Though he has since moved on to other projects, William Shatner is still remembered by many as Captain James T. Kirk from the classic Star Trek TV series, a role he reprised for the franchise’s movie installments. However, as fans will recall, the beloved space hero met an unceremonious end in Star Trek: Generations, when he was killed by the film’s main villain Tolian Soran, played by Malcolm McDowell.
To this day, Kirk’s death has remained a controversial moment in the Star Trek fandom, but Shatner has recently opened up as to why this move happened, citing the choice as being financially motivated as opposed to creatively.
“So the Producer said, ‘We’re going to kill Kirk because we think that The Next Generation will make more money at the box office,’ and I said ‘Why? Why do you want to kill the Captain?’” Shatner said in an interview with Comicbook.com. “[They said] ‘Ah, the box office, expenses, the budget, and the box office.’ And they said, ‘Do you want to be a part of it?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I’ll be a part of it.'”
However, in reality, Shatner felt he had little say regarding the decision.
“Well, I didn’t think I had any choice in the matter,” he continued. “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. That was their theory. It didn’t work out that way, but that is the way it was.”
Luckily for fans, Shatner has considered reprising his famous role for a cameo the current series Star Trek: Discovery if the writers can come up with a way to explain Kirk’s resurrection, so the legendary Enterprise may prove you can’t keep a good captain down for long.
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