Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
Alternate reality
(split 2233)

For the prime reality counterpart, please see Alexander Marcus.
"If you've got something to say… say it. Tomorrow's too late."
– Alexander Marcus, 2259 (Star Trek Into Darkness)

Fleet Admiral Alexander Marcus was the head of Starfleet in the mid-23rd century, and a member of Section 31. He began a conspiracy to start a war with the Klingons using the 20th century genetically-enhanced Human criminal Khan. He was the father of Carol Marcus.

Early life[]

Alexander Marcus was the head of Starfleet. At some point, Marcus had a daughter named Carol with a woman who had the maiden name Wallace. He was also the mentor of Christopher Pike and inspired him to join Starfleet. Having been raised by him, Carol believed (ultimately incorrectly) that her father was incapable of killing innocents. (Star Trek Into Darkness)

Starfleet career[]

Revival of Khan[]

Khan in cryo tube

Khan aka John Harrison in cryogenic sleep

Following the destruction of Vulcan in 2258, (Star Trek) Marcus began seeking ways to militarize and better defend the Federation. In particular, he considered war with the Klingon Empire as inevitable. Section 31 discovered the SS Botany Bay, which led to Marcus reviving Khan Noonien Singh and recruiting him under the name "John Harrison" to design weapons and ships.

However, Khan resented Marcus' control over him and the use of his fellow surviving Augments as hostages, and attempted to smuggle them out in the experimental photon torpedoes he created. Unfortunately for him, Khan was discovered, forcing him to flee alone, and he began a one-man war on the Federation as he presumed that Marcus had killed his crew.

Kirk's demotion[]

In 2259, when Captain James T. Kirk violated the Prime Directive while on Nibiru, the matter was brought to Marcus' attention who, as punishment, confiscated the USS Enterprise from him and sent him back to Starfleet Academy. However, Pike convinced Marcus to alter the punishment for his protégé. As such, Kirk was instead demoted to Pike's first officer.


Alexander Marcus at briefing

Admiral Marcus briefs Starfleet's finest on Harrison's attack

On stardate 2259.55, Khan coerced Section 31 agent Thomas Harewood into bombing the Kelvin Memorial Archive in London. Marcus received a transmission from Harewood before he died explaining Harrison had threatened him, and the admiral declared a manhunt at a summit in Starfleet Headquarters. Aware that protocol dictated a summit like this one, Khan appeared in an attack vehicle and opened fire. However, Khan was forced to flee and Marcus survived, though Pike was killed.

The following morning, Kirk reported that Harrison had used the confiscated transwarp beaming formula to escape to Qo'noS. Marcus ordered Kirk to pinpoint and execute Khan with the seventy-two experimental photon torpedoes he had designed.

Marcus commands the Vengeance

Marcus on the bridge of the Vengeance

Once Kirk discovered the truth from Khan, Marcus showed up in the USS Vengeance (a warship designed by Khan) with the intent to retrieve Khan and destroy the Enterprise and its crew to cover up his crimes. Refusing Marcus’s orders to hand Khan over, Kirk attempted to flee to Earth in the hopes of putting Khan on trial and exposing Marcus's treachery. However, the Vengeance caught up and crippled the Enterprise in warp space. Marcus's daughter Carol revealed herself to him on the Enterprise in a bid to get him to spare the ship and her crew, but the admiral simply had her beamed aboard the Vengeance and proceeded to order his crew to destroy the Enterprise. Fortunately, Montgomery Scott had smuggled himself aboard the Vengeance at coordinates given by Khan and deactivated its weaponry. Khan and Kirk donned thruster suits and flew over to the ship to commandeer the bridge, during which Khan saved Kirk's life when the display compass in Kirk's helmet went dead, leaving Kirk flying blind. Khan found Kirk amid the debris and guided him in.

Alexander Marcus dies

Marcus is crushed by Khan

After taking over the bridge, and believing that Khan intended to betray them, Kirk ordered Scott to stun Khan. Kirk then confronted Marcus over his betrayal of everything the Federation stood for, but Marcus furiously insisted that his actions were justified, and that without him, the Federation would be destroyed in what he considered to be an inevitable war with the Klingons, a war that he, ironically, was trying to start in the first place. Suddenly, having only pretended to have been stunned, Khan assaulted Scott, Kirk, and Carol. Marcus briefly escaped to a console near the back of the bridge, but before he could achieve anything, Khan caught up with the admiral and began crushing his skull with his bare hands, furiously telling Marcus that he should have let him sleep before killing him, prompting Carol to scream in horror. (Star Trek Into Darkness)


Immediately after killing him, Khan took control of Marcus's ship and held Kirk, Scott, and Carol hostage, demanding that Spock surrender his crew or face destruction. Spock complied, allowing Khan to transport the seventy-two torpedoes to the Vengeance and transport Kirk, Scott, and Carol back onto the Enterprise. Having anticipated Khan's immediate betrayal, Spock had ordered Doctor Leonard McCoy to remove the cryo tubes from the torpedoes and with the Enterprise under attack, had them armed within the cargo bay of the Vengeance. The detonation crippled the ship and led Khan to believe that his crew were killed.

The battle caused both starships to fall down towards Earth. The Enterprise avoided crashing, but Khan directed the Vengeance into downtown San Francisco in an attempt to destroy Starfleet Headquarters in a final act of spite. He attempted to escape, but was apprehended by Spock and Nyota Uhura. Khan's blood was used to revive Kirk, who had suffered fatal radiation poisoning from saving the Enterprise, and he was placed back in stasis with the rest of his crew.

Nearly a year later, Kirk spoke at a memorial for the lives lost as a result of Admiral Marcus and Khan's actions. In his speech, Kirk reminded the attendees that Starfleet's true mission was not to militarize the Federation, but to explore the galaxy. As the rechristened Enterprise began to embark on the first five-year mission, Kirk expressed gratitude of Carol being part of the "family", to which she stated that it was nice to have a family. (Star Trek Into Darkness)

By 2263, Marcus's conspiracy ultimately dissolved since, as Montgomery Scott once stated, Starfleet was not a military organization. (Star Trek Beyond)

Memorable quotes[]

"By now, some of you have heard what happened in London. The target was a Starfleet Data Archive, now it's a damn hole in the ground, forty-two men and women are dead. One hour ago, I received a message from a Starfleet officer who confessed to carrying out this attack, that he was being forced to do it by this man: Commander John Harrison. He's one of our own, and he's the man responsible for this act of savagery. For reasons unknown, John Harrison has just declared a one-man war against Starfleet, and under no circumstances are we to allow this man to escape Federation space. You here tonight represent the senior command of all the vessels in the region, and in the name of those we lost, you will run this bastard down. This is a manhunt, pure and simple, so let's get to work."

- Alexander Marcus, explaining the London bombing.

"Earth's perimeter sensors have not detected any warp signatures leaving the system, so we know he can't be far. You will park your ships in a blockade formation then deploy search vehicles and landing parties to run down every lead. This man has shown willingness to kill innocent people, so the rules of engagement are simple. If you come across this man and fear for your life or the lives of those nearby, you are authorized to use deadly force on sight."

- Alexander Marcus, explaining the hunt for John Harrison

"You got something to say Kirk, say it. Tomorrow's too late."

- Alexander Marcus, to James Kirk about his outburst

"All-out war with the Klingons is inevitable, Mr. Kirk. If you ask me, it's already begun. Since we learned of their existence, the Klingon Empire has conquered and occupied two planets that we know of, fired on our ships half a dozen times. They are coming our way."

- Alexander Marcus, to James Kirk, about the tensions between the Federation and the Klingons

"Well, shit! You talked to him."

- Alexander Marcus, upon realizing that James Kirk knows John Harrison's true identity

"That's a hell of an apology. But if it's any consolation, I was never gonna spare your crew. Fire when…"

- Alexander Marcus, after James Kirk offers himself in return for the Enterprise's safety

"You better stop and think about what you're doing, Kirk. You better think about what you did on Qo'noS. You made an incursion onto an enemy planet! You killed a Klingon patrol. Even if you got away without a trace, war is coming. And who's gonna lead us?! YOU?! If I'm not in charge, our entire way of life is decimated! So, if you want me off this ship, you better kill me."

- Alexander Marcus, to James Kirk, with the latter trying to arrest him at gunpoint


Background information[]

Admiral Marcus was played by Peter Weller, who also played John Frederick Paxton in Star Trek: Enterprise. The character was described by producers Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk as being their attempt to incorporate a trope of Hong Kong cinema into the film, in which the hero (Kirk) and villain (Khan) must temporarily set aside their differences. [1]

Weller compared Marcus to General Curtis LeMay, the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force in the 1960s, and a proponent of nuclear war. LeMay "had eighteen nukes stored on his own that he didn't tell the NSC or President Kennedy about – because he didn't deem them knowledgeable enough about war. That is unbelievable arrogance! So, Admiral Marcus is basically like LeMay." [2] However, he opined that Marcus actually has a conscience because he wants to undo his mistake, but what "makes him bad, from a moralistic view, is that he's willing to sacrifice Kirk and the Enterprise to put this thing back in its shell." [3](X)

Weller also disliked that people thought of Marcus as a "bad guy", stating, "Everything he says is true: the Klingons are coming, they do need Khan, and that's that. It's just that he’s going to sacrifice the entire Enterprise to get the job done, because the Enterprise started to believe Khan. But if the Enterprise had not believed Khan and had done what Marcus said, then there'd be no movie, and everything would be cool. But the great writing in this is that the Enterprise wakes the dude up and listens to his game, and then everything goes to crap. But that's the Enterprise's hubris. That's them. They screwed up, not Marcus. Anyway, sorry to go off there. I just hate that." [4]

Weller added he liked the character's name because it reminded him of Alexander the Great and Marcus Antonius. [5] The Washington Examiner found parallels between Marcus and Dick Cheney, to which Simon Pegg responded "Absolutely, he's definitely a Republican." [6]


The IDW comic series Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness, set in the alternate reality, reveals that Marcus was the first officer of a previous starship Enterprise (β) which existed subsequent to Enterprise NX-01, but prior to the new USS Enterprise and was a friend to Captain Robert April (β).

In addition, "Scotty" indicated that, as a commander, Marcus served on the admissions board of Starfleet Academy.

Plus, Star Trek: Khan, in issues 4 and 5, shows how Marcus found Khan and how he used Khan, forcing him to initiate his one-man war against Starfleet.

The 2013 virtual collectible card battle game Star Trek: Rivals uses pictures of Marcus for card #81 "Admiral A. Marcus" and card #106 "Rogue Admiral A. Marcus".

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