Star Trek Generations had its issues but the killing of James Kirk wasn’t one of them.
James Kirk was the standard bearer for all things Star Trek for nearly 30 years. Kirk, played famously by William Shatner, was the face of the franchise from the original series, the animated series, and into the film series. He was such a huge part of the film, that the last film featuring the original cast, Star Trek Generations, was all about his impact on the franchise.
We all know that Generations featured some Original Series cameos alongside Shatner’s Kirk, with James Doohan and Walter Koening returning as Scotty and Chekov respectively. Yet they weren’t the only two planned, in fact, there were small cameos planned for just about everyone from the original series, but the roles were so small that most passed on the project.
They all wanted a bigger role, but see, the film was about the end of Kirk and Shatner with the series, so the focus was on him, rightfully.
After the rewrites and getting things together, the film came together wonderfully and featured a solid story, with a good villain and the opportunity for fans to finally see Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard on screen together, for the first time ever.
It would also mark the final time that Shatner’s Kirk would ever be seen in Star Trek again, a death that some fans still claim hurt the movie to this day.
Killing James Kirk wasn’t the problem in Star Trek Generations
Star Trek Generations’ call to kill James Kirk was a fine one. Not everyone agrees, with Giant Freaking Robot claiming Kirk’s death as a major reason the film suffers, but everyone has to die at some point.
Considering Shatner was pretty much done with the franchise at the time of the film, it made sense to write him off for good. After all, he’s not shown much interest in returning in the nearly 30 years since the film came out, so clearly it’s not like there were any missed opportunities.
No, killing Kirk wasn’t the issue. It was how. The scene saw him on a small, metallic bridge, and as the structure around it fails, the bridge that Kirk is hanging on flies off, and crushes Kirk. And this was the second, “better”, death scene that they filmed.
Had Kirk died in a nobler, more Kirk-like way, then I think Generations would have had a much better reputation, because other than that one scene, it’s a well-done Star Trek film for sure.