Both Bezos and de Vries make clear during their conversations with Shatner that they were “Star Trek” nerds growing up, and as an added bonus, the producers visit a convention along with the actor, where there’s plenty of enthusiasm about Captain Kirk going to space. The only real cautionary note, understandably, comes from Shatner’s kids, to whom he breaks the news of his plans on camera.
Still, most of that boils down to window dressing — as well as a very effective infomercial for Blue Origin — leading up to the main event, and the images of Shatner finally taking off and gazing at the Earth from above it. Moved to tears, he keeps repeating “Oh wow” while floating weightless, and later thanks Bezos for what he calls “the most profound experience I could imagine.”
The public-relations value of Shatner’s involvement might be obvious, but the special underscores just how many levels that encompassed. Shatner linked Blue Origin to the science-fiction-informed vision of space, the uplifting future that “Star Trek” represents and the reassuring idea that a nonagenarian could undertake the brief journey and return no worse for wear.
Listening to Shatner’s exultation after landing, though, it was hard not to be moved, at least a little. Having pretended being “out there,” he appeared to genuinely savor his chance to go where, for now, so few have gone before.
“Shatner in Space” is available on Amazon Prime.