The Alternate Star Trek Generations Ending We're Glad We Didn't See

"Star Trek Generations" isn't the most beloved of "Trek" films, but it could have had an ending that would have made it even worse in the sight of fans. After six movies featuring William Shatner and the cast of "Star Trek: The Original Series," "Star Trek Generations" promised to boldly go where no "Trek" movie or show had gone before: uniting Shatner's character, James T. Kirk, and Patrick Stewart's character, Jean-Luc Picard, the old and new captains of the starship Enterprise.

The film came just six months after "Star Trek: The Next Generation" concluded its seven-season run on television. Its title alluded to its nature as both the first "Next Generation" movie and the one where there was a changing of the guard between generations. Other cast members from "The Original Series," such as DeForest Kelley, Leonard Nimoy, and James Doohan, had guest-starred on "The Next Generation," but Kirk's return was reserved for a big-screen event.

Picard has since returned to headline his own Paramount+ streaming series, but if you've seen "Star Trek Generations," then you'll know that it didn't end well for Kirk. In fact, Shatner would never play the character again. Yet Kirk's original demise in the the script by Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga played out a bit differently than the one we eventually saw onscreen.

Sacrificing Kirk Both On and Offscreen

In "Star Trek Generations," Kirk and Picard team up against Dr. Soran (Malcolm McDowell), a scientist from the same El-Aurian species as Guinan, Whoopi Goldberg's bartender. As they try to stop him from launching a probe that will kill a star and send out a deadly shockwave, Kirk falls and dies under some collapsed scaffolding. However, before he expires, Picard finds him and thanks him for his service.

"Least I could do for the captain of the Enterprise," Kirk says. "It was fun." He then stares off into space, as if looking into the face of oblivion, and says, "Oh, my."

As Screen Rant notes, Shatner ad-libbed the "Oh, my" part, and the original scripted ending called for Soran to shoot Kirk in the back after a fistfight. Picard was then meant to step in and shoot and kill Soran with his own phaser.

It would have been an ignominious end for Kirk, the Trekkie equivalent of seeing Bruce Dern shoot John Wayne in the back in "The Cowboys." It also would have been somewhat at odds with Picard's honorable character to retaliate in such a vengeful fashion. As it is, "Star Trek Generations" went back for reshoots and we got an ending of a different sort.

The funny thing is, the book, "Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion," revealed that Moore, Braga, and producer Rick Berman (who also received a story credit) arrived at that ending simply because they wanted to have Picard confront mortality in the form of a character death. Kirk's name came up only because any "Next Generation" characters were off-limits. In both the movie and the writers' room, he died so they could live.