has been one of the longest-running sitcoms of all time. The hit show ran for 12 seasons and developed a cult fan base who still raves about the show today. Since the central male characters were all considered nerds, the series had a ton of references to nerd culture.
Among those referenced in the show was the iconic series . Over the years, many former cast members made guest appearances on the show. Leonard Nimoy was referenced in the show several times and lent his voice to an episode in the fifth season. starting in season three. George Takei, Brent Spiner and LeVar Burton have also appeared on the show.
However, it was slightly more difficult to get William Shatner to hop on board. The actor initially turned down an offer to play himself in an episode. However, he would eventually make an appearance during the show's final season.
about his documentary , which covers his legendary career. During the interview, he spoke about the film and how he feels about his legacy.
"When Leonard Nimoy died a few years ago, his funeral was on a Sunday," Shatner said. "His death was very sudden, and I had obligated myself to go to Mar-a-Lago for a Red Cross fundraiser. I was one of the celebrities raising money. That event was on Saturday night."
He continued, "I chose to keep my promise and go to Mar-a-Lago instead of the funeral, and I said to the audience, 'People ask about a legacy. There’s no legacy. Statues are torn down. Graveyards are ransacked. Headstones are knocked over. No one remembers anyone. Who remembers Danny Kaye or Cary Grant? They were great stars. But they’re gone and no one cares.'"
Shatner then resolved how he will ensure his memory will live on.
"But what does live on are good deeds. If you do a good deed, it reverberates to the end of time. It’s the butterfly effect thing. That’s why I have done this film."
A large part of had to do with nerd culture. The many guest stars who appeared over the course of the series fit within that world. Shatner was an obvious choice to make an appearance. However, it would take some extra convincing to get him on board.
, Shatner opened up about his initial invitation to appear on and why he turned it down. According to Shatner, he didn't like how the show planned on using him.
"I’ve had several conversations with the creators, and what they wanted me to do, didn’t seem to be exactly right, so I said ‘find something that’s better,'" Shatner said. "They may have taken umbrage at that, I’m not sure."
Shatner further stated that he was asked to play a heightened version of himself, but wasn't comfortable with what would go into such a performance.
"They wanted me to play myself a little obliquely, and they said it would work out, but I needed more assurance on that."
Even though the initial offer didn't exactly work out, Shatner did eventually appear on the show in 2019. Shatner made a guest appearance in the episode "The D&D Vortex" from season 12. Other celebrities who appeared in the episode included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Joe Manganiello and Kevin Smith.
"The gang finds out that [recurring guest star] Wil Wheaton hosts a Dungeons & Dragons game with some of his celebrity friends and they’re all desperate to get invited," executive producer/showrunner . "It becomes a little bit of a competition between everybody about trying to get into Wil’s game."
According to Holland, Shatner's guest appearance might have been made possible thanks to a connection to one of the cast members.
"I think what changed going into the final season is that he knows [series co-star] Kaley [Cuoco] from doing [Priceline] commercials together and they’re friendly," he said. "When I got on the phone, one of the things he asked was, ‘Will I get to play a scene with Kaley?’"
As expected, Shatner played a comedic version of himself in the episode. Holland shared some details of what it was like to work with Shatner.
"It shouldn’t be surprising that he’s good — he’s been doing this a long time, especially playing himself — and it was really interesting to watch him work," Holland said. "He would play a scene for a couple of takes until he found a delivery he liked and then really locked into it. He’d play around with a line a little bit and find what felt right to him and lock into that."
Holland also revealed the reason had so many references over the years.
"The writers are fans [of ] and therefore the characters are fans," he said. "I think, in a weird way, the original was almost ground zero for pop culture fandom, and this show is so rooted in pop culture and pop culture fandom. I don’t think you’d have Comic Con or Marvel movies without ."
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