15 Star Trek Deaths That Didn't Last

You can't keep a good character down so why make killing them off the end of the road?

Star Trek Generations Kirk Death William Shatner
Paramount Pictures

With its rich collection of characters, Star Trek has given every sci-fi fan someone to back at some point during its lifetime. Whether it's an unconditional admiration for Spock's logic or love-to-hate with the deliciously wicked Kai Winn, there's always a reason to tune in and see them evolve.

Yet there have been times when even the most beloved character seems to be at the end of the road. It might be a sudden rug-pull moment, it could be something that the writers have been leading to for a while but, for some, there's a certain point of finality.

The changing landscape of serialised TV has a lot to give when it comes to killing off its characters yet Star Trek has never had to worry about the grave being the last point in the story. Indeed it has relished the point where no one has gone before and run with it on more than one (or two) occasions.

In the land of science-fiction TV anything goes and it could be said that in some cases anything comes back. Death not only acts as a juicy bit of suspense and action but also just part of the day job as we will see from this list of the franchise's best and bizarre resurrections to date. This applies to specific individual characters so Cause and Effect, for instance, is not counted!

15. James Kirk - Star Trek: Into Darkness

Star Trek Generations Kirk Death William Shatner

If there's one of these resurrections that threw fandom into a maelstrom it was Kirk's demise in Star Trek Into Darkness.

Not content with reviving Khan for the Kelvin Timeline, the writers decided to switch the monumental sacrifice from probably what is THE quintessential Star Trek movie and slide it into Abrams' return to the franchise. This time it would be Kirk saving the Enterprise from destruction at the cost of his own life rather than Spock, kicking the main reactor back into life.

This offered the chance to have hands separated by protective glass, Spock screaming for Khan and mirror key pieces of what many fans hold as the best of the classic crew movies but somehow manage to not quite hit the mark at any point. Kirk's death is a major blow to the crew but for the audience the very nature of the movie screamed "resurrection".

They didn't even keep Kirk dead to be brought back in a third movie, electing instead to have Spock chase Khan down across San Francisco to get a larger sample of his superblood. It had already revived a Tribble and lo and behold it was capable of bringing back James T. Luckily he had a year to recover before the Enterprise was recommissioned and stepped out on her first five year mission.


A Star Trek fan from birth, I love to dive into every aspect of the franchise in front and behind the screen. There's something here that's kept me interested for the best part of four decades! Now I'm getting back into writing and using Star Trek as my first line of literary attack. If I'm not here on WhatCulture then you're more than welcome to come and take a look at my blog, Some Kind of Star Trek at http://SKoST.co.uk or maybe follow me on Twitter as @TheWarpCore. Sometimes I force myself not to talk about Star Trek.