Star Trek icon William Shatner explains Captain James T. Kirk’s dying words in Star Trek Generations. On the eve of his 92nd birthday, Mr. Shatner sat for an hours-long interview about his Star Trek career playing Captain Kirk for the Roddenberry Archive. Produced by cloud graphics innovators OTOY along with Star Trek: Picard‘s production designer Dave Blass, William Shatner: Reflections On The End Of An Era holographically returns the legendary actor to the bridge of the Starship Enterprise from 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
OTOY’s YouTube released a 3-minute clip titled The Roddenberry Archive: William Shatner (4K) where the legendary actor mused on Kirk’s controversial death in 1994’s Star Trek Generations. Shatner explained his thought process behind Kirk’s famous last words, “Oh my!” Read his quote and watch the video below.
We knew that Kirk was going to die. I’d like to think we die the way we live. So Captain Kirk, I imagined that he’d die, that he would die with awe and wonder. Like, “Wow! I’m dying. I wonder… I wonder what’s going to happen now?” With courage and bravery, and he’s not afraid. So my thought was Kirk would die… “Wow.”
So they wrote, “It was fun!” And lying there, I thought, “It’s better than that.” And I tried to see whatever it was. The cloud. The guy with the scythe. And say, “Oh my!” Is the way I wanted to say it. It didn’t quite come out that way. I didn’t know it until I saw it. It comes out a little fearful. I didn’t want it to be fearful… I did the best I could. I don’t know whether I would do anything different now, looking at it.
What Captain Kirk’s Death Has Meant To Star Trek
Unlike Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), whose Star Trek deaths were immediately reversed, Captain Kirk’s death stood the test of time. Kirk’s demise was intended to be a capstone to Star Trek Generations, which passed the torch from the crew of Star Trek: The Original Series to the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation taking over the movie franchise. Shatner had no say in Kirk’s death, but he tried to infuse as much drama and poignance as he could into the Captain’s final moments.
William Shatner has not played Captain Kirk in live-action since Star Trek Generations, although he voiced Kirk in the 2002 Futurama episode, “Where No Fan Has Gone Before.” Instead, the role of Captain Kirk passed to younger actors. In 2009’s Star Trek movie reboot, Chris Pine became Captain Kirk in J.J. Abrams’ alternate Kelvin timeline. In 2022, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 1 cast Paul Wesley as Kirk, and he reprises the role in season 2. Star Trek: Picard season 3 revealed Kirk’s corpse was taken from his gravesite on Veridian III and is being stored in a top-secret Daystrom Station installation under “Project Phoenix.” While it’s unlikely WIlliam Shatner will embody Captain Kirk again, his context helps give Kirk’s death a greater meaning in Star Trek.