William Shatner thinks 'Star Trek' wouldn't be possible without 'Star Wars' -- even though the show came first

Star Trek Star WarsCBS Television Distribution/Lucasfilm‘Star Wars’ helped make ‘Star Trek’ a success.

The actor who played Captain James T. Kirk says that “‘Star Wars’ created ‘Star Trek,'” even though the original television series premiered more than a decade before “A New Hope” hit theatres.

William Shatner made the initially puzzling statement while speaking at the “Star Trek” convention in Las Vegas over the weekend, though he quickly clarified what exactly he meant.

While the original “Star Trek” series premiered in 1966, it was canceled in 1969 after its third season. It wasn’t until the success of “Star Wars: A New Hope” in 1977 that “Star Trek” really became the cultural juggernaut we know today.

“Every year, there was the threat to be canceled,” Shatner recalled, according to CNN. “The third year, we were canceled, and everybody accepted it.”

That is, until “Star Wars” happened.

“At Paramount Studios, they were running around bumping into each other,” Shatner said of the executives behind “Star Trek.”

“‘What do we got?!'” he imagined them saying. “‘What do we got to equal ‘Star Wars’? There was this thing that we canceled, under another management, it was called ‘Star Trek’? Let’s resurrect that!'”

Shatner went on to explain what he saw as the crucial difference between the two Sci-Fi franchises.

“‘Star Trek,’ at its best, tells human stories,” he said. “‘Star Wars’ was grand, like opera. It was huge with great special effects. It was a marvelously entertaining film, but it wasn’t specifically about people the way those ‘Star Trek’ [episodes] were.”

Still, according to Shatner, without “Star Wars,” the crew of the Starship Enterprise would never have gotten the chance to boldly go where no one has gone before … even though they had already gone there first a decade earlier.

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