Star Trek has, in its long history, given us many moments that have truly shocked and awed us, so this may not be the only list of its kind that you see here. Whether it's ships arriving out of nowhere, or characters brutally exiting without warning, here are the times the franchise left us in little doubt that they knew how to take our breath away.
Not every entry on this list relates to death though, as not every surprise is a bad one. Rescuers appear in the nick of time in this franchise, all the better for the heroes, and often all the worse for the villains.
Some of these entries may even seem like they are hardly shocking anymore, having been well covered. Consider though the impact that they had on their first appearance, the heartrates rising considerably and the agonizing wait that often followed them, thanks to summer-long hiatuses. Few people who were around in the early 90s can forget the impact of a certain Shakespearean actor telling a certain bearded first officer that resistance was, in fact, futile. Read on to see what's made the list.
10. From Hell's Heart, I Stab At Thee
While the death of Khan himself may not have been the biggest shock that Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan had to offer, his actions spelled certain doom for one of the core members of the Enterprise's family. We are speaking of course about what is, arguably, the greatest tear-jerking moment in the entire franchise.
As Khan spits his final curses at Admiral Kirk, the Genesis Torpedo begins to activate. Unless the ship can get away, it, along with all of its crew, will be claimed by the matter transforming energy waves, before being wiped out of existence. With Scotty suffered acute radiation sickness, things are looking especially dire.
Spock's sacrifice frequently tops the polls of the saddest moments in all of Star Trek. There had been a leak in advance of the film that Leonard Nimoy would receive a death scene in the film, though director Nicholas Meyer tormented the audiences by including the Kobayashi Maru test at the film's beginning. Therefore, when the Vulcan entered that chamber, the audience was howling along with Scotty and McCoy, knowing full-well that there was only one possible outcome - even if it would be undone in the following film.
Spock's death, even when one knows its coming, still shocks and saddens to this day.