The death of James Kirk in Star Trek Generations was originally much worse.
James Kirk is arguably the most famous Star Trek character of all time, save for only Spock. Kirk was brought to life by William Shatner, who played the character across five total seasons of television that spanned the 60s and 70s, before returning to the role a few years later for six Star Trek films. His seventh film, the first involving the Next Generation television cast, was Star Trek Generations and it was intended to be Shatner’s last turn as Kirk.
So how do you write off the captain of the original televised Enterprise? You kill him off, of course. The decision to do was the foundation of the film, according to Ronald D. Moore. The entire point of Generations was Kirk’s death. It was going to happen one way or another.
The film ended up seeing Kirk get caught on a catwalk, which was destroyed and hanging on by small threads. He was attempting to gain a control pad that if obtained, would allow Jean Luc-Picard to blow up a key plot device.
The piece of the structure that Kirk was on eventually gave way after he succeeded in deactivating the pad, and just as he does the piece of structure he was holding onto goes end over end and crushes Kirk to death.
As bad as that was, the original death was worse.
James Kirk originally died in Star Trek Generations standing still
The ending fans got was not well received. Fans didn’t want to see Kirk die at all, let alone being crushed to death. Many had hoped he’d die with the Enterprise; going down with the ship seemed like a noble death. That’s not what people got.
They should be happy they got that ending because the original was even worse.
The same basic setup applies, Kirk and Picard are trying to stop the movie’s villain Soran, only instead of Kirk dying heroically by risking his life in an ill-fated leap onto a piece of dangling walkway, this time, Kirk simply gets shot in the back.
The ending of the film was not well received, prompting Shatner and Patrick Stewart to ask the studio to re-shoot the film’s ending, which became the film fans saw in the theater.