'Captain Kirk' Has an Issue with Space Force's Rank Names

(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

 

Anyone who follows what William Shatner’s up to for any length of time knows it’s never boring.

There’s even been an update to the ongoing bad blood between Shatner and former “Star Trek” cast member, George Takei, who played “Sulu.” RadioTimes.com reported this week that while appearing on a recent podcast, Takei claimed Shatner was jealous of the volume of fan mail Leonard Nimoy was receiving while playing “Spock” on the iconic, ’60s sci-fi series.

As he often does, Shatner took to Twitter to defend himself against Takei’s claim.

He wrote:

“George needs a new hobby. Now he’s making things up. We never saw fan letters. [shrug emoji]

That’s why there’s so many secretary signed photos. We barely saw George. He was in once a week at most-how would he know anything?

The only person with jealousy is George. [eyeroll emoji]”

Now there’s a (tongue-in-cheek) fight between NASA and Shatner, apparently, since they’ve decided to use Air Force rankings for the new, U.S. Space Force (at least for now), according to Military.com. Who better than Captain James T. Kirk himself to give advice on how Space Force will name its ranks? And he did just that, in a new op-ed for the publication, Military Times.

Bill Shatner wrote, in part:

To the very esteemed members of Space Force and other grand poohbahs of the United States government agencies who may have a say in this, I have one question for you:

What the heck is wrong with you?

I’m talking about the ranks of the Space Force!

What are you doing to us? 😱 There was no Colonel Kirk; not even in the mirror universe (which is what 2020 feels like at times.)

Do you know your entertainment space history? 🤔 🤷‍♂️

Let me show you what I mean.”

The actor then lists examples of fictional space “captains,” explaining that it’s only right since the precedent “precedes actual space flight history by decades.” Including one you might expect him to avoid:

“And even though it pains me 😩 to point out, Han Solo was ‘captain’ of the Millennium Falcon.”

Later in his missive, he also points to ways NASA has already taken its cues from fictional space entertainment, just as “Star Trek” ‘borrowed’ from reality:

“’Star Trek’ has borrowed so much of its iconic rank symbols from the U.S. military and NASA. When you unveiled the Space Force logo, many immediately saw it as an homage to “Star Trek” (even though our Delta was an homage to the previous military space insignias). Why not borrow back from ‘Star Trek’ and adopt our ranks as well? We took them from the Navy for good reason, even though Gene Roddenberry was a veteran of the U.S. Army Air Corps. They made better sense when talking about a (space) ship.

Then he ended his letter with this request:

“So wrapping this up, I’m going to say that if you want the public to believe in heroes, that you should adopt the Navy ranks as they are the ones the public is most used to being heroes.

So please reconsider and name the Space Force ranks after the U.S. Navy.”

Shatner, who turns 90 in 2021, has never slowed down in his career, whether it’s acting, writing sci-fi books, or recording music — he even has a new album coming out in October, Rolling Stone reports.  It’s all blues covers, and the song released in advance of the record’s release is this dandy version of a blues standard made famous by B.B. King, “The Thrill Is Gone,” which features Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple on guitar.

Take a listen:

What do you think of Shatner’s ideas for the U.S. Space Force? Leave your thoughts in the comments area below!

Editor’s note: this article was corrected after publication. As an alert reader pointed out, the “James T. Kirk” character lost his Admiral rank and retired as a Captain.