William Shatner explains why he killed off James Kirk the way he did in Star Trek Generations.
Star Trek Generations was a massive film in the history of the franchise. Not only was it the start of the film journey for the crew of the Next Generation series, but it was also the last official film to feature any of the Original Cast members as part of the main timeline.
Yes, Leonard Nimoy did return as Prime Spock in the Kelvin Timeline, but that was its own series of films, and besides the time-travel, galaxy-hopping nonsense of Nimoy’s Spock, it has nothing to do with the original six films in the franchise.
So despite Nimoy’s continued involvement, everyone agrees that Generations was the official end of the original cast’s story. One could argue Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was as well, and there’s merit to that argument, but regardless, Generations capped off the run of the original films with the death of James Kirk, once again played by William Shatner.
William Shatner talks about James Kirk’s death in Star Trek Generations
His death wasn’t the most appreciated thing the franchise ever gave the fanbase. While many were mad he was killed off at all, those that weren’t seemed to have an issue with how Shatner played Kirk’s death. In an interview with Variety, Shatner reveals why the iconic space captain simply said “Oh my” prior to dying.
"I’m of the opinion that you die the way you live. I thought Kirk would die with a ‘Wow, look at that coming at me. There’s a guy with a scythe. Holy shit!’ He’d seen all these weird aliens before. Here comes death and he meets it with awe and a sense of discovery."
It’s easy to get what Shatner is getting at with his description. But it’s also worth noting that every time one re-watches that scene, it’s hard not to be amused at Shatner, essentially, quoting his long-time nemesis George Takei, who is known for his over-exaggerated “Oh my.”