William Shatner says the people taking part in Fan Expo this weekend are looking for much more than a chance to see the stars of science fiction up close and in person.

"They're in a kind of ritual that is mythological. And they don't know it, most of them, but they're subscribing to the mystery that science fiction seeks to answer, in the same way religion seeks to answer a mystery that can't be answered," Shatner told CBC News Network in an interview on Sunday.

"What are we doing here? What's the future? What is up there? What is down there? It's just a desire to fill in the gaps, which can't be filled in, but our human mind won't accept that."

Over the years, Shatner has become synonymous with Star Trek, playing Captain James T. Kirk on television and in seven big-screen movies. It has been nearly 50 years since Star Trek made its television debut.

He also lent his voice to the same character on an animated series.

The Canadian star has done many things outside of the Star Trek universe, including writing books, working on documentaries and taking on various roles in film and television.

In October, the 83-year-old Shatner says he's headed to the New York Comic Con, where he'll be unveiling a comic book that is based on a book he wrote called Man o' War.

"It's all part of a career and a creative desire to entertain, and that’s what I'm doing here, entertaining," Shatner says.

Click on the video above to see more of what Shatner had to say when he spoke to CBC.

With files from The Canadian Press