Watch: Malcolm McDowell Says He Did Trekkies A Favor By Killing Kirk

In 1994 actor Malcolm McDowell had the dubious distinction of being the actor to play the man who killed Capt. James T. Kirk in the movie Star Trek: Generations. He has been getting an earful about that from Trekkies for the last two decades, but at a recent event he fought back saying that he did Trekkies a favor. He also had some choice things to say about his Generations co-star Sir Patrick Stewart and opined about JJ Abrams as well. Watch his Trek rant below.

 

McDowell unleashes on Star Trek

At a 40th anniversary LA Times Hero Complex event celebrating A Clockwork Orange Malcolm McDowell talked about that film and his career. At one point the LA Times’ Geoff Boucher asked the actor about the reaction Star Trek fans had to his killing of James T. Kirk in Star Trek Generations. McDowell took that opportunity to say some very candid (perhaps tongue-in-cheek) things about his views of Star Trek…

The Trekkies, they did get a bit freaked out [about killing Captain Kirk]. I think they have come to realize that actually I did them a favor. Because we have released this whole thing and now JJ Abrams has gone on and made some actually good movies…It is very fun times that they have revived it and I think it has given it new energy. I think it needed that. My god. How many more of these things. Patrick Stewart spouting off for another forty minutes. Jesus! If you find that exciting, hey go watch paint dry!

Tell us how you really feel Malcolm! The veteran British actor soon realized that he was going to get some feedback on this when he he asked "Somebody is photographing? This is going to be on the bloody Internet isn’t it?” He then noted “I keep forgetting about this f–king Internet."

Here is the full video (via LATimes & Nerdist). [Trek bit starts around 8:40]

For a reminder, here is McDowell as Dr. Tolian Soran fighting captains Kirk and Picard in Star Trek: Generations.

 

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Oops

Wow.

Can somebody, anybody, give me a halfway decent plot reason Kirk was killed? We know the “real reason” but I’ve never heard any storyline reasoning that held up. Not that Kirk needed to be in the next film, or ever heard from again, but the hope/imagination of the Troika (now comically old) in the sterile 24th century is great.

Sadly, I suspect a lot of the producers at Paramount share this viewpoint, which is why they passed the torch to JJ Abrams, and thereby effectively killed the old era of Star Trek. Given how popular the new movie was with audiences, and how much praise JJ Abrams is receiving from even sites like this one, maybe it is a view shared by a large number of of Trekkies, too.

Kirk’s death was a terrible scene that could have been loads better.
LOADS. Dying by being crushed by a stupid rusty bridge isn’t even good death, even.

I’m sure if Sir Patrick is offended, he’ll have some brilliant comeback. Mostly, I just think Malcolm was having fun. Better than what he (Kubrick, really) did to Gene Kelley.

Well played, good sir!

Skeptic-

It certainly is a view shared at least by THIS long-time fan. The franchise needed to adapt and change or it never would have survived. It never ceases to amaze me how fans actually believe that producers could have kept churning out the same re-dressed late-80’s inspired stuff for another 20 years and been successful. It amazes me even more that it is what some people WANTED.

Trek had become so bloated, repetitive and uninteresting that nobody cared any longer. It had become more about sustaining it’s own continuity. It was the same approaches and the same style dressed up in new crews and characters. There was nothing NEW there.

Many fans argue that the last Trek, by re-imagining the original characters is not NEW. But, I strongly disagree. It’s not the characters…it’s the approach (the themes, the style, the pacing, etc) that needed a re-work, and thankfully the filmmakers and producers realized that and delivered on it. No more stuffy, bloated, static Trek-in-a-can.

I think he wasn’t actually all that serious in the whole vid ;)

But… I would have been okay if they just had the Nexus kill off Kirk instead of “preserving” him for Soran…

Kirks Time was over… and it was at least better than having just a short text-easter-egg in some movie or series of an article of how the legendary Kirk silently died in his bed…

Kirk’s death was not well thought-out in comparison to Spock’s in Star Trek 2. I can see what William Shatner was talking about when he felt that Kirk wasn’t integral to the plot in Generations. There was really no plot reason for Kirk to be killed, it was more like the producers of TNG/ DS9/ VOY/ ENT wanting to bury the original series.

Malcolm seems to be channeling his creepy studio exec character from ‘Entourage’ in the interview.

What’s funny is ‘he did us all a favor’ by killing Kirk. I’m sure he was happy to get a paycheck at the time. He’d have done a hula dance at the time if it was in the script. Oh, and nice bit of actor-envy aimed at fellow Shakespearean Sir Patrick.

I enjoy McDowell’s work, but it sounds like he’d had a few tipples when they talked to him.

Looking back on “Star Trek” in the early 90’s, I’ve always had the impression that Bill Shatner didn’t mind coming back to do a “death scene” much like how a disenchanted Leonard Nimoy came back to do “Star Trek 2” with the promise that he’d have a neat death scene to play.
While Shatner may have wanted one last big payday to “feed the horses”, had he known that the next 20 years would see an explosion of new interest in “Star Trek” like tent pole films, I’m sure he would have put the kybosh on his “Generations” demise.
I think Rick Berman selfishly wanted to kill Kirk to once and for all “bury” the original crew so his TNG crew would have the complete spotlight.
I’m still hoping that the 2016 “Star Trek 3- The 50 Year Anniversary Mission” has the Mirror Universe’s Kirk & Spock played by a bearded Nimoy and a bearded Shatner crash into the world of the new crew and reak havoc on the Enterprise.

James Cannon - Runcorn Trekkie UK

Kirk should have died on the bridge, not UNDER one ….

@ 8:

“It’s not the characters”

you can say that again

I think the producers who wanted to bury TOS were Rick Berman and Brannon Braga. I remember reading a comment made by Ron Moore in which he said in his opinion that these two producers didn’t like the original series.

I have mixed feelings about JJ Abrams. I am thrilled that he revived interest in the franchise, yet I feel that he doesn’t have the same care and passion that was a cornerstone of the previous generations. I am, also, not impressed with Chris Pine. Up to this point, he has convinced me that he is a competent actor; however, he hasn’t sold me on him being Captain James Kirk. Maybe, in the next film, I will buy him as the Captain.

#10.

“Kirk’s death was not well thought-out in comparison to Spock’s in Star Trek 2. I can see what William Shatner was talking about when he felt that Kirk wasn’t integral to the plot of Generations.”

Here’s the thing about that. Shatner agreed to kill Kirk off, took the money, and gave input into the script (especially the horse-riding and Nexus bits).

So I think it’s totally disengenuous to seperate Shatner from the fiasco that was Kirk’s death. He’s just as responsible for that as the writers are.

“The Trekkies, they did get a bit freaked out [about killing Captain Kirk]. I think they have come to realize that actually I did them a favor. Because we have released this whole thing and now JJ Abrams has gone on and made some actually good movies…It is very fun times that they have revived it and I think it has given it new energy. I think it needed that. My god. How many more of these things. Patrick Stewart spouting off for another forty minutes. Jesus! If you find that exciting, hey go watch paint dry!”

Well said, Malcom McDoweell! He tells it like he sees it and I agree!

They killed Kirk to bury TOS. Berman couldn’t wait to push Roddenberry & the old crew out to pasture.

“The Trekkies, they did get a bit freaked out [about killing Captain Kirk]. I think they have come to realize that actually I did them a favor. Because we have released this whole thing…”
________

I did not mind about their “releasing this whole thing”, at all.
If only “they” could have left James Tiberius Kirk out of it…

Oh, well…It is what it is…

“….and now JJ Abrams has gone on and made some actually good movies…It is very fun times that they have revived it and I think it has given it new energy.”

On that, we can agree.

#13 You hit the nail on the Head. I always felt Shat went for a big payday & Nimoy didn’t. Not whose benefiting the most.

James T. Kirk. Survived by a bridge.

I had less of a problem with the idea that Kirk died than I did with HOW. So I can agree, partly, with Malcolm. Seriously, the man plays a GREAT villain in so many films, they could’ve had a much more heroic death for Kirk.

My post 20 should be directerd @ 12.

LOL!

Lord Garth, Formerly of Izar

Orci did you just LOL?

Good lord someone has been hanging out at the Grove again with the 12 year olds outside the True Religion store. I forgot that school was out now

OMG OMG

Well, I’d rather see hours of Stewart’s acting in a repeating loop than anything McDowell ever did. I’m looking forward to the second Reboot-Movie. If it can’t be more convincing than the first one, that’ll be it for me. A good start would be a non-generic villain with believable motives. Cumberbatch makes me hope it can happen.

@25 Huh ???

Orci,

What do you think of Kirk’s death in Generations? Was it earned?, Did he really need to be in the film at all? What do you think of Generations as a movie?

Killing Kirk was a big mistake, even Shatner admitted in his book, “Star Trek Movie Memories” that he regret agreeing on killing Kirk in the movie.

I didn’t care much about Malcolm McDowell rantings, he should take a look at his own movie & TV record.

Lol. funny stuff.

@boborci

you guys have to bring back shatner/kirk prime so that he can get an actual proper death scene. no bridges, no buses, no last minute great vacation deals ;)

In my opinion I thought Chris Pine did a great job portraying Captain Kirk :):)

Pretty sure I remember his career being pretty much dead until he came back to do Generations. Then he goes and insults the franchise that gave him that come back? There goes any respect I had for the guy. Sorry that some of us have brains and don’t need constant, strung along action scenes to hold our attention. Sometimes good writing, acting, and directing are enough.

The new Trek came along because, lets face it, the mass audience doesn’t have the same attention span that Trekkies have so they had to infuse it with tons of action. I don’t blame JJ and co for that, they’re doing their jobs to make a fun movie, and they made a fun Trek movie. Just because it reaches out to a mass audience, though, doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with shows like TOS and TNG.

Also funny thing, I don’t see anything about McDowell being knighted. Jealous of superior talent maybe?

#33. trekprincess
“In my opinion I thought Chris Pine did a great job portraying Captain Kirk :):)”

Agreed, but still I’d love to see Shatner for the last time in the sequel.

Anthony, the site is not “remembering” my name and email address.

31. drum-van – June 10, 2012
@boborci

you guys have to bring back shatner/kirk prime so that he can get an actual proper death scene. no bridges, no buses, no last minute great vacation deals ;)

——-

Bring him back from the dead just to whack him again?! Seems cruel.

McDowell needs to get a reality check somewhere sometime. Berman killed Kirk to buy TOS movie series once & for all (or so he thought!).

And celebrating the thing which more than anything else upsets TOS fans is a pretty mean feat.

Bob Orci you know what to do how about you write/produce along with JJ a TV movie which covers the resurrection of Kirk……….think about the ratings/bluray sales for 1 last adventure with the remaining original TOS crew!!

McDowell should have played the bus driver in that commercial.

#35. boborci – June 10, 2012

“Bring him back from the dead just to whack him again?! Seems cruel.”

Why whack him at all ? Just send him on a journey to the edge of the universe or get him ascended

#33: I was wondering how long it would take for someone to completely over-react to Malcolm’s statement and throw a tantrum. Amazingly, it took 33 posts.

I allways thought it would have been better having Kirk either stayed alive and then they had a scene with Kirk, Riker and Picard on the destroyed Enterprise D bridge and have Kirk say “Jean-Luc, what have you done to the Enterprise?” Then Picard look at Riker and said “Don’t look at me I wasn’t in Command.”

Or have Kirk been in command of the Enterprise D so that Riker and crew could have beamed off and then Riker could have helped Picard defeat Soran. Then you could see Kirk going down with ship and saving the a Solar System at the same time.

I’m not a writer or in movies…so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but it never bothered me that Kirk died in Generations but the WAY he died was just so lame. And they had TWO chances to get it right! The first attempt was received poorly by test audiences so they went back and re-wrote and re-shot it. And falling off a bridge/cliff was the best they could do with the second chance? That’s how they send off one of the most iconic heroes in fiction? Really?

Had he willing sacrificed himself in some way it could have been so much more dramatic and satisfying. If he had to manually lock the rocket to keep it from launching and had to remain on the pad to make sure it stayed put…cool. If he had to fly a shuttle into the rocket after it launched to keep it from reaching the sun….wow! But the best the creative team could come up with was something out of a Monty Python sketch? Sad. (And not the good kind of sad.)

I’m pretty sure Malcolm is being a little tongue in cheek here. When I saw Sir Patrick at Creation’s Con in NJ last month, he delighted in telling a story about Malcolm McDowall forgetting his one and only line during his debut w/ the Royal Shakespeare Academy. I’m sure its some good-natured ribbing on both ends.

Also, Malcolm seems to forget they re-shot the original phasered-in the back ending, replacing it with Kirk on the collapsing bridge, and so that in the movie proper Soran didn’t kill Kirk at all!

I empathize. Kirk went out with a whimper. No fanfare or grandiose funeral ceremony, in fact his sad death is only known to Picard, who in my opinion spent too much time pressing buttons when he should’ve been helping kick butt. It was a ridiculous way to end a great character.

But, we must move on. Time for regrets (especially on Bill’s side, I partially blame him for the death of Kirk) is over. There’s no use or fairness in holding JJ & CO. responsible for fixing something that happened in the 80s, let alone in an alternate universe. Seeing as this IS an alternate universe, Kirk may not even die. Which should mollify some (me especially).

@37: LOL!!!

#43. LizardGirl – June 10, 2012

“But, we must move on. Time for regrets (especially on Bill’s side, I partially blame him for the death of Kirk) is over. There’s no use or fairness in holding JJ & CO. responsible for fixing something that happened in the 80s, let alone in an alternate universe. Seeing as this IS an alternate universe, Kirk may not even die. Which should mollify some (me especially).”

Star Trek:Generations was released in 1994, not in the 80s. Also, JJ Abrams universe IS the alternate universe, not the prime timeline where Kirk was killed in this dump way.

And I don’t see the problem of bringing Kirk back in the sequel, if they really want to do it, they can come up with million of ways to do it.

PS is like watching paint dry? When you consider that McDowell’s CV for teh best part of the past 30 years has been almost largely garbage, you’d think he’d be a bit more polite!

Maybe he’s jealous about the knighthood – that’s what ya get for defecting to the Americans ;)

What, no Tank Girl sequel?

@ 42 Soran shot down the brudge Kirk was on! ;)

@48 Yes, he did shoot out the bridge, BUT…

Picard saved Kirk from the shot-out bridge. They could have walked away and tried new, winning strategies, but it was Kirk who went back out on a rickety bridge all for the love of the remote control.

Yeah, I’m nitpicking, I know…

Although I ‘m not happy with Kirk’s death – or any other of my favorite characters death in Star Trek (Data and Jadzia Dax in particular) I agree about the part he says that JJ Abrams brought a breath of fresh air the franchise desperately needed. I loved the new movie and I can’t wait for more

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