'Star Trek' Cast Never Got Residuals for Original Series

The original crew of the starship Enterprise parlayed their work into a decade's worth of movie deals, convention adoration and other riches. But they have never received residual payments from their time on the 1960s show, according to their captain.

"The series Star Trek that I was in, was so early on, there were no residuals. So none of us ever have received residuals," actor William Shatner said in an interview with IGN's Scott Collura on the Transporter Room 3 podcast.

"That came into being about three years later," continued Shatner, referring to changes in the industry that saw TV actors begin to get paid when their shows were aired in reruns. At the time the show aired (1966-69), it was hard to imagine a TV series would stil have life 50 years later. 

Star Trek was canceled in 1969, but it was revived as an animated series and a decade later was made into a movie with 1979's Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The film was quite costly and divided fans, leading studio Paramount and its cast to believe it would be the one and only Trek movie.

"Every movie we made subsequent, even Star Trek I, they burned the sets. There was no reason to store them, because there was never going to be another movie," Shatner said.  

Shatner would appear as Captain Kirk alongside original series stars Leonard Nimoy (Spock), DeForest Kelley (Bones), Nichelle Nichols (Uhura), George Takei (Sulu), Walter Koenig (Chekov) and James Doohan (Scotty) in six films, and also appeared opposite Star Trek: The Next Generation's Patrick Stewart in the 1994 crossover movie Generations.

But the ultimate Kirk performance came in 1980's Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which is returning to theaters in September via Fathom Events.

"I've worked gainfully all these years," said Shatner, making it clear he isn't upset about the lack of residuals. "I'm really grateful for it. It's affected my life incredibly."

Star Trek currently airs in reruns on BBC America and is available to stream on CBS.com and Netflix. 

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