Where were you 20 years ago today? Perhaps you, like many other Star Trek fans, were at a movie theater to check out Star Trek Generations on opening day. The film, which premiered on November 18, 1994, marked the first big-screen adventure of the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast. It featured Star Trek: The Original Series stars William Shatner, James Doohan and Walter Koenig in supporting roles, while Whoopi Goldberg made an extended cameo appearance as Guinan and A Clockwork Orange villain Malcolm McDowell portrayed the film’s baddie, Tolian Soran. The film proved serviceable; it was neither a disaster or a hit (like, say The Wrath of Khan, The Voyage Home or First Contact), and to this day debate still rages over Kirk’s demise.
Some tidbits and factoids to consider:
-- Star Trek Generations was released with that precise title. There was no hyphen between Trek and Generations.
-- Generations opened at number one at the box office, grossing $23.1 million, and went on to bring in $75.7 million in the U.S. and another $42.4 million overseas.
-- Kirk died… and most people hated how the iconic Enterprise captain met his maker. Of course, the demise fans saw on screen was an improvement on what had initially been shot. Look for Kirk’s original death scene on the internet.
-- What movie had the distinction of being the very first to benefit from an official website designed to publicize it? That would be Generations, with the site created by Paramount Pictures.
-- David Carson directed Generations, making his feature debut. He’d previously called the shots on four TNG episodes, notably “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” and several Deep Space Nine hours, including the “Emissary” pilot.
-- Work on Generations and Star Trek: The Next Generation overlapped, a circumstance that proved grueling for all involved.
-- What’s the common denominator between Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Generations? Alan Ruck. The actor, who played Ferris’s buddy Cameron Frye in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, portrayed Captain Harriman in Generations. He later reprised the role of Harriman in the fan film Star Trek: Of Gods and Men.
-- Starlog Magazine was on the Generations set and spent the day watching Shatner, Koenig and Doohan shoot an orbital skydiving sequence that was meant to open the film. Paramount provided photos of Koenig and Doohan together, and also of Shatner in costume, to Starlog. The result was a feature about a scene audiences didn’t see until years later. The shot of Koenig and Doohan even made it into Star Trek Generations: The Official Movie Magazine, also produced by Starlog Press. Like the original Kirk death scene, footage of the orbital skydiving sequence can be found online.
-- Producer Rick Berman originally hoped to have Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley join Shatner as representatives of The Original Series, but Nimoy and Kelley passed.
-- Tim Russ had a small role in Generations, following guest shots on both TNG and DS9. A year later, he landed the role of Tuvok on Star Trek: Voyager.
What do YOU remember most about Star Trek Generations?