Malcolm McDowell didn’t like the way Captain Kirk was killed off and neither did some fans, some of whom expressed their displeasure towards McDowell himself.
Even though plenty of people didn’t like the death of Kirk as it was originally filmed, including both William Shatner and Patrick Stewart, the studio didn’t act on those complaints until a test screening revealed deep dissatisfaction from the audience.
“I don’t care whose fault it was,” said McDowell. “Whoever came up with his death at the end, I thought it was really cheesy. I just think the man, whether you like him or not, should have been given a blazing death. And I, course, would have been happy to have supplied that. Look, I just think it was a missed opportunity for this great, iconic figure that everybody loved or everybody loathed. He was one of those great figures that caused dissention and debate and arguments.”
McDowell knew that some fans would not be happy with the death of Kirk. “…as far as I’m concerned fifty percent of the people are going to love me for it and fifty percent of the people are going to hate me,” he told Shatner, who was gathering material for a book.
Indeed, some fans took their dislike a bit too far and McDowell received death threats. “It was the infancy of the Internet,” he said, “so it was easy to make a hollow threat. No one could check it, really. But, yes, that’s what happened.”
McDowell’s most recent project, Franklin & Bash, in which he plays Stanton Infeld, head of a law firm, premiered on TNT last night.