William Shatner says he had no say in the decision to kill off Captain James T. Kirk in the much-maligned Star Trek: Generations. After a successful run of movies centered on the Star Trek: TOS cast, Paramount made the move in 1994 to build a new franchise around the cast of Star Trek: TNG. To bridge the gap between generations, the film cast William Shatner for one final appearance as the iconic Captain Kirk.
Sadly, what should have been a momentous meeting of the old and the new, with beloved captains Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) sharing the screen, turned out to be a huge disappointment for most fans. Not only did the movie mostly fail to capture the spirit of TNG, it also committed the unforgivable sin of giving Captain Kirk arguably the lamest death of any major character in movie history. Ever since, there's been talk about Shatner returning to the Star Trek universe to again play Captain Kirk, and perhaps redeem the character’s inauspicious departure. Thus far though, Shatner has been frustrated in his efforts to return to the fold.
In an interview with Trek Movie to promote his memoir Live Long and… What I Might Have Learned Along The Way, Shatner addressed many Trek-related topics, including the move to kill off Captain Kirk in Star Trek: Generations. According to Shatner, the decision to feature Kirk's ultimate demise was made before he hopped aboard the movie, so he had absolutely no say in the fate of his signature character. Shatner said:
Well, I didn’t think I had any choice in the matter. Paramount had decided that the ceiling that they could reach in our box office had been reached and they thought that by putting in the Next Generation cast, that they would reach a higher box office. That decision had been made. It was either I was going to appear and die, or they were going to say he died. So, I chose the more practical of the two.
In the same interview, Shatner said he would “jump at the chance” to return to Trek as Kirk if the right story came along. However, Shatner also said in another recent interview that he's not interested in having his own Trek TV show like Patrick Stewart, who's set to star on CBS All Access in a new series centered on Captain Picard. It appears that if Shatner does return as Kirk, he would prefer it to be in a supporting role.
If/when Shatner does get another chance to play Kirk, hopefully the project will give him an opportunity to say goodbye to Captain Kirk properly, after Star Trek: Generations totally botched the character’s death scene. All these years after Generations, many fans still feel frustration over the way Rick Berman, Brannon Braga, David Carson and company handled the death of Kirk. It seems only right that such an iconic character be given one last chance to take a bow, and given all the new Star Trek titles set to hit theaters and streaming in coming years, it shouldn’t be hard to find the right fit. Maybe Quentin Tarantino is the man to give Kirk the send-off he deserves.
Source: Trek Movie