Always the captain: Star Trek legacy lives long and prospers, William Shatner says

For his fans, William Shatner will always be the Captain Kirk.

'The interest is in the mystery of space'

This undated photo shows actors in the TV series "Star Trek," from left, Leonard Nimoy as Commander Spock, William Shatner as Captain Kirk, DeForest Kelley as Doctor McCoy and James Doohan as Commander Scott. (Paramount Television/Associated Press)

For his fans, William Shatner will always be the Captain Kirk.

At 86, the Star Trek Original Series star has no illusions about shedding his galactic past.

The series and the adventures of Captain James T. Kirk have an enduring legacy with audiences.

Like a tear in the space-time continuum, fans still ask him the same questions about his time aboard the USS Enterprise, decades after the show first aired in 1966.

"The interest is there," Shatner said in an interview with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM. "The interest is in the mystery of space. What's out there? Who's out there and are they coming for us?  

"And that obsession never leaves."

The Canadian actor, author, producer, and director is in Edmonton for the Comic and Entertainment Expo Sept. 22-24.

Shatner last played Kirk on screen in 1994's Star Trek: Generations.

He said it's been interesting to see how the show, set in the Milky Way during the 2260s, predicted the future.

From tablet computers, flip phones to cloaking devices, a surprising number of futuristic technologies that appeared on the show over the years have come to pass in the real world.

Only now does Shatner believe that fact is becoming stranger than fiction, as scientific and technological advances begin to outpace anything that Star Trek producers could have imagined.

As a diehard science fiction fan, it's fascinating, said Shatner.

"I had read a lot of science fiction and I was intrigued by all the mysteries that we talk about … and in the intervening years we've discovered scientific principles that beggar the imagination of the scientific writers.

"It's really entertaining to see that, as we've progressed in science, it's opened up our minds to things that we've never even conceived of."

Shatner said he's looking forward to appearing at Edmonton's comic expo.

"I need the adulation," he said with a chuckle.

"I'm coming up to visit with fans, to entertain them on the stage, sign a few autographs, take a few pictures and just connect. It's pleasure for me to be on stage and entertain the people."

Listen to Edmonton AM with host Mark Connolly, weekday mornings at CBC Radio One, 93.9 FM in Edmonton. Follow the morning crew on twitter @EdmAMCBC