Star Trek: Generations Would Have Been Perfect If The Studio Followed The Original Idea

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

Star Trek Enterprise

Even the biggest fans of the franchise will typically admit that Star Trek: Generations was a bit disappointing, especially when it came to the long-awaited meeting of Captain Kirk and Captain Picard. However, if film writer Brannon Braga had it his way, the final film would have been much more entertaining simply because it would give fans what they really wanted (whether they’d admit it or not). When he initially pitched the film to Paramount, he wanted to have the poster featuring the two captains’ ships battling one another, a preview of a film that could have been Kirk v. Picard.

Kirk vs. Picard

Obviously, the final Star Trek: Generations that hit theaters was drastically different: instead of Kirk and Picard duking it out, they team up (after awkwardly meeting over eggs) to stop a murderous madman who will kill millions to return to an interdimensional paradise known as The Nexus. Sure, Kirk gets one last bit of onscreen fisticuffs, but fans couldn’t get over that this movie killed the legendary captain not once but twice (first, with his apparent death in the first act and then his definitive death in the final act). 

A Battle Between The Captains

Instead of bringing the house down, the death of one of TV’s most famous characters was the nail in the coffin of a film truly dead on arrival. With the revelation that Brannon Braga wanted to turn this first TNG film into a slugfest between Kirk and Picard, I can’t help but think this would have been better–or at least more entertaining–on almost every level.

Kirk’s Unconventional Battle Tactics

start trek nebulae

Obviously, making such a battle into anything approaching a fair fight would be a challenge for the Star Trek: Generations writers, but there are many creative ways to make the battle between the two Enterprises a more even match. For example, maybe Spock could figure out the Enterprise-D’s command codes and lower the shields, or they could find a handy nebula that (Wrath of Khan-style) could obscure the sensors and disable the shields of each ship. 

If the plot involved Kirk’s Enterprise traveling to the future, it’s also conceivable that the wily captain (never too fussy about the Prime Directive) would have outfitted his ancient ship with modern weapons, shields, and other technology.

A Versus Movie Would Be Better Than Generations

Of course, the real appeal of making Star Trek: Generations into a slugfest would be seeing Captain Kirk and Captain Picard get into a knock-down, drag-out fight with fists and phasers. From the very beginning, Picard was situated as someone who approached both daily life and cosmic dangers very differently from his famous predecessor. In short, Kirk and Picard would have natural ideological differences that could lead to a fight, and fans would definitely go nuts seeing their most vicious “which Star Trek captain is better” debates play out on the big screen.

Kirk Is Not Afraid To Get Physical

william shatner

I’m not trying to dunk on his character, but it would make perfect sense for Captain Kirk to be the aggressor towards Picard before the two inevitably find common ground. Keep in mind that Kirk is a guy who nearly died fighting his best friend and even got into a fistfight with his son when they first met in The Wrath of Khan (admittedly, the kid came at him with a knife). If this guy isn’t afraid to smack around those closest to him, then he most certainly wouldn’t hesitate to lay a few of his famous Kirk punches on a relative stranger like Picard. 

William Shatner Wrote Kirk Vs. Picard

Incidentally, we already know that Kirk actor William Shatner would have preferred this version of Star Trek: Generations. In his Trek book The Return (cowritten by Enterprise writers Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens), Kirk is resurrected and given false memories that eventually cause him to come to blows with Picard (on a “Relics” style holodeck recreation of the original Enterprise bridge, no less). 

Simply put, pitting these two captains against each other is such a great idea that Shatner made it happen in a surprisingly good book, and I have to agree that he’s right: this would have been an unforgettable big-screen battle. As Kirk himself put it in Star Trek: Generations, “who am I to argue with the captain of the Enterprise?”

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