'It's even more tantalising': William Shatner on The UnXplained S3

William Shatner in The UnXplained
Image: The UnXplained

This July, join William Shatner to delve into the unexplained mysteries of the universe in The UnXplained.

From UFO encounters to sudden disappearances to evil possession, series host William Shatner attempts to get to the truth behind the most bizarre, mysterious, and remarkable events ever reported. With the help of the world's top scientists, first-hand accounts and dramatic re-enactments, viewers gain shocking insight into what's really happening--and why.

Sky HISTORY spoke to Mr Shatner about the new series, his recent trip into space and why the experience brought him to tears.


Sky HISTORY: The UnXplained returns to Sky HISTORY for Season 3, what do you think makes the show so popular?

William Shatner: Over the years I've been able to cultivate the inner child, the curiosity of a child that wants answers and is mystified by everything. That's what I've held on to and that's what we all should cultivate.

How do you explain the premise of the show to someone who has never watched it?

Every episode looks at a different mystery and asks: 'What happened here?' What is the explanation?' and seeks to explain it.

Why do you think people are so fascinated by unexplained mysteries like the ones featured in the show?

When you can't answer something, it's even more tantalising. You'll run further along the road of curiosity to try and explain something.

Missing content item.

There are some fascinating episodes in the series from Wonders of the Ancient World to the Mysteries of Mars. Which one stood out for you and why?

With the Search for King Arthur, I did know something about it but there were a lot of questions.

Is it legend, or did the Knights of the Round Table exist and is there any evidence? Where did the concept of chivalry come from and what does the sword in the stone mean? And it isn't just a question of King Arthur: it's what King Arthur represented at the time when the story was written down.

When we spoke for Season 2, we asked whether you would go into space if you had the opportunity and lo and behold in October, there you were blasting into space with Blue Origin and Jeff Bezos.

There's no coincidence. Everything is vibrating in harmony which is something which is covered in a new book I have coming out in October called Boldly Go. I 85% believe that but it's a good theory.


What was it like going into space?

It was profound. I didn't think it'd be anything like the way it was.

Were you nervous when you took off?

There’s always a risk of human error going into space. I knew about the failure of the O Ring seals which caused the terrible explosion on the Challenger.

I had watched the footage of the Hindenburg going down in flames and I'm sitting in the rocket filled with the same gas [hydrogen]. And I'm thinking human error, human error!

So, we're halfway through the count, a voice comes on and says, 'Stop the count. There's an anomaly,' but in 15 seconds it went away, and we continued.

So, was I nervous? Yes, I was nervous.


Did it give you a different perspective on seeing earth from space?

Tremendously, as has been documented. I went up and when I came down, I was weeping. I didn't know why I was crying. I said to Jeff Bezos when he came up to me something like 'I don't want to ever forget the way I feel'.

It took me a couple of hours to sort out why I was weeping but it was grief for the Earth. I know a fair amount about the ecology and what's happening to the Earth and all the extinctions that are taking place, along with, the Earth's eventual extinction. I was weeping for that. I didn't have any idea that that would happen.


The UnXplained is part of Summer of Secrets, do you have any secrets or anything people might not know about you?

My life is an open book because people are looking at it all the time. I don't have any secrets. I'm as mysterious as every human being is because nobody knows who they are.

We asked our social media fans on social media for their questions for William.
From Andrew: You’ve done some great work in your career, but which series or film is the one that got away?

My answer to all these what-if questions is this: I'm 91 years old. I'm speaking to you about a hit show. There are other television shows, books, and albums that I am doing now. I'm far more creative now than I've ever been.

I'm in good health. My family's around me. I'm surrounded by love. I'm going to ride competitively next week at a horse show. I've got all these adventures in mind.

My life is so filled with beauty and pain, and all kinds of things. But mainly, I'm not worried about money. And I'm healthy.

If I wished for something else. How callow would it be? I'm in this beautiful place right now.

From Joe: When was the last time you belly laughed?

I laugh all the time mainly at some of the questions I've been getting...


From Racing Fan: Have you ever seen a UFO?

Well, we got it we got to define what a UFO is. If you think that a UFO is a little green man, with a joystick going up and down. That isn't what a UFO is. An unidentified flying object is something unexplained in the air.

When you see something in the sky you can't explain, it might be a Fata Morgana [an optical illusion] or a balloon. Yes, the US Navy is releasing footage of UFOs but there might be an explanation. It doesn't have to be from outer space with an alien in it.

And finally, is there one mystery in the universe that you would like to see explained?

Death. At 91 you really want an explanation of death.

Watch The UnXplained with William Shatner Tuesdays at 10pm on Sky HISTORY.