Star Trek: Generations has the dubious distinction of being the movie where Captain James T. Kirk died
That alone doesn’t make it one of the most favorite of Star Trek movies. And Kirk’s (William Shatner) death was anything but heroic as many people have complained about over the last twenty-plus years.
His first “death” was a fake-out scene on the maiden voyage of the USS Enterprise-B. When the starship has to undertake a rescue mission for two El-Aurian refugee ships from a massive energy ribbon, the Enterprise ends up getting trapped as well. Kirk goes to the control room to help the ship escape, but the end of the ribbon tears open the ship’s hull, and he’s presumed dead. That scene, according to Walter Koenig in an interview with Trekmovie, was supposed to have much more impact.
Walter Koenig only agree to return for Star Trek: Generations if his character could add some impact and have some insight.
Koenig originally wasn’t going to appear in Generations. He said no the first time he was called, but when he was called again, he was asked what would it take to change his mind. His request was simple.
"‘Okay, I’ll tell you what’ll change my mind. You let me come up with a scene that will not undermine the story, that will not in any way subvert what you have going with Generations. And it’ll still be, you know, 97%, about Next Generation, but it’ll be a moment for Chekov, a moment where you get some insight into who he is.”"
So Koenig and James Doohan filmed a scene where Chekov and Scotty talk about the loss of their captain, how there was no more Captain Kirk. It’s obviously very painful. Koenig was even able to call upon some personal pain to make the scene really stand out.
"“I’m not sure I’m proud of this, but I had suffered a devastating loss in my life at this point, and I was able to bring that to that moment when Kirk gets blown out of the ship. And the only time in my life that I’ve ever brought forth tears was during the exchange between Scotty and Chekov. So they shot it. The writer took down what I had to say… and we memorized it. And we got on the set, and we shot it. And then they cut it out.”"
Koenig said he wasn’t crushed because that’s just Hollywood, but it was the only reason he agreed to do the movie. That was very disingenuous for him to be assured of a small part where Chekov could stand out, only to have it ripped away.
I’m sure there are myriad reasons why the scene was cut, but, at the very least, Koenig should have been warned and possibly even given an opportunity to shorten the scene so that a part of it could still have been kept in. After all, that was how Star Trek: Generations managed to get Koenig signed on in the first place.