William Shatner has been speaking a lot lately about the death of Captain Kirk in 1994’s Star Trek Generations. At the IC Collectors Convention in Nashville, he looked back on how he prepared for the big death scene.
Shatner has previously explained that he didn’t have much say in the decision to kill Kirk, also explaining that it was more of a financial decision than a storytelling one. Still, as an actor he couldn’t control the “if” and “why” of Kirk’s death, who could decide how Kirk would go out.
His thoughts on that factored into Kirk’s final words, “Oh my.” Shatner recalled the night before filming Kirk’s death scene, explaining what he was thinking that led to those words.
"I thought about dying, my death and this beloved character who's going to be put to rest,” Shatner said. “How do I play it? You know there's got to be a moment, you're alive, and you're going to die, now you're alive, and now you're going to die. There has to be a moment when we all, at that moment of death, we say, 'Holy cats, I'm dying!' And you're dead. How do you treat that moment? And I think we die the way we live. If we live filled with fear, a fear of flying, a fear of leaving the village, you'll be fearful, you'll lose your breath, you'll panic, and you'll die. Or if you look forward to the next adventure, maybe you're conscious, maybe we're conscious when we die. Maybe, we're aware. A lot of people believe in heaven. We're all going to go to a lovely place and see somebody. I don't know what age we see our mother and father. Are they still old? Or are they young? We don't know. That would be a lovely thing to happen, but we don't know. It's how we die that's interesting. And I think we die the way we live.
“Captain Kirk always treated the imminent death by the alien, and the way I played it was, 'Wow, oh, look at that, I wonder if he's going to eat me, with awe and wonder.' And so Captain Kirk, I wanted him to die with awe and wonder."
Star Trek: The Next Generation star Patrick Stewart recently announced that he will return to his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in a new Star Trek series on CBS All Access. Shatner has thought about whether he might reprise his Star Trek role in a future series.
“Right now I’m happy doing what I’m doing,” Shatner said. “I’ve been offered many series over the years. But I haven’t done them because of the commitment of time. And at this stage of my life, that’s more valuable than anything else.”
Shatner did leave the door open for a cameo or guest role if the Star Trek writers can justify having Kirk back from the dead and decades older than he was the last time anyone saw him.1comments
“It will have to pass through enormous hurdles including permission from Paramount," Shatner explained, "and then they’ll have to get back to me and see where things are at."
What do you think of how Captain Kirk died in Star Trek: Generations? Let us know what you think in the comments section!