AUSTIN (KXAN) — You may know him as Captain Kirk, or the oldest person to ever travel to space.
William Shatner, 92, is making his way to Austin this weekend for GalaxyCon, a three-day, comic-con-style convention featuring more than 150 guests as well as photo ops, Q&As, panels, costume contests, cosplay events, workshops, parties, gaming tournaments and celebrity meet and greets.
It won’t be the actor’s first time in the capital city. He’s been before, but one trip in particular, driving overnight from West Texas, stood out as other-worldly.
“Driving those distances through those small towns,” he remembered, “it’s all sleepy; it’s all closed down. There are red lights paralleling the freeway. For a long time, I thought it was a runway. For a long time, I couldn’t figure out what it was, but they are wind — power mills. That wasn’t apparent at two o’clock in the morning. Now, we arrive at Austin, and Austin was riotous! People yelling and screaming, cops all over the place. It was a college town! It was completely different than the rest of Texas.”
In an interview with KXAN, the actor went on to say every trip to Austin since then has confirmed it as a “great, burgeoning city.” He also praised the University of Texas, calling its students “as vibrant and exuberant as Austin was, the night I first came from Lubbock.”
“I’m so looking forward to being there Friday night and Saturday. Meeting with as many people as I can,” he said.
Shatner’s interest in science, space and technology spans far beyond the Star Trek fandom and his time as Captain Kirk.
He said he has been busy with the upcoming release of the next season of his documentary series, The UnXplained. He has also partnered with watchmaker Egard to release a timepiece featuring the Webb Telescope and meteorite dust on the dial — approved by NASA. With the help of a company called Proto Hologram, he recently appeared in hologram form at an even in Australia and even spent a day chatting with an AI chatbot.
Shatner is also the oldest person to have traveled to space. He traveled on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin with three other passengers in 2021. The crew launched from a site in West Texas, southeast of El Paso.
Looking back, he told KXAN, “It’s too meaningful to talk about in a short space of time, but enough to say, I saw more emphatically – than as I even have as an ecologist for a period of time – I saw more emphatically what harm we have done to this incredible rock, this little rock we are on,” he said of his voyage into the final frontier. “And how important it is to move quickly because we have dawdled all these years about trying to save the intricacies of this planet.”
He went on to say, “Everything is beautiful. Everything that has evolved into existence is precious, and we have to recognize it.”
Shatner will make appearances at GalaxyCon on Friday and Saturday nights. Tickets for the convention are available for purchase online.