Speaking at a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas (via CNN), William Shatner told fans that Star Trek was "created" by Star Wars - a statement that left fans puzzled, considering the original Star Trek television series was off the air eight years before the first Star Wars film hit theaters.
"First of all, Star Wars created Star Trek. You know that?" Shatner followed up by explaining that he meant the success of Star Wars could be credited for reviving Star Trek as a film series.
"Every year there was the threat to be canceled. The third year, we were canceled, and everybody accepted it," Shatner explained, going on to say that Star Wars’s unexpected success sent Paramount scrambling to find a comparable franchise. "At Paramount Studios they were running around bumping into each other: 'What do we got?! What do we got to equal Star Wars? This is a big thing! There was this thing that we canceled, under another management, it was called Star ... Trek? Let's resurrect that!"
"It was Star Wars that thrust Star Trek into the people of Paramount's consciousness.”
Still, Shatner says there’s a distinct difference between Star Wars and Star Trek.
"Star Trek at its best tells human stories. It's philosophical. There's humanity. There's a principle involved. And it's well done. It's about people," he said. "Star Wars was grand, like opera. It was huge with great special effects. It was a marvelously entertaining film, but it wasn't specifically about people the way those Star Treks were."
Both the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises are still going strong, with the most recent Trek film Star Trek Beyond currently in theaters, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story scheduled for a December 16 theatrical release.