AIR FORCE ONE — Forty years ago today, the first true “blockbuster” motion picture was released to an American public that could not have known then just how important it would be from that point forward. All across the country, families lined up to see “Star Wars,” the first in what would be an eight (soon to be nine this December) film franchise that inspired generations to put themselves in the shoes of Princess Leia, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, or Darth Vader.
There can be no denying the societal and cultural impact of George Lucas’ science fiction fantasy film, and President Trump took time during his busy day of travel to congratulate someone who he believed was one of the stars of the iconic series.
“Bill,” Trump exclaimed into the phone, greeting actor William Shatner, “I just wanted to take time out of my super-busy presidential schedule of traveling to congratulate you on truly a remarkable accomplishment.”
On the other end, Mr. Shatner reportedly was confused and taken aback.
“Well, I mean, thanks Don,” Shatner replied, “I’m not really sure what I did. But…I…want to…thank you…for CALLING ME…and congratulating me, nevertheless. KAHHHHHHHHHN!”
The president turned to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer with a confused look on his face. At first, Spicer didn’t do anything because Trump with confused looks on his face is the most normal thing to his staff. But, eventually, Spicer could tell that something was the matter and he came to Trump’s side.
“You know what I’m talking about Bill,” Trump continued, “that movie you made. The one about the space ships and whatnot.”
Shatner, still a little confused, pressed on.
“Okay, sure, what about them, Mr. President,” Shatner asked, “I made a few of them, you know.”
“Of course you did, Bill,” Trump said, “and I’m congratulating you on the one where you were the captain of that big, fast ship.”
Now it seemed that Shatner was catching on.
“Oh, thanks, Mr. Trump,” Shatner said, “I’ve grown to embrace my time on the Enterprise as I’ve gotten older. I might’ve been a little curmudgeonly about it before, but hey, I wouldn’t be anywhere without that part.”
Trump smiled and laughed.
“You Hollywood liberals are funny,” Trump said, “calling movies enterprises. That’s what we super-duper successful business tycoons call our projects too! But, I’ve got to ask you one question about that movie.”
“Shoot, Mr. President,” Shatner said.
Stuffing three Chicken McNuggets in his face at once, Trump asked Shatner his question.
“When you were on that ship with that big, hair, space dog thing,” Trump started, “was there something special you had to do to get him to leave you alone for five minutes? I’ve got one of those types of things hanging around me. Most of the time I can’t understand what Steve’s saying, like that cookie character in your movie. But really there are times I just want to poop in private, and he’s always sticking his hand under the door, asking me if I can see him.”
For twenty minutes Shatner tried to get Trump to understand that he was not in “Star Wars,” and that he had no advice for the president on how to deal with Wookiees named Bannon or anything else. Mr. Trump just was not getting it. Finally, exasperated, Shatner gave up.
“Well, it was a pleasure talking to you Mr. President,” Shatner said, “and thanks for the kind words about my film.”
President Trump smiled from ear to ear and pointed at the phone while he looked around Air Force One. He wanted his staff to know how much Shatner has praised him. And he also wanted to sign off in a way that would let the actor know he was cool.
“Live long and may the prosper be with you,” Trump said, “always.”
You can follow James on Twitter @JamesSchlarmann.