The most anticipated panel discussion at DragonCon this year had to be the one-two “Star Trek” punch that is William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy.
More than 40 years after the TV show aired its last original episode, the pair yukked it up before more than 1,500 rapt Trek fans for an hour this morning. Shatner, to form, played the over-the-top egotist; Nimoy, the exasperated straight man.
“Have you seen any good movies lately?” Nimoy asked early on, eliciting laughs and applause from the crowd.
The reference, of course, was to the rebooted version of “Star Trek” that came out earlier this year which included Nimoy — but not Shatner.
“You’re in the movie,” Shatner said dryly. “I’m not.”
Nimoy: “I wasn’t referring to any particular movie.”
Shatner: “I heard it’s a very good thing I’m not in the movie.” (boos)
Nimoy: “Send that to J.J. Abrams!” [the director]
Then Shatner made numerous laments along the lines of “Why wasn’t I in the movie?”
Nimoy asked him how many times he’s won an Emmy. Twice, Shatner noted. Nimoy said he has been nominated four times, never won. “What’s it like to win?” Nimoy said. “I’ve never known.”
“It’s glorious, Leonard,” Shatner said vaingloriously. “A feeling of euphoria! The joy of victory as opposed to the agony of defeat.” Pause. “Why aren’t I in the movie?”
Later, when a dude in the audience asked a question about “Star Trek” blooper reels floating around and used the Southernism “y’all,” Shatner started mocking the poor soul.
Nimoy quickly came to the man’s defense. He told the crowd that he was at Fort McPherson in his army days and directed “Streetcar Named Desire” at Peachtree Playhouse. “Be careful how you treat the people of Atlanta,” he intoned with mock sternness.
He added, “You’re not always a nice guy.”
“I am,” Shatner protested. “I mean well. If only the people of Atlanta would take me to their hearts!”
Eventually, they got around to the blooper question. Neither were thrilled they got out. Nimoy compared it to a screenwriter, whose early musings thrust into a garbage can were publicized for all to see.
And when someone asked a question directed at Nimoy, Shatner got all fake offended. “Don’t think about me at all!” Shatner said.
“Please stop pouting,” Nimoy told his friend.
“Don’t think of it as pouting,” Shatner said. He turned his chair around away from the crowd. “I’m just resting!”
Here’s a three-minute sampler of the give and take: