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William Shatner Would Go Back And Demand A Better Death For Kirk If He Could

Captain Kirk (William Shatner) faced death any number of times on "Star Trek" and in the subsequent "Star Trek" film series, but when he actually met his death at the end of "Star Trek: Generations" — the first of four "Star Trek: The Next Generation" films — it was a much less glorious end than the noble captain's career deserved. In the movie, Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) travels in time to enlist Kirk's help in stopping a madman named Soran (Malcolm McDowell) from destroying an entire planet. In the process of stopping Soran, a bridge collapses, falling on the legendary original series captain.

As disappointing as that ending was, it was almost much worse. In a 2011 interview with StarTrek.com, "Star Trek: Generations" director David Carson revealed that Soren was originally just going to shoot Kirk in the back, which would have been a very undignified way for Kirk to die. Carson, Shatner, and Stewart all fought the studio on it, but it wasn't until test audiences said they hated the ending that the studio agreed to reshoot it. That wasn't even the original ending as written, either. According to TrekMovie, the film's co-writer, Brannon Braga, revealed that the original climax involved Kirk dying by going down with his ship, which probably would have been a more popular sendoff with fans.

According to Shatner, he still wasn't happy with the way his character died, even with the reshooting of the scene. If Shatner had his way, he would have asked them for a more honorable death for the beloved captain.

William Shatner regrets the way Kirk was killed off

In an interview with StarTrek.com, William Shatner admitted that he wishes he had stood up for his character when he saw how the captain was meant to be killed off, saying, "I would be much more courageous about suggesting, or demanding would be a better word, a more regal exit for this hero." He admitted that he didn't know the reasons why Kirk was given such an undignified death, but said that he really regretted not pushing harder to have the character's death changed. Given that Shatner already had to fight to change the ending once, perhaps he wasn't up to keep pushing to change the ending again after it had been revised.

In fact, according to a 2018 interview with TrekMovie, Shatner never even really wanted his character killed off, but felt like Paramount left him with no choice as they had decided to pass the baton for the "Star Trek" movies onto "The Next Generation" cast. Shatner was told that he could either appear in the movie and be killed off or, if he turned down the movie, they would simply kill his character offscreen instead. That exit for Kirk probably would have been even more unsatisfying for "Star Trek" fans than the shot-in-the-back sequence and the ending that made the final cut.