When Star Trek: Generations came out back in 1994, fans were excited by the prospect of finally seeing Kirk share the screen with the Next Generation folks. While the movie itself was just so-so, it was great to see Kirk back in action, and more than a little disappointing when the legendary captain got a less-than-dignified death, spending his final moments pinned beneath a fallen metal bridge. (Although I do still love his last words: “It was…fun. Oh my.”) It turns out that Trek fans aren’t the only ones who thought Kirk deserved a more epic send-off; the guy who killed him happens to agree.
Malcolm McDowell played Tolian Soran, the villain of Generations and the man whose actions led to Kirk’s semi-heroic death. In a new interview with The Canadian Press, McDowell reflects on the unforgettable moment and why he thinks it was a missed opportunity. “It was sad, really,” says McDowell. “Honestly, the producers should have given him a much better sendoff than they did.”
While the finished version of the film has Kirk falling to his death when a bridge he’s crossing gives way, the initial version was actually even worse, having Soren shoot Kirk in the back. McDowell says he remembers William Shatner grumbling about the idea. Thankfully test audiences agreed, and the scene was reshot to give Kirk a less embarrassing, but still disappointing, exit. McDowell was dissatisfied with both versions of the scene.
They should have given him a glorious death. If they’re going to kill one of the icons of American television, then get rid of him in a beautiful way. I was very disappointed that they didn’t come up with something a little better … It was feeble, I thought, because I thought he deserved better.
What do you think about Kirk’s final moments? Were they a fitting end for a legendary Starfleet captain or a death only fit for a generic redshirt?