An early script for Star Trek: Generations had the crews of the original series and The Next Generation battling one another as enemies.
Patrick Stewart and William Shatner almost exchanged photon torpedoes on their first meeting in Star Trek: Generations. As recounted in Shatner’s book Star Trek Movie Memories (via Fansided), Ronald Moore and Brannon Braga originally pitched an idea that would find the crews of the Enterprise-A and Enterprise-D at war with one another. The concept was set aside because the notion of positioning Captain Kirk and his allies as villains didn’t seem like a very good idea.
What fans got instead was a film that has received more love in recent years, but at the time got little more than hate from the fanbase, and for a good reason. While Generations was pushed as the “passing of the torch” film, with William Shatner showing up to symbolically give the nod to Patrick Stewart, Shatner’s hero shows up only at the beginning and the end, with James Doohan and Walter Koenig making brief appearances early on. Kirk suffers a surprisingly unheroic death, crushed beneath a bridge he had stood on moments earlier.
The folks at Fansided seem grateful that the original idea of having Patrick Stewart and William Shatner’s characters at odds with one another didn’t happen, but we’re not as convinced it couldn’t have been interesting. After all, if you look at other films in which popular characters are initially in conflict with one another — like the titular hero and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, or the iconic beasts of 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong — they always eventually join forces. It seems inevitable, had Moore and Braga’s original concept happened, Kirk and Picard would’ve done the same.
Regardless, it does make you wonder exactly what Patrick Stewart and William Shatner would have been fighting over in the unmade version of Star Trek: Generations. Considering the very potential of the two crews meeting would necessitate some kind of time travel, the most obvious option would be that one of the crews is trying to alter the timeline and the other is defending its integrity. Regardless, it would have been interesting to see some of the characters from the original crew interacting with the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Of course, a surprising number of the original series cast did meet Patrick Stewart’s hero and his crew during the course of TNG. DeForest Kelley makes a cameo as Dr. McCoy in the TNG premiere episode, James Doohan’s Scotty winds up in the future via transporter shenanigans in the Season 6 episode “Relics,” and Leonard Nimoy‘s Spock meets Picard and Data (Brent Spiner) in the TNG two-parter “Unification.” But presumably the version of Generations that was initially proposed would feature an Enterprise-A crew from the past with no knowledge of their future interactions with the later heroes.
Kirk’s death in Generations was very recently given a rather strange and morbid turn in Patrick Stewart’s revival series Star Trek: Picard. In “The Bounty” when some of Picard’s allies infiltrate Section 31‘s Daystrom Station, they discover the clandestine organization retrieved Kirk’s corpse from the surface of Veridian III and have been keeping it there for reasons unknown.