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You Can Call Me BIll: Why Star Trek’s William Shatner Decided Captain Kirk Had to Die Again Over 30 Years Later (2024/03/31)- Tickets to Movies in Theaters, Broadway Shows, London Theatre & More

March 31, 20244 Mins Read

Actor William Shatner recently celebrated his 93rd birthday on March 22nd, which corresponded with the release of the documentary film, You Can Call Me Bill, detailing the Hollywood legend’s life. Easily, his most memorable role is that of Captain James T. Kirk on the science fiction television show and movie franchise, Star Trek. This character died in the 1994 film, Star Trek: Generations, but it turns out it was not a satisfactory ending to the man who most famously portrayed him, so he  decided to kill him all over again, and do it right this time, 30 years later.

Directed by Alexandre O. Phillipe, You Can Call Me Bill details the life and more than 70 year (and counting) career of Shatner, who first appeared in a bit role in the little-known 1951 film, The Butler’s Night Off. It’s subject has been pounding the pavement on a promotional tour, doing interviews and making appearances to discuss this cinematic celebration of his life, which currently has a robust 86% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Recently, Shatner appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live. It was there that the late night host highlighted  how the actor mentioned in the documentary his disappointment in how he acted in Captain Kirk’s final moments, as he saddened fans around the world when he died in Generations as a result of fighting against the evil Dr. Soran to prevent the destruction of the planet Veridian III. Pinned beneath a pile of rubble, with a generous schmear of blood running down his chin, he gazed fearfully into the distance, presumably seeing what the afterlife has to offer, exclaiming, “Oh my,” before taking his final breath.

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When pressed, Shatner explained why he is so dissatisfied with how he portrayed the final moments of the character who made him truly famous:

“As an earnest artist, the take is on me. Captain Kirk is dying. So how does a person die? How do you die? How do you know when you’re dying? How do you know how you’re going to die? I think you die the way you live. So Captain Kirk always had these grotesque things happening, ‘Oh look at that. It’s an animal. I think it’s going to eat me.’ But without fear, but with joy and love and opportunity to see what’s better.”

Shatner simply believes Kirk died the wrong way:

“See, I thought I had lived the ‘Oh my.’ I thought that he would see death; old man with a sycthe on his shoulder, and look at it and wonder… So, that sounded fearful (the actual film scene) and I didn’t want to be fearful.”

As a birthday present, Kimmel offered Shatner the unique opportunity to have a “do-over” of how he played Captain Kirk’s death. Pulling out a few pieces of faux rubble and a bottle of ketchup to stand in for blood, those final key seconds of life were redone om the fly with the dying hero meeting his fate in a much braver and accepting way.


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Actually released in 2023 in order to tour film festivals, You Can Call Me Bill is just now coming to theaters courtesy of fan-owned entertainment company Legion M. Whether or not you’re a Trekkie, the film’s focus is a man approaching a century on earth, who has acted for a majority of those years and made headlines for his sense of adventure, including actually going into space at the age of 91. This makes him a compelling subject as he seeks to reveal exactly what makes him tick and how he became such a cultural icon who has now spanned multiple generations.

You Can Call Me Bill Official Trailer:





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Born on the East Coast but currently residing on the West Coast, Andrew Martin has contributed to a variety of newspapers, magazines, blogs and other mediums  but most fondly remembers his Master’s thesis exploring the impact of the Boston Red Sox on social identity in New England. He enjoys writing about history, sports, culture and investing and recently published his first book–Baseball’s Greatest Players: 10 Baseball Biographies for New Readers, a children’s book about baseball history.

The Essential Andrew


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