Showrunner extraordinaire Ronald D. Moore may be better known these days for his critically acclaimed Battlestar Galactica reboot, showrunning Starz's superb Outlander TV series and acting as executive producer on Syfy's Helix, but he's also the dude who killed off the great James Tiberius Kirk in Star Trek: Generations.
So, how did he feel about that?
In a fascinating and lengthy interview with Collider, Moore talked about getting the awesome gig of writing for Star Trek at the tender age of 23 after he wrote a spec script for Star Trek: The Next Generation (oh, the good old days), as well as killing off his childhood hero in Generations back in 1994.
Here’s what Moore had to say about writing Kirk's (William Shatner) controversial and emotional (and some would argue, pointless) death at the hands of Malcolm McDowell's Soran:
It was difficult, and yet I was very eager to do it. It was a really odd thing. I really wanted to do that story. I really wanted to write the death of Captain Kirk. I really wanted to do it in the movie. I remember writing the scene with Brannon [Braga], my writing partner, at the time. When I said, “And Kirk dies,” I wept. It was very emotional and very strange, in the moment and all the way through the process. I’d read it in the script and I’d always be struck by what I’d just done and what we were doing, and that this was my childhood hero and I was writing his death. Even then, I didn’t quite know what to make of it. I was mystified by why I was doing it, why I was so driven to do it, and why it was affecting me like it was. I still don’t know what it means. It’s a strange singular experience. I don’t even know anyone to talk to about it because I don’t know anyone who’s had that experience.
As for how Moore felt when he started writing for Star Trek (hint: pretty confident), here’s what the Outlander showrunner said:
Looking back on it now, I’m like, “God, you were just full of hubris. What the hell was wrong with you?!” But at the time, I totally believed it. I was like, “I’m gonna sell this, they’re gonna make it, and they’re gonna bring me on this show.” I remember walking through the building where all the writers were at Paramount while I was on the tour, and we walked by this tiny little office. It was literally the size of a closet, next to the stairwell. As we passed by that office, Richard Arnold, who was giving me the set tour and was instrumental to that whole story, he said, “One of the writers used to work in there, and they just left.” I remember looking in that office and going, “I’m gonna be in that office someday.” And you know what? I was. But, it’s hard to even tell that story because it’s so ridiculously arrogant for a 23-year-old. That was the attitude I had. I completely believed that I was gonna sell it, it was gonna happen, and I was gonna do it. Some miracle of the gods actually decided to make it happen.
What do you guys think about Ronald D. Moore’s thoughts on killing off James T. Kirk?