11 at 9 p.m. ET on History. For more with Shatner and all things in the realm of unexplained and paranormal phenomena, keep it locked to PopCulture.com for the latest.