Shatner’s Outlander Tweets: Bully Battler or Publicity Hound?

William ShatnerStar Treks James T. Kirk, seems to have tweeted his way into becoming a kind of honorary member of Outlanders social media team. Shatner recently tweeted that he’s watched a couple more episodes of Ronald D. Moore‘s TV adaptation of Diana Gabaldon‘s Outlander novels after having watched the first episode months ago. Shatner’s Outlander tweets started off as somewhat good-natured jabs about the quality of the show, but more recently he’s taken issue with some fans’ bullying insistence that Caitriona Balfe (Claire) and Sam Heughan (Jamie) should be in a relationship in real life.

Shatner’s Outlander Tweets – A Brief History

Outlander first attracted Mr. Shatner’s attention as a devoted Arrow fan. Shatner was encouraging fellow Arrow fans to vote for Arrow’s Emily Bett Rickards rather than Outlander’s Caitriona Balfe in E!’s Girl on Top 2015 contest. Sparking a twitter war, Shatner engaged Outlander fans and Outlander creator Diana Gabaldon by calling Claire, ” … a little pushy and uppity,” for a WWII nurse. Both sides got some good digs in but, for my money, Gabaldon showed the most wit and grace during the exchange.

Shatner's Outlander tweets
Nice one, Ms. Gabaldon!
Shatner's Outlander tweets
Oh, Bill …
Shatner's Outlander tweets
Always a good idea, defer to the author!

Shatner gained a better understanding of the staunch support Outlander enjoys from some of its fans, tweeting the following to Gabaldon after making his comments about Claire: “Congratulations on your ahem… dedicated fanbase.”

Months after this exchange, Sam Heughan and Shatner met and engaged in a RadioTimes League of Fandoms battle, which Shatner eventually conceded to Heughan after it became obvious that Shatner had no chance of winning. Since his anti-Claire outburst, though, Shatner’s Outlander tweets have focused on the inappropriate nature of some fans’ relationships with the actors, something Shatner knows a lot about considering his years as the focus of Trekmania. Take a look …

Shatner's Outlander tweets
Bill doesn’t like guff
Luckily, this relatively futile exchange turned into a positive discussion about bullying

I believe this all came out of a fan debate between Shatner and Outlander fans, but one can’t deny that Shatner, Balfe, Heughan, and Gabaldon have all succeeded in improving their social media profiles. And, Shatner as a cranky guy on twitter (who has a good point), has helped highlight the absurdity of the notion that fans should have any kind of say in how an actor lives his or her life. In fact, although Shatner started off by tweeting his complaints about the show, he’s now become one of Outlander’s most reasonable fans …

Bill may not like the characterization of Claire but he sure doesn’t mind seeing as much as he can of her …

It’s also been said that Shatner’s initial tweet concerning Claire’s characterization was a result of having leftover sour grapes because Outlander developer Ronald D. Moore wrote Kirk’s death into Generations. Addressing this rumour, Shatner said, “I don’t blame him for that little hiccup. 😉 I love Ron please let him know.”

Michael Bedford
Michael Bedford
Under intense scrutiny by the Temporal Authorities, I was coerced into actualizing my capsule in this causality loop. Through no fault of my own, I am marooned on this dangerous yet lovely level-four civilization. Stranded here, I have spent most of my time learning what I can of the social norms and oddities of the Terran species, including how to properly use the term "Hipster" and how to perform a "perfect pour." Under the assumed name of "Michael Bedford," I have completed BA's with specialized honours in both theatre studies and philosophy, and am currently saving up for enough galactic credits to buy a new--or suitably used--temporal contextualizer ... for a friend.