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Trudeau should ditch Star Wars and become a Trekkie, Shatner says

Canadian actor William Shatner is photographed in Toronto, Ontario Monday, October 21, 2013.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Captain Kirk is calling on Captain Trudeau to temper his affection for Star Wars and show some love for Star Trek.

Canadian-born William Shatner, a pop-culture icon for playing the captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise in the original Star Trek TV series of the 1960s and several feature films, made the appeal in an interview Friday when asked about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's high-profile affection for Star Wars.

Amid the attention that has come with Mr. Trudeau becoming prime minister is a CBC clip of an 11-year-old Justin Trudeau leaving an Ottawa screening of Return of the Jedi in 1983 and commenting on the film. More recently, Mr. Trudeau famously dressed up as Han Solo while taking his children out for Halloween. He has spoken of his delight building a Millennium Falcon model he bought for his son. And he went to an early screening of the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens.

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All of that led to a plea from Montreal-born Mr. Shatner, who said he had met Mr. Trudeau's father but has yet to meet the new prime minister.

"Justin: please follow your sophisticated imagination and leave the confines of Star Wars and be embraced by Star Trek," Mr. Shatner, 84, said while talking about the 50th anniversary of Star Trek and a looming 16-Canadian city concert tour – Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage – featuring Star Trek-related music.

"Justin Trudeau is Canada's Kennedy. … He's sophisticated and subtle. Therefore he belongs more in Star Trek's camp than Star Wars," Mr. Shatner said from Los Angeles.

As an expatriate Canadian, Mr. Shatner said he has been unable to vote in elections at home, but conceded to being a fan of Trudeau, 2.0. "What's happening in Canada politically seems to fit my idea of what should happen: Liberal, Trudeau," he said. "All that sort of thing."

There have been some divisions in pop culture between Star Trek and Star Wars fans. Mr. Shatner was diplomatic on the issue.

"Star Wars is a wonderful entertainment device," he said. "It appeals to all of us – the stark, primitive characters of good guy-bad guy. It works like a Western and that's great. I loved Westerns. Star Trek, to me, was more sophisticated.

"It had nuances that Star Wars may not have had and that was the glory of Star Trek for me. I'm not sure that has continued in the new Star Trek movies, but on the other hand the new Star Trek movies are making a great deal of money."

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Mr. Shatner said he is not jealous of the massive box-office success of the new Star Wars film, far more than Star Trek films have earned. "I am happy that Star Trek is renewed, refreshed."

Part of that renewal will include a new Star Trek TV series. CBS has announced Alex Kurtzman, who co-wrote and produced the last two Trek films, will be executive producer on the unnamed new series, which will have a 2017 debut on the CBS Television Network and then be available on the CBS All Access on-demand service.

Asked if he had any advice for producers of the new series, Mr. Shatner suggested they focus on human stories and make sure characters are clearly delineated.

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