Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
Multiple realities
(covers information from several alternate timelines)

For the alternate reality counterpart, please see James T. Kirk (alternate reality).
For the mirror universe counterpart, please see James T. Kirk (mirror).
For additional meanings of "Kirk", please see Kirk.
"Don't let them promote you, don't let them transfer you, don't let them do anything that takes you off the bridge of that ship. Because while you're there, you can make a difference."
– James T. Kirk to Jean-Luc Picard, 2371 (Star Trek Generations)

James Tiberius "Jim" Kirk was a male Human Starfleet officer who lived during the 23rd century. His time in Starfleet made Kirk arguably one of the most famous and sometimes infamous starship captains in Starfleet history. The highly decorated Kirk served as the commanding officer of the Constitution-class starship USS Enterprise and the Constitution II-class starship USS Enterprise-A, where he served Federation interests as an explorer, soldier, diplomat, and time traveler. (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before", "Court Martial", "Errand of Mercy"; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek Generations; DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations"; VOY: "Q2", "Friendship One", et al.)

Early history


Sarah April and de-aged Enterprise senior staff

Kirk (lower right) appearing as he did as a toddler

James Tiberius Kirk was born on March 22nd, 2233 in Riverside, Iowa on Earth. (TOS: "The Deadly Years"; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II" production resource; SNW: "Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow") He was the son of George and Winona Kirk; their other son, his brother, was George Samuel. (Star Trek; TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", "Operation -- Annihilate!")

His parents named him after his maternal grandfather, James, and his paternal grandfather, Tiberius. (TAS: "Bem"; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Star Trek) Furthermore, Kirk was a descendant of late 19th century American frontier pioneers. (TOS: "Spectre of the Gun") Kirk embraced the culture and history of his homeland, especially western lore and the life of his hero Abraham Lincoln, and later even recognized the document mirrored on the planet Omega IV, he could recite the preamble of the United States Constitution from memory. (TOS: "Spectre of the Gun", "The Savage Curtain", "The Omega Glory")


Kirk, along with Winona and Sam, spent the majority of Kirk's childhood chasing George Kirk, Sr. from one posting to another, to the point that Kirk barely saw the man. When Kirk asked Winona why they never saw George Sr., she told James that "he's helping people who really need it." (SNW: "Lost in Translation")

Kirk sang around a campfire sometimes was when he was a boy in Iowa, something he would later recall not having done since that time, as of 2287. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

At some point early in his life, Kirk contracted and nearly died from Vegan choriomeningitis. Although he was cured, the organisms of the disease continued to be carried in his blood. (TOS: "The Mark of Gideon")

Kodos the Executioner

Governor Kodos in 2246

By 2246, he was living on Tarsus IV, as his father George moved there. During his time on Tarsus IV, the planet was undergoing a food crisis that was starving the colony, which consisted of eight thousand people. Governor Kodos, sympathetic to old eugenics philosophies and unaware that supply ships were imminent, tried to save a portion of the colony by killing four thousand colonists he deemed least desirable or able to survive. The thirteen-year-old Jim Kirk was one of only nine eyewitnesses to the massacre. (TOS: "The Conscience of the King"; SNW: "A Quality of Mercy")

In the first draft story outline of "The Conscience of the King", Kirk was instead to have witnessed his father being murdered by Kodos and an army of marauders led by him. Even in the episode's final revised draft script, Kirk was established as having had more of a connection to those he saw being killed than in the final version of the episode, as they were said to have included friends of his, though no family. Also in ultimately omitted dialogue from the final revised draft script, the incident was said to have taken place when Kirk was a young, inexperienced midshipman, fresh out of the Academy. The notion of Kirk being a midshipman with no family on Tarsus IV at the time of the massacre was also included in a deleted scene from "The Conscience of the King". ("Swept Up: Snippets from the Cutting Room Floor", Star Trek: The Original Series - The Roddenberry Vault special features) As for Kirk having survived the incident, the aforementioned script had him say, "I was one of those Kodos spared! He ordered me left alive! I was one of the fittest!"

Starfleet career

Academy years

"The Federation has invested a great deal of money in our training. They're about due for a small return."
– James T. Kirk, 2267 ("Errand of Mercy")

In 2252, Kirk entered Starfleet Academy, with help of Mallory, whose son later served under Kirk. (TOS: "Shore Leave", "The Apple") He also often spoke of his father as being his inspiration for joining Starfleet. (Star Trek)


Finnegan as he appeared in 2252

As a plebe, Kirk soon caught the attention of a boisterous and bullying Irishman named Finnegan. The upperclassman evidently hazed "Jimmy-boy" mercilessly throughout their shared time at the Academy. Fifteen years later, the Shore Leave Planet sensed Kirk's antipathy for Finnegan and produced a simulacrum that Kirk could pummel for satisfaction. (TOS: "Shore Leave")

As a cadet, Kirk participated in a successful peace mission to Axanar, for which Starfleet Command awarded him with the Palm Leaf of Axanar Peace Mission. (TOS: "Court Martial", "Whom Gods Destroy")

When he was a midshipman, Kirk began a friendship with his instructor, Lieutenant Benjamin Finney. Their relationship was so important to the two men that Finney named his daughter, Jame, after Kirk. (TOS: "Court Martial")

Kirk's physical training included tests he had to pass for working in an oxygen-deficient atmosphere, as well as hand-to-hand combat. (TOS: "Tomorrow is Yesterday"; TAS: "The Pirates of Orion") He was also trained in hyper-power circuits. (TOS: "Dagger of the Mind")

His academic studies introduced him to several men that he encountered later in his career. Among them was John Gill, a noted history professor and cultural observer. (TOS: "Patterns of Force") Kirk studied the exploits of Garth of Izar, a famous captain who joined Kirk's pantheon of heroes. (TOS: "Whom Gods Destroy") The "Pasteur of archaeological medicine", Dr. Roger Korby, became a man Kirk wanted to meet. (TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?") Kirk also studied the military strategies of Klingon General Korrd. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) He also attended lectures at the Academy on the Nomad space probe. (TOS: "The Changeling")

During his time in the Command Training Program, Kirk confronted the Kobayashi Maru scenario. He refused to accept his first two defeats. Before making a third attempt, he secretly reprogrammed the simulation computer, consequently becoming the only cadet in Academy history to beat the "no-win" scenario and earning a commendation for original thinking. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

In a line from the script of The Wrath of Khan but not in the theatrical or director's cut of the film, Kirk mentioned that what he had done nearly got him tossed out of the Academy. [1] In Star Trek, the alternate James T. Kirk faced this situation after he defeated the scenario.

Kirk's graduating class was represented with such future officers as Corrigan, Mike, Teller, and Timothy. (TOS: "Court Martial") One of his former classmates, R.M. Merik, was dropped in his fifth year for failing the psychosimulator test. (TOS: "Bread and Circuses")

Early postings and assignments

James T

The personnel file for James T. Kirk, 2259

Kirk was commissioned as a Starfleet officer with the rank of ensign and the serial number SC937-0176CEC. (TOS: "Court Martial")

Kirk's graduation and "first star cruise" were mentioned in passing in an ultimately unused line of dialogue from the final draft script of "Shore Leave". In the scripted line, a robotic facsimile of his former lover Ruth reminded Kirk that, following these events, he had thought he'd lost her. Given that the last encounter between Kirk and Ruth was said to have taken place fifteen years prior, the scripted line would have placed Kirk's graduation and initial "star cruise" in 2252 or thereabouts.

Among his early missions was the Vulcanian expedition, along with former classmate Timothy. (TOS: "Court Martial") He had also, at one point, visited Alpha Majoris I, where he had personally witnessed the native mellitus. (TOS: "Wolf in the Fold")

Also early in Kirk's career, he became quite familiar with the work of Doctor Tristan Adams. He even had the opportunity to visit penal colonies that had been revolutionized by Adams, later describing what he saw as "clean, decent hospitals for sick minds," even describing them as "resort colonies", as opposed to "cages". (TOS: "Dagger of the Mind")

Service aboard the Republic

During the 2250s, "some years" after being a midshipman, Ensign Kirk rejoined his friend and former instructor, Lieutenant Finney, aboard the USS Republic. After Finney made a mistake nearly catastrophic to the ship, Kirk logged the incident, which resulted in his friend being reprimanded and put to the bottom of the promotion list. (TOS: "Court Martial")

Academy instructor

During the same period, Kirk was promoted to Lieutenant and worked as an instructor at the Academy. It was around this time he first met Cadet Gary Mitchell, who was a student in his class where, according to an upperclassman, "you either think or sink". Mitchell later remembered Kirk as "a stack of books with legs." In an attempt to divert his friend's attention and make the class easier to get through, Mitchell set Kirk up with a "little blonde lab technician" whom Kirk almost married. (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before")

In a line of dialogue that was written into the script of "Where No Man Has Gone Before" but was not included in the episode's final edit, Gary Mitchell implied a recollection that Kirk nearly washed him out of the Academy.

Kirk's early career included a year alongside Janice Lester, during which time the two became romantically involved. The perceived lack of opportunities for a woman to command a starship struck them both as unfair, but she became embittered by the supposed career barrier. Their relationship soured to a point where Kirk felt she punished and tortured him for her circumstances. Years later, Kirk said that he never stopped her from going on with her "space work", but ultimately felt that "we'd have killed each other" if they had stayed together. Lester recalled that Kirk walked out on her "when it became serious." (TOS: "Turnabout Intruder")

They spoke of their "year together at Starfleet", which vaguely suggested "Starfleet Academy", more so that any sort of starship service together.

Service aboard the Farragut

USS Farragut

Kirk served aboard the USS Farragut in the late 2250s.

"Dad has a very old-fashioned idea of what a successful career looks like, what a fulfilling life looks like, and it just so happens it looks a lot like you."
– Sam Kirk to his brother Jimmy, 2259 ("Lost in Translation")

Upon graduating from Starfleet Academy, Kirk began his service under Captain Garrovick. His first deep space assignment was as a lieutenant aboard Garrovick's USS Farragut, as a member of the phaser gun crew, where he was assigned to a phaser station. (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver", "Obsession")

After joining the crew of the Farragut, Kirk quickly made a name for himself and "put in some legwork to beat" the record of becoming both the youngest active and all-time first officer in all of Starfleet; a record previously held by his father. (SNW: "Lost in Translation")

Mission to Neural

Neural landscape

Lt. Kirk visited Neural in 2255 on his first planetary survey.

In 2255, the young lieutenant visited Neural on his first planetary survey mission. He befriended one of the planet's natives, the Hill man Tyree. Kirk's report described a primitive but promising culture, and Starfleet endorsed him recommending a policy of non-interference. (TOS: "A Private Little War")

First encounter with the cloud creature

In 2257, the Farragut engaged the dikironium cloud creature at Tycho IV. The creature killed Garrovick and two hundred of the ship's crew. Farragut's record tapes of the event included Kirk insisting upon blaming himself for the disaster, citing his delay in firing the ship's phaser banks at the creature as he lost consciousness. The ship's executive officer disagreed, stating, "Lieutenant Kirk is a fine young officer who performed with uncommon bravery." (TOS: "Obsession")

Pike's interest

In 2259, Captain Christopher Pike took an interest in Kirk and looked up his file after witnessing Kirk in action as the captain of the Farragut in an alternate timeline, recognizing that Kirk had the potential to make a good captain for the USS Enterprise and sensing that Kirk was meant to be in command during the coming Neutral Zone Incursion in 2266. (SNW: "A Quality of Mercy")

Contact by La'an Noonien-Singh

James T

Lieutenant Kirk, 2259

Later that year, Lieutenant Kirk was contacted by La'an Noonien-Singh, on the pretense of confirming his brother's place of birth, after her adventures with another alternate timeline version of Kirk. He later invited her for drinks if they were ever to meet at starbase. (SNW: "Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow")

First officer Kirk

Pike and Kirk meet

Lt. Kirk meeting Fleet Captain Christopher Pike

Shortly after, Kirk was promoted to first officer of the Farragut, breaking his father's record as the youngest first officer in Starfleet history. However, Kirk had a few months before he would actually assume the post as Kirk needed to train his replacement for his current duties first. (SNW: "Lost in Translation")

During this time, under Fleet Captain Pike, the Enterprise and the Farragut were assigned to bring a deuterium mining station online. During the mission, clashed with his brother Sam, the ship's xenoanthropologist, several times over his promotion.

Kirk helped Nyota Uhura to figure out the signals that she was receiving from aliens in the Bannon's Nebula. During his time with Uhura, he suffered a broken nose inflicted by her during one of her hallucinations, initially believed to be associated with lack of sleep and deuterium poisoning. He admitted to her that he had previously gone days without sleep and experienced a case of deuterium poisoning himself, but that he had never punched a superior officer before.

Nonetheless, Kirk continued to believe in Uhura, and helped her find the true cause of the hallucinations. With help of his brother Sam, they focused on the possibility that she was being contacted by an extradimensional lifeform that was located in the nebula. After figuring out what the lifeform was trying to communicate, Pike had the Enterprise destroy the mining station. Following the mission, Kirk attended a celebration on the Enterprise where he met his future first officer and best friend Spock for the first time. (SNW: "Lost in Translation")

Kirk and Una

Lt. Kirk spent some time on the Enterprise shadowing Lt. Cmdr. Chin-Riley prior to him assuming his position as first officer about the Farragut

Kirk later returned to the Enterprise on a short-term posting; his commanding officer felt Kirk would benefit from shadowing Enterprise's first officer, Una Chin-Riley before he assumed the same position on the Farragut. During this time, La'an revealed her history with his alternate self, but Kirk revealed to her he was in a relationship with Carol Marcus who was pregnant with their son. (SNW: "Subspace Rhapsody")

Commanding the USS Enterprise

"The antidote to a woman of Elas, Doctor, is a starship. The Enterprise infected the captain long before the Dohlman did"
"Well, I doubt seriously if there's any kind of an antidote for the Enterprise."
USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), remastered

The USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)

By 2265, at the age of thirty-two, Kirk assumed command of the Constitution-class USS Enterprise from Fleet Captain Pike. (TOS: "The Menagerie, Part I") Kirk's father lived long enough to see his son earn his first captaincy. (Star Trek)

Along with the Enterprise, Kirk also acquired a number of Pike's old crewmates as well as science officer Spock, as his first officer. For his first command, he also requested to have Lieutenant Commander Gary Mitchell along with him. (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before") Also under his command was his former instructor, Ben Finney. (TOS: "Court Martial")

According to The Making of Star Trek [page number?edit] stated that "Kirk rose rapidly through the ranks and received his first command (the equivalent of a destroyer-class space ship) while still quite young." However, it has never been indicated onscreen or otherwise that Kirk had any command prior to the Enterprise herself.

Kirk was initially quartered on Deck 12 in 2266, before moving to Deck 5, room "3F 121". (TOS: "Mudd's Women", "Journey to Babel")

Mariner+Boimler, Kirk+Spock

Kirk and Spock graffiti

At some point during the 2260s, Kirk and "his pointy-eared pal" attempted to "crash" the Command Conference afterparty on Starbase 25, but struck out and settled to end the night in a nearby dive bar. Over a century later, two other Starfleet officers – Beckett Mariner and Brad Boimler – also struck out, before ending up in the same bar.

In recollecting the incident, the alien bartender, who coincidentally was the same who served Kirk and Spock years before, added to her story that "[t]he blonde one did most of the drinking." Before they left, "Kirk + Spock" was left behind, scrawled into the bar's countertop. Likewise, before Mariner and Boimler left, they too scrawled their names alongside those of their heroes. (LD: "An Embarrassment Of Dooplers")

Year One

USS Enterprise leaving galactic barrier, remastered

USS Enterprise in 2265

For five years, Kirk commanded the Enterprise, which made him a legend in space exploration. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture; VOY: "Q2") In addition to his primary mission statement – "to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life, and new civilizations" – Kirk received standing orders to investigate all quasars and quasar-like phenomena. (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver", "The Galileo Seven", "Return to Tomorrow")

On more than one occasion, Kirk and Mitchell took part in missions together, including one on Dimorus, where they encountered rodent-like creatures that shot poisonous darts. Mitchell took one of the darts meant for Kirk, saving Kirk's life but nearly dying himself. The two later visited Deneb IV where, in at least three cases, Mitchell was capable of carrying long telepathic conversations with the natives, scoring 80% or higher on comprehension. One night, a telepathic conversation with a female native had a deleterious effect on Mitchell. Kirk later stated that he'd been worried about Mitchell ever since that night. As a pun, Mitchell referred to the girl as a nova. (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before")

Kirk and Spock in briefing lounge playing chess

Kirk faces the unknown

Following a stopover at the Aldebaron colony, the Enterprise attempted to determine the whereabouts of the missing SS Valiant. After discovering the Valiant's disaster recorder which described a catastrophic disaster following that early vessel's visit to the galaxy's edge, Kirk pushed on and encountered the galactic barrier for his first time. The Enterprise failed to breach the barrier and barely escaped destruction. With its warp engines badly damaged, the Enterprise limped under impulse power towards the Delta Vega lithium cracking station.

The barrier triggered a transformation in Mitchell who began developing psychic powers that progressed rapidly, with a commensurate loss of his Humanity. Ignoring Spock advising him to destroy Mitchell immediately, Kirk hesitated until after Mitchell killed navigator Lee Kelso. On the surface of Delta Vega, he hunted Mitchell and managed to kill him only with the help of another officer undergoing the same transformation as Mitchell, Dr. Elizabeth Dehner. (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before")

Following the tragedy, Kirk shuffled the Enterprise's command crew. Lieutenant Commander Spock remained science officer and Kirk acknowledged him as first officer. A new chief medical officer, Dr. Leonard McCoy, replaced Dr. Mark Piper. Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott remained chief engineer. Lieutenant Nyota Uhura became communications officer and Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu was transferred from astrosciences to the helm. Kirk did not settle on a regular navigator for another two years. (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver", "Catspaw", "Amok Time", "Who Mourns for Adonais?")

Year Two

On stardate 1512.2, Kirk made first contact with the First Federation, when the Enterprise was detained by Captain Balok and a massive spaceship under Balok's command, the Fesarius. Both captains bluffed ferociously, but Kirk's poker face held. Balok proved to be quite friendly, eager to begin a cultural exchange. (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver")

James Kirk's evil counterpart

The darker half of Kirk rages in frustration, 2266

Kirk learned something about his own nature after a transporter malfunction in 2266. Kirk was split into two physical duplicates, one intuitive and passive, the other violent and passionate. While separated, the survival of both personalities were threatened, and a way was eventually found to recombine the two.

After his personality was split due to a transporter accident in 2266, Kirk was forcibly introduced to the competing elements in his personality, described most roughly as passive and aggressive. (TOS: "The Enemy Within")

In ultimately unused dialogue from the final draft and the revised final draft of the script for "The Enemy Within", Kirk admitted that, at the outcome of this experience, he felt "just the opposite" of "sadder but wiser."

McCoy administering antidote to Kirk

McCoy curing Kirk of polywater intoxication

Succumbing to the effects of polywater intoxication in 2266, Kirk contemplated aloud the heavy responsibility of command, and the price the Enterprise exacted from his personal life: "this vessel... I give, she takes... She won't permit me my life; I've got to live hers." Ultimately, he gathered himself, speaking directly to the Enterprise, "Never lose you... never." (TOS: "The Naked Time")

On stardate 1533.6, Kirk and his crew made a brief first contact with the Thasians, an uncanny group of aliens. While interacting with Charlie Evans, a temporary visitor to the Enterprise, Kirk demonstrated prowess with judo, and deep-rooted compassion when Charlie's "teachers" wanted to return him to an isolated existence. (TOS: "Charlie X")

Romulan commander, 2266

The Romulan commander

Kirk repelled the first Romulan incursion into Federation space in over a century, on stardate 1709.2. A Romulan Bird-of-Prey equipped with a cloak and a powerful plasma torpedo system destroyed four Earth Outpost Stations along the Romulan Neutral Zone. Kirk engaged and pursued the Romulan ship in a drawn-out cat-and-mouse chase against a Romulan commander in whom Kirk found an instinctual rapport. Both captains used ruses that simulated more damage than actually received. Kirk was able to briefly track the Romulan, by mirroring its movements to simulate a sensor ghost. Finally, emerging from the camouflage of a comet's tail, Kirk was able to disable the Romulan vessel. Before ordering his vessel's self-destruction, the Romulan captain remarked that under different circumstances he and Kirk might have been allies. (TOS: "Balance of Terror")

James T

Kirk encountering Miri

The Enterprise reached Exo III on stardate 2712.4, where Dr. Roger Korby was found after years of silence, exploring and exploiting a sophisticated android manufacturing technology – the legacy of a long-dead civilization. Korby had replaced his own damaged body, transplanting his personality into an android replica, and built himself a beautiful companion, Andrea. Against Kirk's wishes, an android duplicate of Kirk was created too. However, the android Korby, after exhibiting madness, destroyed himself. (TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?")

At the end of the episode, it is implied that Kirk decided not to log this incident, for he tells Spock, "Dr. Korby...was never here."

Adams subjects Kirk to the chair

Kirk is tortured in 2266

At the Tantalus Penal Colony in 2266, Doctor Tristan Adams used his neural neutralizer device as an instrument torture on Kirk. The device emptied a victims mind of thought, leaving it vulnerable to suggestion. Adams included conditioning that made him feel love for Dr. Helen Noel, including deep pain at the idea of her loss. Kirk was able to resist long-term damage from the device. (TOS: "Dagger of the Mind")

In a cut line from the final draft script of "Dagger of the Mind", Kirk mentioned he was proud to be Human and that the penal colonies that Tristan Adams had inspired made him feel that way. However, he ultimately concluded (in another ultimately omitted line from the same script), "Doctor Adams and I agreed on one thing. Vengeance is wrong. I'm sorry for him."

On stardate 2817.6, Kirk responded to a call from Dr. Thomas Leighton, a fellow survivor and witness to the horror of Tarsus IV. Leighton suspected the leader of a traveling theater troupe, actor Anton Karidian, of being Kodos "the Executioner," a man long thought dead. After Leighton was murdered and other witnesses's deaths were revealed, Kirk convinced Anton Karidian's daughter, Lenore, to bring the acting troupe aboard the Enterprise. Attempted murders of Kirk and Enterprise crewmember Kevin Riley (another survivor) led Kirk to confront Karidian (who was indeed Kodos), discovering the recent killings were the acts of his mad daughter, trying to protect her tormented aging father. (TOS: "The Conscience of the King")

Year Three

Starbase 11 courtroom

Kirk's court martial proceedings

Kirk became the first Federation starship captain to ever face a court martial, after he was accused of causing the death of Lt. Commander Benjamin Finney, the Enterprise records officer. Kirk employed Defense Attorney Samuel T. Cogley, and Kirk's former flame Areel Shaw acted as prosecutor at his trial, which was held on Starbase 11, convened by Commodore Stone. Kirk was exonerated after Finney was discovered alive, having faked his death and the evidence implicating Kirk. (TOS: "Court Martial")

In ultimately unused dialogue from the final draft script of "Court Martial", Kirk was referred to as having been on one particular mission, in command of the Enterprise, for the past nineteen months, prior to that episode. In another unused line of dialogue from later in the same script, Cogley said of Kirk (during his trial), "Captain Kirk is a strong man, a good man, an heroic man, who has served us all long, and well." Shortly thereafter, more excised dialogue involved Kirk himself commenting, "Like you,... I'm trained to one thing. My life has been, one thing. Command. It's what I know. It's what I do. And it's a way of life that doesn't sharpen a man's verbal skills... only his sense of duty... and confidence in himself to discharge that duty."

When Spock kidnapped his former commander, Fleet Captain Christopher Pike, who had been horribly crippled, and commandeered the Enterprise in 2267, he inadvertently jeopardized Kirk's command. After Spock locked the ship on course to Talos IV, Kirk was a member of a tribunal that tried Spock, the other members being Pike himself, and an illusion of Commodore Mendez. Spock's crimes were in violation of General Order 7 and were punishable by death. Once it was revealed that Spock's ultimate goal was to allow Pike, a Starfleet hero, to live a semblance of normality under Talosian illusion, Starfleet declined to prosecute the matter. (TOS: "The Menagerie, Part I", "The Menagerie, Part II")

When the Enterprise passed through the Omicron Delta region, Kirk hoped to arrange for his crew (and himself) to take some badly needed shore leave. While Kirk and his landing party investigated a candidate planet to determine its suitability for that purpose, they were beset with manifestations of hidden desires they had. In fact, they had discovered the Shore Leave Planet, and advanced technologies which an ancient, enigmatic species had left behind. (TOS: "Shore Leave")

On stardate 2124.5, a being calling himself "General Trelane (retired), the Squire of Gothos" waylaid the Enterprise. Though immensely powerful and troublesome, Trelane was revealed to be nothing more than a child of his species, and a badly behaved one at that. Kirk was put on trial, albeit this time in an illusory court, by Trelane. (TOS: "The Squire of Gothos")

Kirk vs

Kirk fighting the Gorn captain

Kirk made contact with the Gorn Hegemony and the Metrons on stardate 3045.6. Finding a Federation base on Cestus III destroyed and Gorn forces lying in wait, Kirk ordered the Enterprise to give chase to a Gorn starship that had been responsible for the attack, intending to destroy it. The pursuit took the two belligerents through Metron space. The Metrons, pacifistic but powerful, interrupted the engagement and declared both sides were savages.

Kirk and the Gorn captain were removed from their respective ships by the Metrons and deposited on a desolate planetoid, where the Metrons forced the two captains to fight each other, threatening to destroy the loser's vessel. Kirk was victorious, but refused to kill the Gorn. Kirk's act of mercy impressed the Metrons, who allowed both ships to go free. (TOS: "Arena")

On stardate 3192.1, the Enterprise was caught up in a "civilized" interplanetary war between Eminiar VII and Vendikar, whose engagements were fought only by computers, and marked "casualties" among the citizenry dutifully reported to death chambers. After the Enterprise was declared a target and the crew ordered to die, Kirk destroyed the Eminiar computers, forcing them to finally treat with their enemy – or face a war that would destroy their civilization. (TOS: "A Taste of Armageddon")

In the first draft script of VOY: "Flashback", Kathryn Janeway told Harry Kim of Kirk's time as a captive of the Eminians. Kim was amazed to learn that Kirk had ordered the Enterprise to destroy Eminiar VII unless he was released, Kim found it hard to believe that Kirk would be allowed to do that without Starfleet punishing him.

Khan Noonien Singh, 2267

Khan in 2267

The Enterprise discovered the SS Botany Bay, an ancient sleeper ship, on stardate 3141.9. The vessel carried a group of eighty-four genetically-engineered Augments from Earth's Eugenics Wars, kept alive in cryogenic freeze; twelve of these had died when their stasis capsules failed. Their leader, Khan Noonien Singh, seduced Enterprise historian Lieutenant Marla McGivers, revived his seventy-one surviving comrades, and attempted to steal the starship – before Kirk stopped him. Somewhat respectful of Khan's integrity and abilities, Kirk exiled Khan and his people on planet Ceti Alpha V, where the former tyrant would have a chance to "tame a world" without threatening others. (TOS: "Space Seed")

Under the euphoric, enervating influence of pod plants, the entire Enterprise crew mutinied, abandoning the ship for the planet Omicron Ceti III in 2267. Kirk was the last to fall under the influence, but his subconscious anger at the idea of leaving the ship rose to the surface, and broke the pod plant's effect. (TOS: "This Side of Paradise")

Accompanied by Spock and McCoy, Kirk discovered the first known silicon-based lifeform, a sentient Horta matriarch, on the mining colony Janus VI on stardate 3196.1. (TOS: "The Devil in the Dark")

At the start of another war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, Kirk and Spock met with the Organian Council of Elders personally and attempted to convince the Organians, who were apparently primitive, to accept Federation protection. Shortly after the planet Organia was subsequently occupied by Klingons, Kirk and Spock began conducting a guerrilla war against the Klingon occupation, but Organians abandoned their false humanoid forms and intervened, forcing an end to the interstellar war and imposing the Treaty of Organia. Organians predicted that, in time, the antagonistic powers would eventually become friends. In the end, Kor, frustrated by Organian interference that made battle against Kirk impossible, wistfully surmised, "it would have been glorious". (TOS: "Errand of Mercy")

Responding to the Deneva colony having recently gone silent, Kirk found that a hive-mind of marauding flying parasites had killed his brother, George Samuel Kirk, and that the colony's remaining population was under their influence, causing mass insanity. McCoy and Spock were able to develop a method of killing the exotic creatures. (TOS: "Operation -- Annihilate!")

By this time in 2267, Kirk had finally settled on Ensign Pavel Chekov as the Enterprise's regular navigator. (TOS: "Catspaw")

Kirk, Spock, and McCoy discovered Zefram Cochrane, the inventor of the warp drive, missing for 150 years, on a planetoid. An energy being Cochrane called "the Companion" had kept him alive and young all those years. At Cochrane's request, Kirk did not log the encounter. (TOS: "Metamorphosis")

Kirk diverted the Enterprise from an assigned ceremonial mission on Altair IV to Vulcan on stardate 3372.7, in order to save his first officer from the dangerous effects of his pon farr mating cycle. In the presence of the Vulcan matriarch, T'Pau, Kirk was forced to participate in Spock's marriage ceremony. (TOS: "Amok Time")

Kirk repairs Constellation

Making repairs in 2267

A distress call led the Enterprise to the crippled USS Constellation after an ancient machine, deemed a "planet killer", had nearly destroyed that starship. While stranded aboard the nearly crippled Constellation, he and Chief Engineer Scott worked together to recover enough power and control functions to partially restore ship's functions. After Matt Decker, a Starfleet commodore who was now mentally unbalanced, made a suicide run with a stolen shuttlecraft, Kirk piloted the Constellation inside the machine, detonating the engines and destroying the device. (TOS: "The Doomsday Machine")

On the planet Halkan, a transporter malfunction swapped the Enterprise landing party with a corresponding landing party from a parallel "mirror universe" where a savage, oppressive, Terran Empire had replaced the United Federation of Planets. A sadistic alternate version of Captain Kirk captained the ISS Enterprise, whose first officer was a ruthless, bearded Spock. (TOS: "Mirror, Mirror")

After beaming down to the planet Gamma Hydra IV, Kirk, along with Spock, Dr. McCoy, and Scott were all exposed to a rare form of radiation poisoning from a rogue comet. The radiation caused the party to age very rapidly. Kirk's accelerated dotage forced Commodore Stocker, who was visiting the Enterprise, to relieve Kirk from command of the ship until Dr. McCoy discovered a cure. Standard hyronalin therapy, alone, was ineffective. It was not until Spock, Nurse Chapel, and Dr. Janet Wallace were able to concoct a new type of treatment based on an old-style adrenaline radiation therapy that Kirk and his party could receive an antidote for the poisonous radiation, and just in time for the captain to regain his ability to command and save the Enterprise from a heavy Romulan attack into which Stocker, whom Kirk had earlier dismissed as a "chair-bound paper pusher" but who had relieved him after an extra-ordinary competency hearing, had unwisely led the ship. After Kirk was cured, he managed to maneuver the Enterprise out of the Neutral Zone and away from Romulan ships via a bluff. (TOS: "The Deadly Years")

Year Four

On stardate 4523.6, the Enterprise was dispatched to Deep Space Station K-7, Koroth, Federation bureaucrats, and myriads of cuddly but prodigious tribbles tested Kirk's patience. (TOS: "The Trouble with Tribbles"; DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations") Unknown to Kirk, Benjamin Sisko and the crew of the USS Defiant observed and facilitated his actions after a Bajoran Orb: the Orb of Time brought them from the 24th century; Sisko even got Kirk's autograph (although Kirk thought he was signing a shipping order) and told Kirk that it had been an honor to serve with him. During the same mission, Lieutenant Commander Jadzia Dax expressed her knowledge that Koloth always regretted not getting the chance to face Kirk in battle. (DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations")

Thelev stabs Kirk

An Orion spy stabbing Kirk

While the Enterprise was transporting ambassadors to the Babel Conference of 2268, an Orion agent, Thelev, disguised as an Andorian, stabbed Kirk, puncturing his left lung. (TOS: "Journey to Babel")

Kirk and Tyree

On Neural in 2268

Kirk returned to Neural, the site of his first Starfleet assignment, on stardate 4211.4. Klingons had begun supplying the primitive native villagers with firearms, leading them to war on the neighboring Hill People. Kirk decided to supply the Hill People with similar weaponry, escalating the conflict, but putting both sides on equal footing. (TOS: "A Private Little War")

Upon his second encounter with the dikironium cloud creature in 2267, Kirk re-experienced the feelings of guilt over his actions in a previous disastrous incident, aboard the USS Farragut. Exhibiting a single-minded fixation on the destruction of the creature, McCoy and Spock questioned Kirk's emotional condition. But as it proved, phasers were ineffective against the cloud creature; thus, Kirk learned that he could not have stopped it in their previous encounter, and hence that he had nothing to regret. With the help of his former captain's son, Ensign Garrovick, Kirk lured the creature to the planet Tycho IV, destroying it with an antimatter bomb. (TOS: "Obsession")

Kirk found the contaminated society of Sigma Iotia II, based on 1920s Chicago gang culture, puzzling at first, but he quickly warmed to it. Uniting the world's "gangs" under one "boss", the Iotians became a Federation protectorate. (TOS: "A Piece of the Action")

Scouts from the Kelvan Empire in the Andromeda Galaxy hijacked the Enterprise for their return voyage on stardate 4657.5. The Enterprise, modified with Kelvan technology, became the first Federation starship known to cross the galactic barrier, briefly leaving the boundary of the Milky Way Galaxy before Kirk and his senior officers overwhelmed the Kelvans and returned to Federation space. (TOS: "By Any Other Name")

Kirk later had his mind displaced into a receptacle in 2268, briefly allowing the ancient being Sargon to live as a corporeal being. (TOS: "Return to Tomorrow")

James T

Kirk holding John Gill as he dies

After John Gill failed to report in from a cultural observation mission to Ekos, the Enterprise was assigned to investigate. Kirk found his old professor had developed an idealization of Utopian fascism and had abandoned observation for intervention, creating a Nazi-like world government that overwhelmed Gill's best intentions. Kirk aroused the subverted Gill in time to avert Ekos' impending war with neighboring Zeon, and heard Gill recant his philosophies before he died. (TOS: "Patterns of Force")

Kara aims phaser at James T

Kirk being threatened by Kara with a phaser on Sigma Draconis VI

On stardate 4842.6, the Enterprise discovered the Amerind planet, where an ancient race, the "Preservers", had transplanted elements of Native American cultures that had been endangered in centuries past. When an accident separated Kirk from the landing party and caused him to suffer amnesia, Spock was forced to abandon the search and command the Enterprise in its mission, that of the interception of an asteroid on course to hit the planet. For several months, the inhabitants worshiped Kirk as a god called "Kirok". During that time, Kirk took a wife. Upon the Enterprise's return and the restoration of his memories, Kirk was able to activate an ancient planetary defense mechanism the Preservers had left behind, and thereby divert the approaching asteroid. (TOS: "The Paradise Syndrome")

Scott recognizes Kirk as Romulan

In Romulan disguise in 2268

Inexplicably to his crew, Kirk began exhibiting bizarre behavior on stardate 5027.3, and ordered the Enterprise across the Romulan Neutral Zone. Three Romulan starships detained the Enterprise, and Kirk and Spock met the Romulan commander aboard her ship, where Kirk's death was faked. The ruse allowed Kirk, surgically altered to look Romulan, to infiltrate the Romulan vessel and steal its cloaking device. Using the device, the Enterprise cloaked and escaped to Federation space, taking along the captured Romulan commander. The entire operation had been designed to give the Federation plausible deniability in case of the mission's failure, and place the culpability on Kirk in that case. (TOS: "The Enterprise Incident")

Near Tholian space, on stardate 5693.2, the Enterprise discovered the USS Defiant adrift, its crew dead, trapped in a spatial interphase. Tholian commander Loskene responded to the trespass of "recently annexed" Tholian space. Kirk was lost in the interphase and presumed dead. The Enterprise exchanged fire with the Tholians, and the unstable region incited madness among the crew. A second Tholian ship joined the engagement, producing a web to ensnare the Enterprise. After various crew members witnessed Kirk's spectral image, he was retrieved from interphase, and the Enterprise used the rift to escape Tholian entrapment. (TOS: "The Tholian Web") Many years later, in 2381, a framed photograph of Kirk in an environmental suit during this mission was hanging on the wall of an old bar at Starbase 25. (LD: "An Embarrassment Of Dooplers")

Spock two Kirks

Spock attempting to differentiate between two almost identical Kirks in 2269

The Enterprise visited a Federation asylum on Elba II on stardate 5718.3. Kirk's longtime hero, Fleet Captain Garth of Izar, was committed as a patient. Garth, capable of cellular metamorphosis, assumed Kirk's form in an attempt to escape and commandeer the Enterprise. Spock was able to determine which man was truly his captain, and Garth was returned to rehabilitation. (TOS: "Whom Gods Destroy")

At the end of that year, the governing council of the planet Gideon attempted to use the Vegan choriomeningitis organisms in Kirk's blood to control their planet's extreme over-population. (TOS: "The Mark of Gideon")

Year Five

A deadly plague struck the crew of the Enterprise before stardate 5843.7. Seeking a cure on Holberg 917G, Kirk encountered Flint, a near-immortal Human. Born as Akharin, during Earth's 4th millennium BC in Mesopotamia, Flint had later been known as Solomon, Alexander the Great, and Leonardo da Vinci, among other famous identities. Kirk fell in love with Rayna Kapec, an android Flint had built to give him company in his final days of seclusion. (TOS: "Requiem for Methuselah") A century later, Captain Janeway of the USS Voyager expressed some doubt about this encounter. (VOY: "Concerning Flight")

James T

Kirk, with the Excalbian recreation of Abraham Lincoln, and Spock on Excalbia

An incredibly realistic simulacrum of Kirk's hero, the American President Abraham Lincoln, greeted the Enterprise on stardate 5906.4. Following an invitation to the surface of the planet Excalbia, the silicon-based Excalbians re-created the historical figures Surak, Genghis Khan, Phillip Green, Kahless, and Zora. Kirk, Spock, Lincoln, and Surak were pitted against the others as means for the Excalbians to understand the nature and strength of good versus evil. During the battle, Kirk received perhaps on of his most meaningful compliments from the form of Lincoln, who was struck by Kirk's propensity to take the offensive when required, when his he asked of Kirk, "Do you drink whiskey?" After Kirk responded, "Occasionally; why?" Lincoln answered, "Because you have qualities very much like those of another man I admire greatly, General Grant." (TOS: "The Savage Curtain")

James T

James Kirk's mind, trapped inside Janice Lester's body

After responding to a distress call from his former lover, Janice Lester, on Camus II, Kirk arrived at her bedside, where she appeared to be near death. Not expecting danger, Kirk was easily ensnared. Lester activated the life-entity transfer device and was immediately thrilled by her possession of Kirk's body. The transfer would eventually return the exchanged persona to its original body, as long as both remained alive. Drugged and disoriented within Lester's body, Kirk was easy prey, but Lester's spontaneous gloating monologue prevented her from strangling Kirk before Dr. Leonard McCoy arrived.

Kirk was still a liability as long as he remained alive in sickbay, but the exclusive care of Dr. Coleman kept Kirk isolated from the crew, however, Spock discovered the truth of the situation through a brief mind meld with the imprisoned Kirk in Lester's body, but their attempted escape was halted by security officers ignorant of the captain's strange new behavior.

During Lester's final attempt to kill Kirk, the two touched in a brief struggle, and the misplaced personalities returned to their proper bodies. Broken, incoherent, and sobbing in her complete failure, Kirk couldn't help but feel sorry for the poor, mentally unstable, twisted-minded woman, who was driven mad not only by her ambition of craving the power to command a starship, but also her hatred and jealousy of the captain she once loved, then wanted dead. Kirk felt her life could have been as rich as any woman's, "if only…" (TOS: "Turnabout Intruder")

In 2269, Kirk encountered Cyrano Jones and Koloth once again, saving Jones when his vessel, a Federation scout ship, was destroyed by the IKS Devisor. Koloth demanded that Kirk hand Jones over and Kirk defiantly told him that the first Klingon to board the Enterprise would be the last Klingon. (TAS: "More Tribbles, More Troubles")

James T

Kirk restrained by a Swooper on Phylos

Kirk, along with Spock, Sulu, and McCoy visited the planet Phylos, where he encountered a clone of Stavos Keniclius, a scientist from the Eugenics Wars. Spock was abducted by Swoopers and cloned, which became known as Spock Two. Kirk later lead a rescue mission to get Spock back, which was successful. Before leaving Phylos, Kirk told Stavos Keniclius 5 that Spock Two could stay with him and together they could attempt to bring the Phylosian civilization back from the dead. (TAS: "The Infinite Vulcan")

Kirk, Taurean headband

Kirk wearing a polarized conductor headband

Late the same year, the Enterprise returned to the time planet to once again visit the Guardian of Forever, when he, Spock, and historian Erickson observe the dawn of the Orion civilization. (TAS: "Yesteryear")

Kirk and his crew were instrumental in stopping a massive matter-energy cloud from consuming the planet Mantilles. Kirk wrestled with the ethical implications of destroying the cloud once it was determined to be a living creature but fortunately, Spock was able to mind meld with it and convinced it to cease its movement toward Mantilles. (TAS: "One of Our Planets Is Missing")

Kirk lead a landing party that beamed down to inspect Planet Two of the Taurean system. There, he became affected by the glandular secretion of the female members of Theela's species who inhabited there, who were known for controlling the male mind. This drained Kirk of his "life force," causing him to age at a rate of ten years per day. After an all-female security detachment led by Lieutenant Uhura recovered him and the landing party. By using their molecular pattern stored in the transporter system, Kirk and the others were returned to their previous ages. (TAS: "The Lorelei Signal")

Sord and James T

Sord and Kirk working together

Kirk, together with Spock, were tasked by the Vedala to recover the Soul of the Skorr, which had been stolen and had triggered a racial fury among the Skorr. As a result, they had prepared for war against the known galaxy. Kirk was specifically chosen for the mission for his leadership and adaptability skills. Together with a team consisting of Spock, Lara, Em/3/Green, Sord, and Tchar, they were transported to a world simply named "mad planet" to recover the Soul of the Skorr. Kirk later determined that the thief was Tchar, and together with Spock, he was able to defeat him and get the Soul of the Skorr back using null-gravity combat exercises. (TAS: "The Jihad")

Hikaru Sulu injured

Kirk, shrunken down, assists an injured Sulu, along with Spock, Arex, and Kyle

Kirk and the Enterprise crew later discovered the long-lost Earth colony Terratin after they had sent out a distress signal. However, the only way the colony believed they could get Kirk's attention was to shrink the crew of the Enterprise down to their size. Upon requesting that the colony's inhabitants be saved, Kirk, after being restored to full-size when he transported down to Terra 10's surface, had the miniature colony beamed aboard the Enterprise and later had it relocated to the planet Verdanis. (TAS: "The Terratin Incident")

James T

Kirk attempting to be beamed up from Lactra VII

Kirk, together with Spock and McCoy, beamed down to Lactra VII to locate Lieutenant Commander Tom Markel and other missing officers from the starship USS Ariel after they had been missing for approximately six weeks. While there, Kirk located the missing Ariel officers and encountered the Lactrans. While being held in their "zoo", Kirk faked being ill in order to regain his confiscated communicator and escape with his crewmembers. Unfortunately, it was taken away by a young Lactran and it was beamed up to the Enterprise instead. Upon witnessing this, the Lactrans tried to destroy Kirk's mind after their "child" had disappeared. After it returned to the surface with Montgomery Scott, it told its fellow Lactrans all it had learned about the Federation and the races it encompassed while on the Enterprise, which led them to free Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the Ariel crew. The Lactrans later requested that Starfleet visit their planet again in about twenty or thirty centuries in their time. When Spock told Kirk that it would take some time to figure out long that would actually be, Kirk responded that, regardless, it would not be their problem. (TAS: "The Eye of the Beholder")

James T

Kirk calling Scott after the gravity on the bridge cuts out

In 2270, Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise fell victim to several practical jokes after the ship passed through an energy field near the Romulan Neutral Zone. Passing through the field caused the Enterprise's main computer to malfunction and it began erratically playing jokes on the crew. Among the jokes that Kirk had played on him were the computer printing that he was a jerk on the back of his uniform, making him and Spock slip on ice in a corridor, and causing the artificial gravity on the bridge to cut out, making Kirk float to the top of the bridge. (TAS: "The Practical Joker")

Kirk, Robert April, Sarah, April, Scott, and Spock in conference

Kirk in a briefing with Commodore Robert April

Later that year, Kirk welcomed aboard Commodore and Federation Ambassador-at-large, as well as former commanding officer of the Enterprise, Robert April, along with his wife Sarah, on its journey back to Babel, where April was due to be honored before his mandatory retirement. While on the way there, the Enterprise encountered Karla Five and her vessel while it was apparently headed for its destruction at the heart of Beta Niobe supernova. While attempting to save her and her ship, Kirk and his crew were drawn into a reverse universe, where Karla Five was actually from and was intending to return to through the supernova remnant. Kirk, along with his entire crew, began to turn into children while in this universe. Thankfully, due to the efforts of a younger Commodore April taking command of the Enterprise from its captain, Kirk, along with his crew, were all restored to their normal ages when they returned to their own universe. (TAS: "The Counter-Clock Incident")

Further exploits of this time included saving the Pelosians from extinction, despite it being a violation of the Prime Directive, such as he had with the Baezians and Chenari years earlier. (VOY: "Q2")

Reaching the end of its five-year deployment in 2270, Kirk ordered the Enterprise set on a course returning the ship to Earth. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Chief of Starfleet operations

James Kirk, 2270s

As a rear admiral in the mid-2270s

The USS Enterprise returned to Earth in 2270. Kirk's successful mission resulted in his promotion to rear admiral and a posting as Chief of Starfleet Operations at Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco for the following two and a half years. With Spock leaving Starfleet to return to Vulcan to purge all emotion, Kirk recommended Will Decker to replace him as Enterprise captain while the ship underwent an extensive refit at the San Francisco Fleet Yards, but he told Decker how envious he was and how much he hoped to find a way to get a starship command again. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

The V'ger crisis

Kirk in command, 2270s

Kirk commanded the Enterprise during the V'ger crisis and its official shakedown cruise

In the mid-2270s, V'ger, an energy cloud assimilating information from (and destroying) objects in its path, threatened Earth. The only starship positioned to intercept it was the Enterprise, her refit nearly complete but still awaiting trial runs. After convincing Admiral Nogura that he was the best man to meet the threat, Kirk rushed the Enterprise into service, assuming the rank of captain for the duration of the mission. Decker regarded Kirk's command as an insult and a mistake and pointed to his recent desk service and unfamiliarity with the ship's new systems, but the younger man fulfilled his duty as first officer.

The entity proved to be the late 20th century NASA space probe Voyager 6, having amassed great power and self-awareness in its travels. When Kirk and his party discovered the true nature of V'ger and negotiated a visit to the actual probe itself, located at the heart of the 'V'ger' vessel, Decker used the opportunity, with V'ger's protection, to fulfill his wish to merge with the V'ger entity through the simulacrum of his lover Ilia, thereby uniting V'ger's mechanical nature with its Human origins. The union resulted in the birth of a radically new, and benign, lifeform. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Following the success of this mission, Kirk commanded the Enterprise in the mid-to-late 2270s. His quarters were on deck 5.

According to, Kirk's second five year mission ran from 2271 to 2276. [2](X)

See also: Ambiguities

First retirement

Kirk briefly retired from Starfleet sometime before 2284 to pursue a number of personal goals and affairs, namely his relationship with a woman named Antonia. (Star Trek Generations)

Return to Starfleet

Inspection tour



Kirk returned to Starfleet in 2284 and took a position in the admiralty, supervising command-track cadets at Starfleet Academy among his duties. The lack of a center seat gnawed at him until he began to express discontent in his latest posting. Kirk celebrated his fifty-second birthday alone, barring a visit from his friend Dr. McCoy, who gifts him a bottle of 2283 Romulan ale and, as Kirk was allergic to Retinax V, a pair of glasses to adjust for his increasing farsightedness.

The following day, Kirk visited the Enterprise, now commanded by Captain Spock, for an inspection tour and as an observer to a cadet training cruise. Unknown to Kirk at the time, his nemesis, han Noonien Singh had been accidentally released from his exile on Ceti Alpha V, which had lost the inhabitability it had possessed when he and his people were originally left there, by hijacking the USS Reliant, leading to the hunt for the Genesis Device from the Regula I space station. A call from Dr. Carol Marcus alerted the Enterprise, which changed course to investigate even though its crew was largely "a boatload of--children," in Kirk's phrasing. Despite Kirk's (somewhat half-hearted) protests, Spock insisted on deferring his command to Admiral Kirk, quipping that as a Vulcan "he had no ego to bruise."

The subsequent engagement with his old enemy was tumultuous for Kirk, including a near-disastrous blunder disregarding Starfleet regulations quoted by Saavik that nearly doomed his ship and crew. In a textbook example of Kirk's ability to wield the Enterprise against a well-matched opponent was in the encounter with the USS Reliant, where he saved the Enterprise by tricking Khan into believing he was receiving data on Genesis but instead having his shields lowered via the Reliant's prefix code, allowing the ship to make several retaliatory phaser hits on the Reliant, leading to a temporary withdrawl. Following the immediate success, Kirk admitted, in frustration and fury, to having gotten "caught with my britches down," at first, namely ignoring General Order 12, which allowed the Enterprise to be crippled by the non-communicative ship's sudden attack.

After arriving at Regula I, Kirk met his estranged son, David Marcus, whom he rescued along with Carol Marcus, and the Enterprise escaped into the Mutara Nebula. A difficult battle with Khan ensued, however, Kirk prevailed after he used his long starship experience and Khan's own egomaniacal psychology to level the playing field and prevail, though it came at a great personal cost, the resulting death of his friend of twenty years, Spock. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

Stealing the Enterprise

James T

Kirk in 2285, stealing the Enterprise

Kirk's return to Earth in 2285 was solemn. The loss of Spock affected Kirk deeply, and McCoy began to show signs of mental illness. Planning to return to the Genesis Planet after his battle-damaged starship was fully repaired, Kirk's hopes were dashed when Commander, Starfleet Fleet Admiral Morrow announced that the Enterprise would soon be decommissioned.

Ambassador Sarek approached Kirk, leading to the discovery of Spock's katra surviving in McCoy. Kirk's senior officers rallied to him, conspiring to rescue McCoy and steal the Enterprise from Spacedock One in order to recover Spock's body from the Genesis Planet and to bring it, and his katra, to Mount Seleya on Vulcan.

At the Genesis planet, a Klingon Bird-of-Prey's attack left the Enterprise disabled. After setting an auto-destruct sequence, Kirk and his crew abandoned the ship for the surface. The Enterprise was destroyed, taking a Klingon boarding party along with it. Finding Spock's body reanimated by Genesis, Kirk took the Bird-of-Prey to Mount Seleya on Vulcan, where Spock's katra and body were reunited. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

Saving Earth

Spock and Kirk, 1986

Kirk and Spock walking the streets of San Francisco in 1986

After three months of exile on Vulcan, Kirk and his crew departed (aboard the Bird-of-Prey renamed HMS Bounty) for Earth, to face their charges of violating nine Starfleet regulations. During the voyage, a mysterious probe besieged Earth and communicated only in whale song. After answering the planetary distress signal and determining the probe's objective, Kirk used the slingshot effect to take the Bounty back in time to 1986 San Francisco, 300 years ago.

With the help of cetacean biologist Dr. Gillian Taylor, Kirk successfully obtained the humpback whales George and Gracie and returned with them to 2286. By providing the whales that could answer the probe's query, Kirk redeemed Humanity's extermination of a sentient species and saved Earth from an environmental catastrophe. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

Commanding the USS Enterprise-A

Constitution II class bridge, 2286

Kirk and crew on the bridge of the Enterprise-A

Following the Whale Probe incident, the Federation president declared to Kirk, "we are forever in your debt." In light of their recent heroics, all charges facing his crew were dismissed, but one remained against Admiral Kirk: disobeying the orders of a superior officer. Kirk's punishment was a reduction in rank to captain and a return to the duty that had served the Federation so well, starship command. He was assigned to the Constitution II-class starship, the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-A), in 2286. He commanded the Enterprise-A for the next seven years. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

Sybok and Sha Ka Ree
Kirk, Sybok, Spock, and McCoy on Sha Ka Ree

Kirk and the Enterprise-A were hijacked by Sybok and traveled to Sha Ka Ree

In 2287, after a brief shakedown cruise proved the Enterprise-A not quite to be as fully spaceworthy as it had initially seemed to be, Kirk vacationed in Yosemite National Park with Spock and McCoy, while Montgomery Scott attended to the technical problems. The respite was interrupted after Spock's half-brother, Sybok, raised a small force called the Galactic Army of Light to take over the planet Nimbus III and captured the Federation, Klingon and Romulan representatives.

Kirk and the Enterprise-A responded, as did a Klingon Bird-of-Prey commanded by Klaa, who took on the rescue mission as an opportunity to take on Kirk, as he believed defeating Kirk would make him the greatest warrior in the galaxy.

Following a failed assault on Paradise City, Sybok captured the crew of the Enterprise-A and took over the ship. After most of Kirk's crew fell under Sybok's influence and joined in his quest to meet "God" by taking the starship through the Great Barrier to the legendary Sha Ka Ree. En route, Sybok offered Kirk the chance to "ease his pain," as he had seemingly demonstrated on Spock and McCoy. But Kirk rejected the offer angrily, insisting, "I don't want my pain taken away; I NEED my pain!!!"

Later, the entity they encountered proved to be a malevolent force, imprisoned and looking for release. Sybok joined the entity in combat, sacrificing himself and permitting the Enterprise-A to escape. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

Final mission
Kirk and McCoy on trial

Kirk and McCoy on trial

Kirk's career culminated in 2293, when the Enterprise-A was assigned to escort Klingon Chancellor Gorkon to Earth for a peace conference. Kirk opposed the peace initiative Spock covertly negotiated. He especially resented that Starfleet had chosen him to be the Federation's olive branch. A cabal of Federation and Klingon officials instigated an attack on Kronos One that appeared to come from the Enterprise-A, and assassinated Gorkon.

The Klingons arrested Kirk and McCoy, then tried and convicted them for the murder of Gorkon, sentencing them to the Rura Penthe penal asteroid. In violation of orders and treaties, Spock took the Enterprise-A into Klingon space, eluded detection and rescued Kirk and McCoy. Following his victory over General Chang at the Battle of Khitomer, Kirk saved the Federation president from assassination, and the historic Khitomer Conference continued; this led to the successful negotiation, signatures, and ratifications of "The First Khitomer Accords" between the UFP and the Klingon Empire.

Constitution II class bridge, 2293

After commanding two Starships named Enterprise, Kirk's tenure as captain of the Enterprise ended in 2293.

Kirk, Spock, Scott, Uhura, Chekov, and McCoy see the rest of Sulu's crew onboard the Excelsior-class USS Excelsior on the view screen one last time before parting ways. Kirk ordered Chekov to set the course "second star to the right, and straight on till morning," as the last flight of the Enterprise-A. After that, she was decommissioned, and Kirk retired permanently from Starfleet. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

Second Retirement

Maiden voyage of the Enterprise-B

James T

Kirk briefly taking command of the Enterprise-B

Shortly after retirement, Kirk joined his friends Montgomery Scott and Pavel Chekov as the honored guests of Captain John Harriman on the maiden voyage of the Excelsior-class starship USS Enterprise-B. The event, featuring a media frenzy surrounding Kirk, was little more than a ceremonial cruise, as the Enterprise-B was not yet fully crewed or equipped for regular duty. Soon after departure, the ship received a distress signal from two Whorfin-class ships transporting El Aurian refugees trapped in an energy distortion called the Nexus.

With the advice of Kirk, and the help of Scott and Chekov, the rescue mission was a partial success, but the Enterprise-B succumbed to the Nexus' gravimetric field. Declining Harriman's offer to take command, Kirk volunteered to modify the ship's deflector relays and successfully enabled the ship's escape, but not before a burst of energy from the Nexus breached the secondary hull. Kirk was lost and presumed dead. (Star Trek Generations)

The Nexus and death

Kirk thinking

Kirk, just before jumping over a chasm

Events of 2371 revealed Kirk had entered the Nexus, yet unaware of the passing of 78 years due to the non-linear nature of time in the Nexus. Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise-D discovered Kirk within the Nexus. Kirk agreed to leave his idyllic but unsatisfying existence to help Picard defeat the deranged scientist Tolian Soran, who was going to destroy the Veridian system.

As Kirk explained to Picard, the main reason he always returned to the command chair of the Enterprise was that it was only there that Kirk could truly make a difference. He advised Picard to refuse anything Starfleet offered him that would take him away from the current Enterprise, because he would lose the ability to make a difference in the universe.

Kirk dead

"It was... fun. Oh my...."

Kirk sacrificed his life to save the inhabitants of Veridian IV, as well as the crew of the Enterprise-D, climbing along a precariously-balanced metal bridge in order to grab the control panel necessary to disable the missile that Soran would have used, the bridge subsequently falling down a steep cliff when its support beams broke. His last words, spoken to Picard after being assured that he had made a difference, were to comment that his help was the least he could do for the captain of the Enterprise, as well as to assure Picard that "It was... fun. Oh my...." (Star Trek Generations)

Soran originally killed Kirk by shooting him in the back. This ending was changed because it was thought that Kirk needed a more "heroic" death. ("Strange New Worlds: The Valley of Fire", Star Trek Generations (Special Edition) DVD/Blu-ray)

James Kirk's body scan

Scan of Kirk's remains at Daystrom Station

Captain Picard buried Kirk in a simple stone cairn on a Veridian III mountain top. (Star Trek Generations)

After Kirk's death, Section 31 retrieved his body for Project Phoenix.

As of 2401, the remains were stored on Daystrom Station. (PIC: "The Bounty" okudagram)


"Kirk may have been a lowly Human, but at least he had pizzazz."
– Q, 2378 ("Q2")

Sometime after 2285, Kirk made a brief appearance in a film called The Tardigrade in Space, which was about the adventures of a female tardigrade and a DOT-7 robot called Dot. His appearance in the film depicted his first encounter with Khan Noonien Singh in sickbay, when he was first awakened from cryosleep in the year 2267. (ST: "Ephraim and Dot")

His missions were read by grade school students and Starfleet Academy cadets alike. (Star Trek Generations; VOY: "Q2") As a child in grade school, future Enterprise-B Captain Harriman read about Kirk's missions. (Star Trek Generations) While nearly a century later, in 2377, as Icheb began his cadet training aboard Voyager, he recited a report for Early Starfleet History, that described when Kirk concluded his "historic five year mission", that "one of the greatest chapters in Starfleet history came to a close." (VOY: "Q2")

Captain Kathryn Janeway of the USS Voyager nostalgically recalled Captain Kirk (and his contemporaries) as belonging "to a different breed of Starfleet officer." She went on to note that, given "the era they lived in, [...] It's not surprising they had to bend the rules a little. They were a little slower to invoke the Prime Directive, and a little quicker to pull their phasers." She opined, "Of course, the whole bunch of them would be booted out of Starfleet today. But I have to admit, I would have loved to ride shotgun at least once with a group of officers like that." (VOY: "Flashback")

Along with Kirk's seventeen separate temporal violations, which gave him the distinction of having the biggest file on record with the Department of Temporal Investigations, Kirk also had a long standing first contact record to his name. (DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations") It remained untouched until 2378, when Captain Janeway concluded her seven-year trip across the Delta Quadrant aboard the USS Voyager. (VOY: "Friendship One")

During a visit to the 23rd century from 2373, Lieutenant Commander Worf remarked that it would be an honor to meet Kirk. (DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations")

The defensive pattern Kirk Epsilon was a battle tactic that was still in use during the late 2370s. (Star Trek Nemesis)

In 2380 and 2381, Kirk was mentioned multiple times by various crew members of the USS Cerritos, including Brad Boimler and Beckett Mariner. (LD: "Second Contact", "Veritas", "An Embarrassment Of Dooplers")

Kirk's old bar on Starbase 25 still had his and Spock's names scratched into the counter top as of 2381. (LD: "An Embarrassment Of Dooplers")

In 2383, Kirk was an option for a crewmember in the Kobayashi Maru scenario. Jankom Pog suggested that he and Dal R'El use "this JT Kirk guy," but Dal was uninterested as they already had a captain: himself. (PRO: "Kobayashi")

In 2384, Hologram Janeway noted that both Captains Kirk and Sulu were "Starfleet legends". To the Enderprizians, Kirk was known as "James'T the Warrior", and he had at least one namesake on Planet 0042692, James'T. (PRO: "All the World's a Stage") Kirk also had at least two others named in his honor during his lifetime, Jame Finney and Leonard James Akaar. (TOS: "Court Martial", "Friday's Child")

Personal interests

Skills and hobbies

Kirk spent a huge portion of his life aboard starships, and consequently relished the times he could spend outdoors. He was an accomplished equestrian, and kept a horse at a mountain cabin that he owned during his first retirement. Another companion at his mountain cabin was Butler, his Great Dane. He sold the cabin sometime after his return to Starfleet. (Star Trek Generations)

A personal challenge that nearly cost him his life was free-solo climbing the face of El Capitan mountain in Yosemite National Park on Earth. After Spock rescued Kirk from an accidental free fall, Kirk told the Vulcan and McCoy that while falling he knew he would not die because he had always known that he would die alone, and since he, McCoy, and Spock were present during the incident, he could not die. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) However, Kirk's prediction eventually proved apparently wrong when he died on Veridian III in the company of Jean-Luc Picard, who was, evidently, an ultimately poor surrogate for Spock and/or McCoy in that particular situation. (Star Trek Generations)

Beckett Mariner once described herself as a "Kirk-style free spirit", though her mother, Captain Carol Freeman, retorted that Kirk was confident, whereas Mariner was unwilling to risk dropping her defenses to make allies. (LD: "First First Contact")

Personal combat

Kirk hand chops Mitchell

Kirk's unique fighting style


Kirk incorporated techniques from Judo into his personal combat style

Kirk's command style frequently brought him in close proximity to his enemies, often resulting in hand-to-hand combat. His idiosyncratic martial-arts style used hand chops to the neck, wrestling and judo throws, roundhouse punches, two-fisted swings and open-hand slaps in varying combinations, and even drop kicks. One or two of Kirk's blows overwhelmed a variety of enemy guards and henchmen. In addition, Kirk regularly performed dives and rolls, either to evade phaser fire or to attack an opponent, thereby often jumping off walls and other fixed elements.

A typical example of Kirk's fighting style in a more extended bout occurred in 2265 on the surface of Delta Vega, in the attempt to kill his friend Gary Mitchell. (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before")

While typical examples of his wrestling and Judo abilities were seen when the Orion spy Thelev assaulted him, and when he used a judo throw to disarm the Redjac entity which had taken the form of Hengist. (TOS: "Journey to Babel", "Wolf in the Fold")

At times, a larger, more powerful opponent clearly out-classed Kirk, leaving him to his wits, the aid of his crew, or pure luck to see him through. Pitted against the Gorn captain in 2267, he held his own for a time, until his injuries forced withdrawal and a search for a more efficient weapon. (TOS: "Arena")

In 2255 and again in 2268, he wrestled a ferocious Mugato of Neural. When the massive ancient android Ruk attacked Kirk on Exo III in 2266, Kirk could do little but hold on for the ride. (TOS: "A Private Little War", "What Are Little Girls Made Of?")

On the Shore Leave Planet in 2267, Kirk was shocked by the appearance of Finnegan, his Academy nemesis, who had not seemed to age. The two proceeded to slug each other until both were bleeding and exhausted. Perhaps the longest fist-fight of his life, it was clearly the most satisfying. (TOS: "Shore Leave")

Kirk fought his friend and first officer Spock on three occasions when the half-Vulcan lost his normal emotional control. A series of slaps delivered to Spock in 2266 resulted in a blow that sent Kirk over a table. In 2267, after necessarily cruel taunts, Spock tossed Kirk back and forth across the transporter room, regaining control just before he crushed his captain's skull. Spock's blood fever during his pon farr of 2267 made him so dangerous in the koon-ut-kal-if-fee ritual fight that Dr. McCoy was forced to falsify Kirk's death before Spock could kill him. (TOS: "The Naked Time", "This Side of Paradise", "Amok Time")

Kirk was constantly looking to improve his arsenal of combat techniques. Upon witnessing Hikaru Sulu perform a body throw on Agmar on Phylos in 2269, he asked Sulu to teach him the technique sometime, since it might come in handy. (TAS: "The Infinite Vulcan")



The Kirk family ancestry included settlers who pioneered the American frontier in the 19th century, and the Kirks of the early 23rd century rediscovered the impulse for untamed spaces. After his early childhood on Earth, Kirk lived on Tarsus IV by the age of thirteen, and his brother's family later lived on colonies as well. (TOS: "Spectre of the Gun", "The Conscience of the King", "Operation -- Annihilate!")

Baby Kirok

Kirk's brief 2268 marriage to Miramanee produced a child. Though she and the baby died while she was still in the early days of her pregnancy, "Kirok" had welcomed her news of the child. (TOS: "The Paradise Syndrome")

George Kirk, Sr.

Kirk's father, Lieutenant Commander George Kirk was serving as first officer of the USS Kelvin during the time of Kirk's birth.

Kirk often credited his father with inspiring him to join Starfleet. His father proudly lived long enough to see his son achieve command. (Star Trek)

Sam Kirk

The Brothers Kirk

Sam and Jim reuniting in an alternate 2266

George Samuel Kirk (called "Sam" only by his brother) was also, for a time, a Starfleet officer. (SNW: "Strange New Worlds", "A Quality of Mercy")

Their relationship did experience signs of strain at times; Sam expressed feelings of jealousy towards James' quick rise. In 2259, James had become the first officer on the Farragut, the youngest in Starfleet history, a record previously held by their father. Sam felt James' ambition and brash attitude reflected badly on him. (SNW: "Lost in Translation")

Sam later described Una Chin-Riley to James as "the first officer that James thought he should be like." Someone who kept a necessary distance from her crew because she knows she has to make hard decisions. (SNW: "Subspace Rhapsody")

Sam, along with his wife Aurelan and three sons, joined his younger brother for a farewell visit before the Enterprise departed for her five-year mission. It was the last time Jim saw Sam alive. (TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?") Sam ended up on Deneva, with his wife and son Peter by 2267. James was too late to save his brother and sister-in-law from the neural parasites that had invaded Deneva that year, and killed the couple, but Peter survived the attack. (TOS: "Operation -- Annihilate!")

According to an alternate timeline version of Sam Kirk, he described Jim as a "huge pain in the ass but he's a fine a captain as Starfleet has." (SNW: "A Quality of Mercy")

David Marcus

David Marcus

David Marcus in 2285

Kirk's romance with Carol Marcus produced a son, David Marcus. At Carol's request, Kirk stayed out of David's early life. David knew something of Kirk, referring to him as "the over-grown Boy Scout" his mother used to know, but not that Kirk was his father. Carol kept David's father's identity a secret, fearing that Kirk's adventurous life would draw David away from her. In spite of the separation, Carol told Kirk that David was "a lot like you, in many ways."

In 2285, David was working with his mother at the Federation research station Regula I as part of a team developing Project Genesis when Khan Noonien Singh attacked the station. After fleeing to the Regula planetoid, Kirk rescued David and Carol. Kirk did not immediately recognize his son at their awkward meeting, and later became melancholy when considering an alternate life as a father. He observed David's dislike of him, complaining to Carol, "There's a man out there whom I haven't seen in fifteen years, who's trying to kill me. You show me a son who'd be happy to help him." After witnessing Kirk's victory at the Battle of the Mutara Nebula and the funeral for Spock, David consoled his father and admitted he was "proud, very proud, to be [his] son." (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

Kirk and David Marcus' body

Kirk with David's body on Genesis

Later in 2285, David was an advisor on the starship USS Grissom, researching the Genesis planet he had helped to create. Taken hostage by Klingons, David interrupted an attempted execution of Lieutenant Saavik, wrestling a Klingon warrior briefly before being killed with a stab to the chest. The news of David's death led Kirk to stumble to the deck in grief, spitting at Commander Kruge in his rage, "You Klingon bastard, you've--killed my son!" Kirk subsequently killed Kruge and all but one (Maltz) of his crew. As Kirk and his crew made their escape from the collapsing Genesis planet, he somberly and mournfully said goodbye to his son. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

Kirk kept David's memory close, with a picture of his son in his quarters aboard the Enterprise-A. Kirk's opinion of Klingons, once enemies he could occasionally respect and even share a laugh with, grew into hatred. In 2293, during the diplomatic mission to the Klingon Empire instigated by the destruction of Praxis, he logged, "I have never trusted Klingons, and I never will. I've never been able to forgive them for the death of my boy." Acknowledging that he wanted to believe Spock's statements that the mission was historic, he added, "(H)ow on Earth can history get past people like me?" The partial log entry, surreptitiously and illegally recorded by the evil Lieutenant Valeris, was used against him during the trial for the assassination of Chancellor Gorkon, and the incident forced him to come to terms with his hatred for Klingons; Gorkon's daughter and acting successor, Azetbur, realized and admitted just as the Khitomer Conference was getting under way that Kirk had restored her father's faith, to which Kirk responded that Azetbur had in turn restored his son's faith. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)


An approachable, gregarious individual, Kirk made many friends across a range of worlds and status, from the Hill dweller Tyree to Starfleet Fleet Admiral Morrow. Those that shared his closest, personal confidence appear to be limited to a few, including Spock, Leonard McCoy, and Gary Mitchell. The core group of talented officers that he assembled in his first years aboard the Enterprise followed his call throughout their own careers, and were integral factors to his long success and lasting reputation.

Kirk recognized the impact his life in Starfleet had on his family life. In 2287, while camping with his friends in Yosemite, he referred to himself, Spock, and McCoy as the only family that men like themselves were likely to have. Presumably, his prediction that he would die alone meant that he would die with neither of them also present at his death. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

Nyota Uhura

Kirk meets Uhura

Lt. Kirk introducing himself to Ensign Uhura

Kirk first met Nyota Uhura at a bar on the Enterprise in 2259. He introduced himself to her and she responded with hostility as she believed he was flirting with her. Over time, the two began to trust to one another and after dealing with the deuterium creatures within Bannon's Nebula, the two shared a drink and Uhura introduced Kirk to Spock. (SNW: "Lost in Translation")

After Kirk replaced Pike as captain of the Enterprise, Kirk kept Uhura on as communications officer. The two would work closely together for the next thirty years. (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver"; Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)


Kirk and Spock meet

Kirk and Spock meeting for the first time

Kirk and Spock officially met in 2259 after Kirk visited the Enterprise for the first time after being tentatively promoted to first officer aboard the Farragut. (SNW: "Lost in Translation")

By 2265, Kirk and Spock were serving together aboard the Enterprise and were familiar enough with each other for Spock to address Kirk as "Jim". After the death of Gary Mitchell, Kirk came to depend on Spock's detached, logical analysis as a supplement to his own intuitive and impulsive nature. Their official relationship deepened into a friendship of mutual respect and love that was without a doubt the most important relationship of both Kirk and Spock's life. (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before")

Kirk's first ever scene with Spock, in "Where No Man Has Gone Before", was not included in that episode's first draft script. In ultimately unused dialogue from that scene in the final revised draft of the teleplay, (dated 8 July 1965), Kirk began a sentence that was concluded by Spock and later predicted Spock might someday learn to enjoy his "bad blood."

McCoy Kirk Spock, 2267

The inseparable trio (l to r) McCoy, Kirk, and Spock in 2267

As Edith Keeler observed of Spock's place in the world, "You? At his side. As if you've always been there and always will." (TOS: "The City on the Edge of Forever") He once described his Vulcan friend as "the noblest part of myself" and declared that Spock's immortal soul "is my responsibility, as surely as if it were my very own." Kirk even told Spock's father that he would never realize how important Spock was to him, and declared that, despite losing the Enterprise and his son, had he not tried to rescue his friend, "...the cost would have been my soul." (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

Spock rescuing James T

Kirk with Spock on Earth in 1969

The polywater intoxication that affected the Enterprise crew in 2266 led to a difficult encounter between Kirk and his first officer. Needing Spock at a critical moment, Kirk found him in anguished reflection, regretting his inability to express love even for his mother. Trying to bring the first officer around to the moment, Kirk slapped him. Spock's reaction was flat and revelatory, "Jim, when I feel friendship for you, I'm ashamed." Struck again, Spock responded in kind, sending Kirk backwards over a table. (TOS: "The Naked Time")

Spock was sympathetic to Kirk's plight after the transporter divided the captain's personality into opposite aspects. He referred to his own halves, "submerged...constantly at war with each other," explaining that he survived it because his intelligence won out over both and forced them to coexist. Spock believed that Kirk's own intelligence would also enable him to survive such a contest intact, and urged him to embrace the part of himself that, seemingly ugly, was crucial to his personality and captaincy. (TOS: "The Enemy Within")

Kirk holding Spock on Deneva

Kirk holding Spock after he is attacked by a parasite on Deneva

After Kirk discovered emotional rage was the key to nullifying the effect of the pod plants, his first step in retrieving his crew was to taunt Spock into anger. Anticipating the result of a Vulcan's higher strength level pitted against his own, Kirk wielded a pipe for protection. After being called an "elf with a hyperactive thyroid" and told that he belonged "in the circus, right next to the dog-faced boy," Spock indeed lost control, nearly killing Kirk before resuming command of himself. (TOS: "This Side of Paradise")

In 2267, Spock began his pon farr mating cycle, and behaved bizarrely aboard the Enterprise. Kirk called to Spock "the best first officer in the fleet" and "an enormous asset to me" as he pled with Spock to explain his actions. When told that by taking Spock to Vulcan, against Starfleet orders, Kirk fired back, "I owe him [Spock] my life a dozen times over! Isn't that worth a career?"

Joining him on Vulcan for his marriage ceremony, Kirk was drawn into T'Pring's scheme to marry another, and forced to fight Spock to the death. McCoy, knowing Kirk was endangered, faked Kirk's death, and the marriage was not consummated. Spock, despondent that he had murdered his captain, thrilled at the sight of Kirk alive, exclaiming, "JIM!", which McCoy delighted in needling Spock about once he gained his composure. (TOS: "Amok Time")

Kirk's understanding of Spock had an enormous impact on the parallel mirror universe, visited after a transporter accident in 2267. As Kirk's party prepared to return to their proper universe, Kirk implored the mirror-Spock to re-examine his role in the fascistic Terran Empire, insisting, "One man can make a difference." Mirror-Spock's consideration of those words led to his rise to dominance and reform of the Empire, with drastic consequences. (TOS: "Mirror, Mirror"; DS9: "Crossover")

When Kirk was trapped in spatial interphase during a rescue operation in Tholian space, Spock ordered the Enterprise to maintain her position in an effort to retrieve him, in spite of the danger the Tholians presented and the disruptive nature of the local space. After Kirk's assumed death, Spock and McCoy viewed the "last orders" Kirk had prepared. He urged Spock to use all the Vulcan disciplines at his disposal, tempered with intuitive insight. Kirk believed Spock had the latter qualities, but should they elude him, he was urged to seek out McCoy. (TOS: "The Tholian Web")

Kirk once commented to Captain Garth that the dream of the Axanar Peace Mission participants made him and Spock "brothers." Spock only said, "Captain Kirk speaks somewhat figuratively, and with undue emotion, but what he says is logical and I do, in fact, agree with it." (TOS: "Whom Gods Destroy")

When Dr. Janice Lester, a former lover of Kirk's, took over Kirk's body, Spock performed a mind meld on Kirk while he was trapped in Lester's body. Spock believed Kirk was Lester before anyone else, and when Lester as Kirk ordered his execution, he continued to stand by his friend. (TOS: "Turnabout Intruder")

Spock and Kirk, 2270s

Kirk with Spock again in the 2270s

At the end of the Enterprise's five-year mission, a period marked by his frequent loss of his emotional control, Spock chose to leave Starfleet and his friends, to pursue the Kolinahr discipline of logic on Vulcan. His return to Enterprise during the V'ger threat was a cold event, without acknowledgment of his past friendships. In V'ger's aftermath, Spock finally achieved equilibrium, able to express his friendship for Kirk without the influence of aliens or illness, and notably lacking any threat of physical violence. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture) In 2285, Spock was calmly able to tell Kirk, "You are my superior officer. You are also my friend. I have been and always shall be yours." (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

Kirk and Spock, 2285

Kirk and Spock, together on Kirk's birthday

Spock's sacrifice of his own life, to save the Enterprise from Khan's detonation of the Genesis Device, deeply affected Kirk. At his funeral, Kirk could only bring himself to say of Spock, "Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most... Human..." but he broke off and broke down without being able to continue. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

The revelation that Spock's katra, his "living spirit" (actually his complete brain patterns), survived in the tormented mind of McCoy, led Kirk to risk his career, and in turn, his crew's. He first asked Admiral Morrow for permission to retrieve Spock's body from the Genesis Planet, to bring it, and McCoy, to Vulcan. Kirk insisted that any chance to save Spock's soul was his responsibility, "as surely as if it were my very own." His request declined, he told his crew, "The 'No.' I am therefore going anyway."

With the help of Uhura, Scott, Sulu, and Chekov, Kirk rescued McCoy from confinement and commandeered the Enterprise from Spacedock One. The renegade mission saw the destruction of Kirk's ship and the death of his son. Finding Spock's body re-animated by Genesis, Kirk brought him and McCoy to Vulcan for the fal-tor-pan (re-fusion) ritual. The first person Spock recognized was Kirk: "Jim. Your Jim." (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

During their homecoming from Vulcan, and eventually their trip to 1986, Kirk tried to remind the resurrected Spock, suffering from memory loss, to their friendship and past adventures together. After Kirk's and the command crew's trial, Spock told his father, Sarek, that his "associates" were his friends. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

Spock going after Kirk

Spock in an attempt to save Kirk's life at Yosemite National Park

In 2287, the trio enjoyed a camping trip together at Yosemite National Park, which abruptly ended when Spock, half-brother Sybok diverted the Enterprise to Nimbus III. After their adventure on Sha Ka Ree and Sybok's death, Kirk referred to Spock once again as his "brother," and told him and McCoy that they were his real family. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

When Spock later entered the alternate reality, he told the James T. Kirk of that reality of their deep friendship, despite the fact that the alternate Spock had marooned Kirk on Delta Vega. During this meeting, Spock called the alternate Kirk "old friend" several times and felt it was good to see a version of James Kirk despite the terrible events of that day. Kirk, who had been accused of cheating on the Kobayashi Maru by the alternate Spock, told Spock Prime that his actions in changing history could be construed as cheating. Spock nostalgically admitted that it was "a trick I learned from an old friend," referencing the prime Kirk.

When meeting with his alternate reality counterpart, Spock Prime admitted to deceiving the alternate Kirk to force him and the alternate Spock to work together to defeat Nero rather than intervening in the situation himself to make both men see the potential of their friendship. Spock Prime explained it as "I could not deprive you of the revelation of all that you could accomplish together, of a friendship that will define you both in ways you cannot yet realize." He then encouraged the alternate Spock to stay in Starfleet and foster that friendship, something Spock ultimately chose to do. (Star Trek)

In 2263 of the alternate reality, the alternate Spock discovered that even so long after Kirk's death, Spock Prime kept a picture of him and the bridge crew of the Enterprise-A amongst his personal things. (Star Trek Beyond)

A scripted but ultimately unused conversation between Kirk and Spock was included in the final revised draft teleplay of TOS: "The Conscience of the King". In that discussion, Kirk remarked that he was "touched" by Spock being concerned about the efficiency of the Enterprise.

According to the script for The Wrath of Khan, after taking the Kobayashi Maru test for the third time, Spock said to Kirk that his solution would not have occurred to a Vulcan mentality. This would have implied that Kirk and Spock knew each other since the late 2250s, and that Spock was at the Academy. [3] As it was, this information was not in the theatrical or director's cut of the film. In the film Star Trek, the alternate Spock programmed the scenario and leveled charges of cheating against Kirk.

Another scripted but never executed moment was when, in the first draft script of Star Trek Generations, Kirk learned from Picard that Spock was an ambassador in the 24th century. His response to Picard was, "Spock's an Ambassador? What have things come to?" He then paused before concluding, "I can see I'm needed in your century."

In an ultimately unused line of dialogue from the script of the aforementioned film Star Trek, Spock made reference to Kirk Prime upon reacting to the Kirk of the alternate reality clearly looking confused by a particular regulation. In reply, Spock said, "Yes. I forget what little regard you had for such things." [4]

Leonard McCoy

Kirk McCoy drink 2266

Sharing a drink in 2266

Doctor Leonard McCoy became chief medical officer of the Enterprise after the departure of Dr. Mark Piper in 2265. Kirk formed an easy rapport with his new doctor, giving him the moniker "Bones" (as in the old-fashioned colloquialism "sawbones" for a doctor or a surgeon). Even after McCoy began a program of exhaustive (and exhausting) quarterly physicals and interfered with Kirk's usual diet, their friendship grew rapidly. McCoy was probably Kirk's closest friend, aside, of course, from Spock. (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver")

The demands of Kirk's career required his best possible health, which Dr. McCoy closely oversaw. Kirk sparred with his crew in the Enterprise gymnasium for exercise. Quarterly physical checks tested his physical fitness as well as general health. In spite of his evident strength and conditioning, Kirk did tend to put on extra weight from time to time. Whenever Dr. McCoy noticed such a gain, he was unafraid to adjust Kirk's diet card, at least once annoying his captain with a plate of dietary salad. (TOS: "Charlie X", "The Corbomite Maneuver")

Kirk could count on McCoy to express exactly what he thought, whenever he thought it, frequently without the courtesy of a question, and the doctor was often the sharpest observer of Kirk's actions and character. An early act of constructive insubordination occurred when the Enterprise faced the ominous spacecraft Fesarius and Kirk seemed to be pushing young Lieutenant Dave Bailey past his breaking point. McCoy let his opinion loose from beside the captain's chair, and Kirk barked an angry reply--but this led Kirk to realize that poker, not chess as Spock had postulated, was the game he and Commander Balok were really playing. Unintimidated by that angered reply to his unrestrained expression of opinion, McCoy continued that behavior throughout their service together, earning a wide latitude with Kirk. (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver")

The first time McCoy saved Kirk's life, however, was not in surgery, but instead when McCoy fired a phaser (which itself was unusual for McCoy) in 2266. When the M-113 creature of planet M-113 attacked Kirk, it appeared to McCoy as Nancy Crater, a past love and a particularly powerful impediment to inflict harm. With Spock's help, McCoy was able to see past the creature's camouflage, killing it before it killed Kirk. (TOS: "The Man Trap")

In an ultimately unused line of dialogue from the final draft script of TOS: "Dagger of the Mind", Kirk complained to McCoy, "I wish you'd make up your mind. One minute a bleeding humanitarian, the next a cynic..."

During the original five-year mission, Kirk recorded a tape of last orders Commander Spock and Chief Medical Officer McCoy were to play upon his death. He urged Spock and McCoy to give each other the same trust and loyalty they had each shown him. (TOS: "The Tholian Web")

Kirk and McCoy, 2270s

Kirk implores McCoy to rejoin the crew of the Enterprise

McCoy's retirement from Starfleet in 2270 ended abruptly when Kirk, through Admiral Nogura, reactivated McCoy's commission for the Enterprise's emergency deployment for the V'Ger crisis. Kirk's plea,""Damn it, Bones, I need you--BADLY," ended McCoy's objection to the unwelcome "draft" and he returned to his frequent duty station, hovering just behind the captain's chair. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

McCoy & Kirk

McCoy advises Kirk on the bridge

In 2285, McCoy advised a melancholic Kirk, while both were surrounded by Kirk's collection of genuine and simulated antiques, on his (Kirk's) birthday, "Get back your command. Get it back before you turn into part of this collection." He gestured to the collection and finished, "Before you really do grow old." (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

Kirk holds McCoy

Kirk holds McCoy in Spock's quarters

Kirk's drastic action taken to save Spock's katra was also an effort to save McCoy from the anguishing burden of bearing Spock's "marbles". After his moonlight requisition of the Enterprise resulted in the ship's destruction, burning through the Genesis planet's atmosphere, Kirk asked, "My God, Bones... what have I done?" McCoy replied, "What you had to do, what you always do: turn death into a fighting chance to live." (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

Kirk and McCoy, 2287

Kirk and McCoy in 2287

After the assassination of Klingon Chancellor Gorkon, Kirk and McCoy were imprisoned together on Rura Penthe. With the "help" of a shapeshifter named Martia, they were able to escape together and return to the Enterprise. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

Montgomery Scott

Montgomery Scott, the oldest of the Enterprise senior officers, was also the most consistently deferential to Kirk. While not included in Kirk's innermost circle with Spock and McCoy, Kirk had evident faith in Scotty's capabilities as an engineer. Kirk pushed the Enterprise past her known limits many times, and the technical genius of his devoutly loyal "miracle worker" was regularly the key to success.

He later admitted that a big part of his reputation was his exaggeration of repair estimates, so that Kirk could be pleasantly surprised when Scott has them done quicker than he had expected. It became a running joke of sorts between the two later on. Scott and Kirk shared a passion for the Enterprise, but Scotty's was a simpler, less complicated love for his "bairns". (TNG: "Relics"; TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before", "The Naked Time", "The Changeling", "The Paradise Syndrome", "Elaan of Troyius"; Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

As the ship's second officer, commanding the Enterprise while Kirk led a landing party, Scott's personal loyalty to Kirk served as a bulwark against various ambassadors or potentates who threatened mission success. Usually, Scott refrained from taking the captain's chair and hovered around the conn when left in command, as he always felt more comfortable in engineering than on the bridge in command of the ship. He took the center seat only when the situation was critical: scaring a Klingon ship away from Capella IV, or defiantly facing down three Romulan battle cruisers and demanding his captain's return. (TOS: "A Taste of Armageddon", "Bread and Circuses", "Friday's Child", "The Enterprise Incident")

Scott protests leaving Kirk behind

"Aye, captain." (2267)

When escape from the mirror universe via the transporter meant one of the Enterprise party had to stay behind to operate the controls, Scott stoically volunteered. After Kirk overrode him, Scott's one-word plea "Jim!" was one of the few times he familiarly addressed Kirk. (TOS: "Mirror, Mirror")

Scott kept his temper throughout Korax's barrage of taunts and insults thrown at Kirk, but a cross word about the Enterprise led Scott to throw the first punch in the K-7 bar-fight of 2267. When Kirk, a little incredulous that his engineer had failed to defend his honor, confined Scott to quarters as punishment, the engineer beamed at the chance to catch up on technical manuals. (TOS: "The Trouble with Tribbles")

Kirk observed Scott's infatuation with two young and attractive lieutenants, Carolyn Palamas and Mira Romaine, with bemused detachment at first, until the "stiff-necked thistle-head" abandoned his usual solid professionalism and required Kirk's stern, but affectionate, scolding. (TOS: "Who Mourns for Adonais?", "The Lights of Zetar")

James T

Kirk with Scott during a power drain crisis in 2269

Kirk's socialization with Scott outside of the call of duty was rare. One exception, a visit to the flesh-pots of Argelius II, was a morale-boosting effort by Kirk on Scott's behalf. If Scott noticed the motivation, he didn't seem to care. Even after the horrific encounter with the Redjac entity, the "old Aberdeen pub-crawler" was eager to join Kirk on a second expedition to the planet. By 2285, Kirk knew enough about Scott's off-duty habits to detect the residue of a "wee bout" of shore leave at first glance. (TOS: "Wolf in the Fold"; Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

Kirk & Scott

"…she'll be ready." (2270s)

When the V'Ger threat forced the newly refitted Enterprise into duty, Scott protested with a litany of complaints about the rush and unready state of the starship. After Kirk revealed he had convinced Admiral Nogura to return his command, Scott responded, "Any man, who could manage such a feat... I would'na dare disappoint. She'll launch on time, sir, and she'll be ready." (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

In 2293, Scott accompanied Kirk, along with Chekov, to the christening ceremony of the Enterprise-B. Kirk expressed to Scott his surprise over Sulu finding the time to make a family after encountering his daughter Demora. Scott reminded Kirk of a saying he always said, "If something's important, you make the time." Scott also commented on Kirk's seeming restlessness, asking him if he found retirement to be a little lonely. "You know, I'm glad you're an engineer. With tact like that, you'd make a lousy psychiatrist", Kirk replied to him. Later, Kirk was believed to be lost in a hull breach in deflector control caused by an energy tendril from the Nexus. Making his way to the heavily damaged area, Scott mourned the loss of his former commanding officer. (Star Trek Generations)

Upon being rematerialized in 2369 after spending 75 years in the USS Jenolan's transporter buffer, by the Enterprise-D, to Scott's surprise that he was found by the Enterprise, Scott's immediate response was, "The Enterprise! I should have known! I bet Jim Kirk himself hauled the old girl out of mothballs to come looking for me." (TNG: "Relics")

Hikaru Sulu

Sulu and Kirk, 2267

Sulu, together with Kirk on the Shore Leave Planet

Though Hikaru Sulu was briefly an Enterprise physicist, he was transferred to the command division under Kirk's command, where Sulu became the ship's senior helmsman throughout the historic five-year mission. (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before", "The Corbomite Maneuver") Kirk relied on Sulu as a capable officer he could trust with the Enterprise conn in battle situations (TOS: "Arena", "Errand of Mercy", "The Savage Curtain") and on away missions as delicate as the timeline-risky visit to the US 498th Airbase Group in Omaha, Nebraska, on Earth in 1969. (TOS: "Tomorrow is Yesterday")

Hikaru Sulu and James T

Sulu with Kirk in the 2270s

Sulu risked his career for Kirk on two occasions. Conspiring with his friends, he assaulted a security guard to liberate Dr. McCoy, and piloted the stolen Enterprise out of Earth Spacedock to the Genesis planet in 2285. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock) As captain of the Excelsior in 2293, he penetrated the Azure Nebula in Klingon territory in an effort to rescue his former captain before he was forced to turn back, (VOY: "Flashback") and he later joined Kirk in halting the Khitomer conspiracy. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

Outside of their careers, however, the friendship between Kirk and Sulu was not especially close. Kirk was surprised to discover Sulu had a daughter, Demora, on the maiden voyage of the Enterprise-B. Chekov had to remind him that he had actually met her before, twelve years prior. (Star Trek Generations)

In a deleted scene from "The Corbomite Maneuver", Kirk asked Sulu, "Has it ever occurred to you you're not a very inscrutable Oriental, Mr. Sulu?" ("Inside the Roddenberry Vault, Part I", Star Trek: The Original Series - The Roddenberry Vault special features)

Janice Rand

Rand and Kirk during Romulan attack

Kirk holds Janice close (2266)

Starfleet assigned Janice Rand as Kirk's personal yeoman in 2266. Initially, he complained about the idea of a female yeoman, leading McCoy to ask flatly, "What's the matter, Jim? Don't you trust yourself?" Kirk said he already had a female to worry about, and that the Enterprise was that female. Kirk warmed to Rand, but an undercurrent of sexual attraction between the two became obvious in stressful situations. Suffering from polywater intoxication in 2266, Kirk confided his attraction for Rand to Spock, shouting that he had "a beautiful yeoman!" Kirk later reached out to her hesitantly, longing for her, but he could not approach her on account of his duty. (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver", "The Naked Time")

A transporter malfunction created a duplicate of the captain that contained his negative qualities, such as hostility, lust, and violence. That version of Kirk was consumed with lust and desire for Rand and went "on the prowl" to find her. Eventually, when they both were alone in her quarters, he slowly approached her. Besides being a little startled by his presence, it looked and felt normal for her, until she noticed the captain drinking from a bottle of Saurian brandy.

Obviously drunk, he started telling her that she was "too beautiful to ignore" and "too much woman." As he stalked closer to her, he claimed that they'd both been "pretending too long." Then, he suddenly grabbed her and began kissing her fiercely. The Kirk duplicate tried to pin her to the floor to rape her. But Rand defended herself, leaving a large scratch on her attacker's face, which helped the crew differentiate between the two Kirk "halves." After the situation was resolved, Rand continued as Kirk's yeoman until a reassignment in 2267. She returned to the Enterprise as transporter chief in the 2270s. (TOS: "The Enemy Within", "The Conscience of the King"; Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Kirk and Rand repeatedly felt an attraction for one another, but resisted discussing or acting on their feelings openly. During one mission, Rand, Kirk and other members of a landing party were trapped on a planet where only children survived; adults quickly developed a deadly virus which had been accidentally created by a life prolongation project on the planet. When Rand became upset, Kirk held her close in his arms and comforted her. Miri, a teenage girl whom the team had befriended, witnessed this and became jealous.

She felt that Rand was her "competition" and briefly betrayed the landing party by letting the other children abduct Rand. The captain's love for Rand became obvious when he was under stress from the disease, as he became distraught and obsessed in finding "his Janice," even grabbing Miri and shouting, "Where is she, Miri? Where is she, Miri? Where's Janice? Has something happened to her? Where is she? I've got to find Janice!"

Back aboard the Main Bridge, Kirk admitted, acknowledging that Miri's true age was far older than it appeared to be, "I never get involved with older women, Yeoman." Rand threw him an "Oh, really?" look in response. (TOS: "Miri")

In a deleted scene from "The Conscience of the King", Kirk told Lenore Karidian that his relationship with Yeoman Rand was "strictly business," but Lenore thought otherwise, believing that Kirk was naive about women and was unaware of Rand's true feelings for him. ("Swept Up: Snippets from the Cutting Room Floor," Star Trek: The Original Series - The Roddenberry Vault special features) In the version of the scene from the episode's final revised draft script, Kirk accepted Lenore saying Rand was "quite lovely," adding "and very efficient."

Ben Finney

When Kirk was a midshipman, he befriended Academy instructor Lieutenant Ben Finney. Some time later, Ensign Kirk and Finney served together aboard the USS Republic. The two became so close that Finney named his daughter, Jame, after Kirk.

A rift developed between the two friends while aboard the Republic when Kirk logged a mistake that Finney had made which could have caused the destruction of the ship. Because of this, Finney was put on reprimand and his name was sent to the bottom of the promotion list. Finney blamed Kirk for his subsequent inability to gain a command of his own.

Though their friendship was effectively over, Lieutenant Commander Finney served aboard the Enterprise in 2267, as records officer. Kirk was unaware that Finney's old grudge had been growing larger over the years, and Finney had passed into madness. To take his revenge, he staged his own death and manufactured evidence of Kirk's negligence. Finney was successful to a point, and Kirk became the first Federation Starfleet starship commander brought before a court martial. With the help of the eccentric lawyer Samuel T. Cogley and Spock, Finney's deception was revealed and charges against Kirk were lifted. Finney was arrested and faced trial, represented by Cogley. (TOS: "Court Martial")

Jean-Luc Picard

Picard burying Kirk

Kirk's body buried by Picard

Although their association was brief, James T. Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard had profound personal effects on one another. Very much like Spock and Leonard McCoy, Picard was instrumental in helping Kirk find meaning in his life after his greatest adventures were essentially over. In fact, it could be argued that Picard was one of the most significant persons in Kirk's entire life, as he embarked on his final adventure with him and passed away knowing that he had "made a difference." Picard laid Kirk to rest on that obscure planet and was his lone mourner. (Star Trek Generations)


Often described as a ladies' man, Kirk was notably successful in attracting women, and enthusiastic in their pursuit, yet notoriously unsuccessful in establishing any lasting relationships with women – a fact his brother Sam tended to warn women about. (SNW: "Lost in Translation") By design or coincidence, his most significant affairs were with women fundamentally incompatible with his life in Starfleet. In weighing the balance of starship versus a settled home life, the gross tonnage of the Enterprise usually tipped the scale. (TOS: "The Naked Time", "Elaan of Troyius")

As Kirk became more and more well-known, these exploits became the stuff of legend; when Jadzia Dax, upon seeing Kirk while aboard the Enterprise during the Defiant crew's trip over a hundred years into their past, mentioned how much more handsome "he" was in person, Captain Sisko responded that Kirk had "quite the reputation" in terms of his dealing with women – though Dax then admitted that the "he" to whom she had referred was actually Spock. (DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations")

While attending the Academy, Kirk was romantically involved with at least two women.


Ruth (amusement park planet)

Ruth, as she appeared in 2252

In 2252, another lover was a woman named Ruth. In 2267, he was greeted by a replica of Ruth that the Shore Leave Planet, in the Omicron Delta region, created. (TOS: "Shore Leave")

In an ultimately unused line of dialogue from the script of "Shore Leave", the details of how Kirk's relationship with Ruth ended were specified, as the replica of her reminded him that, after his graduation and "first star cruise," he thought he'd "lost" her.

Janice Lester

Janice Lester

Janice Lester

Kirk had a year-long relationship with Janice Lester while she also was at the Academy. He professed loving her, but the romance ended badly after "the intense hatred of her own womanhood made life with her impossible." The two were reunited in a truly bizarre manner in 2269, when Lester, extremely jealous of Kirk's successful career, traded her consciousness with that of Kirk's to take his place as captain of the Enterprise and then exact a double revenge by killing both Kirk and her womanhood. (TOS: "Shore Leave", "Turnabout Intruder")

In the late 2250s, as an instructor at the Academy, Lieutenant Kirk was romantically involved with a "blonde lab technician" whom Gary Mitchell had introduced him to. His relationship with her grew serious, as he almost married her. (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before")

La'an Noonien-Singh

Kirk first met La'an Noonien-Singh in 2259 when Singh contacted Kirk on the pretense of confirming his brother's place of birth, after her adventures with another alternate timeline version of Kirk. He later invited her for drinks if they were ever to meet at starbase. (SNW: "Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow")

They officially met later on when Kirk transported aboard the Enterprise. Kirk revealed to her details of his childhood and reminded La'an that she still owed him a drink. (SNW: "Lost in Translation")

After they worked together trying to eliminate the subspace fold, La'an confessed to Kirk that she had fallen in love with an alternate version of him. She told him that she also liked the way Kirk looked at her now, but he said that while he felt a connection with her as well, he was presently in a relationship with Carol Marcus. (SNW: "Subspace Rhapsody")

Carol Marcus

Carol Marcus, 2285

Carol Marcus in 2285

Kirk was involved with Dr. Carol Marcus in the late 2250s. She was stationed at Starbase 1 in 2259 and was pregnant at the time. (SNW: "Subspace Rhapsody") She bore his son, David Marcus, but the relationship dissolved as their careers drove them apart. In 2285, the fractured family unit was briefly reunited. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan;)

It has been suggested (such as in the Star Trek Chronology, 1st ed., p. 151 & 2nd ed., p. 268) that the "little blonde lab technician" mentioned in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" may, in fact, have been Carol Marcus.

Janet Wallace

Janet Wallace

janet Wallace

Kirk was involved with the future Janet Wallace in 2261; this relationship was also called off due to their difference in careers. (TOS: "The Deadly Years")

Areel Shaw

Areel Shaw

Areel Shaw

In 2263, Kirk broke off a relationship with Areel Shaw. Kirk was reunited with Shaw four years later, when she was assigned as the prosecutor in his court martial, though Shaw was pleased when she lost the case and Kirk was exonerated of any wrongdoing. (TOS: "Court Martial")

In an ultimately excised scene extension from the script of "Court Martial", Kirk retorted to Shaw wishing him "good luck" in finding Benjamin Finney that her comment "[wasn't] very professional" and that he had been under the impression that she "wanted [his] neck." When Shaw replied, "In one piece. Be careful," Kirk merely smiled.

Helen Noel

Kirk's false Christmas memory of Noel

Noel's falsely implanted recollection

During an Enterprise lab's Christmas party in 2265, Kirk met Dr. Helen Noel and danced with her. He used her first name to address her and engaged in brief flirtation with Noel that ended unsatisfactorily for Kirk. He later exhibited irritation when McCoy assigned her to help Kirk investigate Tantalus Penal Colony, and Kirk insisted on using her surname while working with her. Testing the neural neutralizer, Noel conditioned Kirk to believe that their previous encounter had been a sweeping romance. The colony's mad doctor, Tristan Adams, used the suggestion of love and loss of Noel to torture Kirk. (TOS: "Dagger of the Mind")

The final draft script of "Dagger of the Mind" made it clear that, at the party, Kirk presumed Noel was one of the ship's passengers, which led to "something" between them "that night." Specifically, Kirk was interested in her but, because so many of his crewmembers were present, he couldn't act on those feelings.

Janice Rand

James Kirk forcefully grabs Janice Rand

The "evil" Captain Kirk and Yeoman Rand

In 2266, the evil side of Kirk tried to assault and seduce Yeoman Rand. (TOS: "The Enemy Within")




Also in 2266, Kirk met a girl called Miri, who was soon about to enter puberty, despite being about 300 years old chronologically speaking. Kirk piqued her interest by calling her "pretty" when they first met, and they went on to develop a close friendship. When the Enterprise left Miri (where Miri lived) shortly thereafter, Janice Rand told Kirk that Miri had really loved him. He accepted that, but said that he never got involved with older women. (TOS: "Miri")

In ultimately unused dialogue from the final draft script of "Miri", Kirk concluded that Miri was "a very nice kid... even if she was old enough to be my great-grandmother ten times removed."

Lenore Karidian

Lenore Karidian


Later the same year, while on Planet Q, Kirk met Lenore Karidian at a party and entered into a brief romance with the then-nineteen-year-old blonde girl. As with many of Kirk's love affairs, the two fell in "love at first sight." Kirk was clearly enamored with Lenore, but the true depth of his feelings – and the importance of those feelings relative to his duties as a captain – were conveyed only through insinuation.

When Leonard McCoy directly asked Kirk whether he really cared for the hopelessly insane Lenore, the captain paused pensively, then evaded the question with a navigational order: "Ahead warp factor one, Mr. Leslie." McCoy's reply, "That's an answer," presumably indicated that he understood Kirk's unstated position: as captain, Kirk's priority was always the ship, despite his personal feelings for women such as Lenore. (TOS: "The Conscience of the King")

Kirk was featured with Lenore in a deleted scene from "The Conscience of the King". At one point, he complimented her on being "a very unusual woman." Later in the same scene, they shared a small kiss. Kirk responded by asking Lenore if that had been "a rehearsal," to which she called it "a performance, dear captain," and they then embraced in a more passionate kiss. ("Swept Up: Snippets from the Cutting Room Floor", Star Trek: The Original Series - The Roddenberry Vault special features) In the final version of the episode, only the second of the two kisses is shown. Kirk's interaction with Lenore in this scene was much the same in the version of the scene from the final revised draft script of "The Conscience of the King", though that version featured slightly more dialogue between them. In the script, when Lenore asked Kirk if he was like the Enterprise (containing a lot of power, surging and throbbing, yet under control), he replied, "I hope I impress you more as a man than a machine," to which Lenore concluded he was an "intriguing combination of both."

Edith Keeler

Edith Keeler and Jim Kirk

Edith Keeler in 1930

In 2267, Kirk and Spock traveled back to the 1930s to repair damage to the timeline Leonard McCoy accidentally caused. While searching for McCoy, Kirk met and fell in love with the compassionate and far-seeing social worker Edith Keeler. Keeler's death was found to be the focal point in history needing repair. As she crossed a street to meet Kirk, he was forced to hold McCoy back while an automobile struck and killed her, thus restoring the timeline. (TOS: "The City on the Edge of Forever")




In 2267, the alien Sylvia tried to seduce Kirk into giving her the transmuter. (TOS: "Catspaw")

Marlena Moreau

Marlena Moreau, mirror


After 2267, Kirk had a near romance with Marlena Moreau. (TOS: "Mirror, Mirror")




In 2268, while Kirk, Spock, and McCoy were held captive in a 20th century Roman Empire, a slave woman named Drusilla "seduced" Kirk. (TOS: "Bread and Circuses") In The Autobiography of James T. Kirk, Drusilla had a son named Eugenio (β), whom McCoy believed to be Kirk's son from their intimate time together.}}




In the line of duty, to recover the Enterprise hijacked by Kelvans in 2268, Kirk seduced Kelinda, in order to arouse jealously in her commander, Rojan. Kelinda recognized Kirk's attempt at seduction, but welcomed his continued efforts. (TOS: "By Any Other Name")


Elaan and Kirk kissing

Kirk kissing Elaan

On a peace mission to the war-torn Tellun system in 2268, the Enterprise transported Elaan, Dohlman of Elas, to her diplomatically-arranged wedding on Troyius. Kirk's antagonistic relationship with the arrogant and spoiled Dohlman changed sharply after her Elasian tears infected him. Under their powerful biochemical influence, Kirk became instantly and deeply infatuated with Elaan. He ultimately resisted the more compelling effects of the tears and fulfilled his duties, but both Elaan and Kirk experienced a tangible sense of loss at their melancholy final parting. (TOS: "Elaan of Troyius")



Miramanee in 2268

In 2268, on the surface of the Amerind planet, an accident induced amnesia in Kirk and separated him from the Enterprise landing party.

For several months, Kirk lived among the Native American inhabitants, worshiped as a god called "Kirok". His mind at ease from the pressures of command, he took a wife, Miramanee, who became pregnant with his child.

When the tribal worship of Kirok was dispelled, he and Miramanee were stoned – fatally injuring both the young woman and their unborn child. (TOS: "The Paradise Syndrome")


Kirk and shahna

Kirk "helps" Shahna

In 2268, when captured for the gladiatorial combats of Triskelion, Kirk was assigned to the tutelage of the drill-thrall Shahna. Kirk introduced Shahna to the wider universe around her, and the Human concept of love. (TOS: "The Gamesters of Triskelion")


Deela (Scalosian)

Queen Deela

Deela was queen of the (infertile) male Scalosians who hijacked the Enterprise in 2268. They planned to use the male members of the ship's crew as a gene pool so her species could continue. Deela choose Kirk as her consort, who, along with the help of Spock, was able to stop her plan. (TOS: "Wink of an Eye")


In 2269, the criminally-insane, pathologically-lying Orion inmate of the Elba II penal colony, Marta, became infatuated with Kirk while tending to him after torture. The fact that she loved him meant she had to kill him, but she failed in the attempt. Garth of Izar's jealousy led him to use Marta as a demonstration of a new explosive, killing her. (TOS: "Whom Gods Destroy")


Kirk and Odana

Kirk and Odona kissing

Prime Minister Hodin of Gideon, a world greatly suffering from overpopulation, abducted Kirk and forced him to spend time isolated with his daughter, Odona, in 2269. As a carrier of Vegan choriomeningitis, it was hoped Kirk would infect Odona, and the rest of the population. The couple became quite affectionate in their time spent together, though Odona said Kirk "behaved like a perfect gentleman." (TOS: "The Mark of Gideon")

Rayna Kapec

Rayna Kapec

Rayna Kapec in 2269

In 2269, Kirk's encounter with the near-immortal Flint led to their competition for the love of the android Rayna Kapec, and resulted in her destruction. Kirk was heartbroken. Spock took an extraordinary liberty with his grieving friend, melding with Kirk without his consent, whispering the word "forget". (TOS: "Requiem for Methuselah")


Lynn Salvatori


Kirk fell in love with Antonia after his first retirement from Starfleet in 2281. The two lived together for some time before Kirk decided to rejoin Starfleet. Later in life, he regretted not having proposed to her. He would later be reunited with a life like illusion of Antonia during his 75 years in the Nexus, which was, from a chronological standpoint, his longest-lasting romance. (Star Trek Generations)


Kirk and Martia kiss

Kirk kissing Martia on Rura Penthe

In 2293, Martia had a brief romance with Kirk to put him off his guard so he and McCoy could be killed trying to escape. When he expressed his disgust over having kissed her, she, while in his form, quipped, "Must have been your lifelong ambition!" (However, it turned out to be Martia who was ultimately double-crossed and killed.) (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)


Khan Noonien Singh

Khan and Kirk, 2267

Khan and Kirk on the Enterprise in 2267

One of the most violent rivalries of his life was the bitter feud between himself and 20th century Augment dictator Khan Noonien Singh.

In 2267, the Enterprise discovered Singh and his followers aboard the SS Botany Bay and awakened them. Unaware of Khan's true identity, Khan took advantage of Kirk's hospitality to familiarize himself with the ship and its systems. After identifying Khan, Kirk had him restricted to quarters, prompting Khan to implement his plan to seize control of the Enterprise.

With the help of Lieutenant Marla McGivers, Khan assumed control of the Enterprise. The augments were eventually subdued with anesthetic gas, causing Kirk and Khan to engage in hand-to-hand combat. Realizing he was no match for Khan's augment strength, Kirk subdued him with a heavy flow-control rod. After defeating Khan and his followers, Kirk exiled them to the then habitable world of Ceti Alpha V. (TOS: "Space Seed")

Khan later sought revenge against Kirk after McGivers had died in exile. By that time, Ceti Alpha V had lost its ability to support much of the life it had once sustained. To exact his revenge, Khan hijacked the USS Reliant and stole the Genesis terraformation torpedo, whose research and development team included Kirk's old flame Carol Marcus and his bitter, resentful son by Carol, David Marcus. The torpedo's detonation aboard the Reliant, while it was inside the Mutara Nebula, killed Khan and those who were left of his people. But the Enterprise, and Kirk, barely managed to escape the torpedo's blast radius. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)


Kirk would more than once cross paths with the Klingon officer Kor. They first encountered each other on Organia during the 2267 Federation-Klingon War. Kirk was posing as a native of the planet when Kor declared himself its military governor. Kor was immediately drawn to Kirk, admiring his spirit compared to the passive Organians, and appointed him as his liaison. He would not learn Kirk's real identity until after Kirk and Spock had destroyed his supply depot. Kor noted he would have liked to face Kirk in battle and, even though he planned to have him executed and to use the mind scanner on him, joined him for a drink, where he noted his admiration for Starfleet and claimed they were alike despite their ideological differences.

After Kirk had been freed by the Organians, he again confronted Kor in his office. Kor managed to surreptitiously summon his guards but it was at that point that the Organians intervened, preventing combat between both the troops on the surface and the fleets in orbit. Kirk and Kor found themselves temporarily united in protest against the Organians' interference but Kirk accepted the situation quicker than Kor, restraining him from attempting to attack the non-corporeal beings. (TOS: "Errand of Mercy")

They would meet again in 2269, when Kor's ship the IKS Klothos exchanged fire with the Enterprise in the Delta Triangle shortly before both ships were pulled into the alternate dimension known as Elysia. Again, their battle was halted by an outside agency, this time by the ruling council who had forbidden violence in the area. Kirk convinced Kor that their two ships should work together in an attempt to escape the region but Kor planned to destroy the Enterprise afterwards, planting a bomb to detonate when the Enterprise went to warp eight. The attempt failed and Kor quickly left the scene, taking credit for the escape with the Klingons. (TAS: "The Time Trap")

Time travel

Several of Kirk's voyages involved travel through time, either personally through time portals or along with the entire starship Enterprise via acceleration through gravity wells. According to the Federation's Department of Temporal Investigations, Kirk, who sometimes ignored regulations when he felt it was for the greater good, amassed seventeen separate temporal violations during his career, more than any other person on file as of 2373.

His time-travel exploits were well-known enough that, when Sisko, after he and his crew returned to the 24th century, told Dulmur and Lucsly that the vessel they had encountered in the past was the first Enterprise, the two DTI investigators shrugged at the realization that it was "his" ship, which Sisko proudly confirmed. Kirk was regarded by DTI as a "menace". (DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations")

Earth's 20th century

Kirk and crew visited 20th century Earth on multiple occasions during his captaincy.

Guardian of Forever, 2267

The Guardian of Forever

In 2267, after experiencing violent time distortions, the Enterprise discovered the source, the Guardian of Forever. McCoy, delusional from an accidental cordrazine overdose, entered the time portal, altering history to the extent that the Federation and the Enterprise no longer existed. Kirk and Spock followed McCoy, appearing in 1930 New York City on Earth. Kirk found himself and Spock shelter in exchange for work, falling in love with a beautiful, idealistic benefactor, Edith Keeler. After Spock discovered that McCoy had prevented history's recorded death of Keeler, he was forced to restrain the doctor from saving her life again while Kirk watched Keeler die and himself avoid doing anything to save her life, the price for restoring the timeline. (TOS: "The City on the Edge of Forever")

When the Enterprise traveled back in time from 2267 to Earth of 1969 but was accidentally observed by the United States Air Force, Kirk, with Sulu, beamed down to a military base in Omaha, Nebraska, to destroy photographic evidence of the Enterprise's appearance. By warping around the sun's gravity well in a slingshot maneuver, Kirk and his crew managed to rectify the situation, cause the incident to "unhappen," and return to their own time aboard the Enterprise. (TOS: "Tomorrow is Yesterday") While formulating a means of escaping an alternate timeline created by Q's manipulations of the past, Admiral Jean-Luc Picard referenced Kirk's intentional time travels, using this maneuver, prior to attempting it themselves aboard the CSS La Sirena in visiting the past from 2401. (PIC: "Penance")

Spock and Kirk, 1968

Kirk, with Spock in 1968

In 2268, Kirk was ordered to repeat the recently proven slingshot maneuver, taking the Enterprise back to 1968 on a mission of historical observation. Intercepting enigmatic agent Gary Seven, Kirk attempted to stop his interference but eventually cooperated with Seven's effort to avert a nuclear exchange between the United States of America and the Soviet Union. (TOS: "Assignment: Earth") After arriving in 2024, using the slingshot maneuver, Picard recalled Kirk's encounter with Seven after learning of Tallinns similar credentials as a watcher. (PIC: "Fly Me to the Moon")

See also: The Whale Probe crisis, The Nexus

Other temporal events

A visit to the planet Sarpeidon, doomed by its sun's impending nova, revealed that the Sarpeidans had escaped en masse into their own planet's past via their Atavachron time portal. The harried and ubiquitous Atoz mistook Kirk, Spock, and McCoy for tardy natives, and he thrust them into the planet's past. (TOS: "All Our Yesterdays")

In 2269, Kirk and Spock used the Guardian of Forever a second time, on a mission of historical observation to the dawn of Orion civilization. Upon their return, no-one but Kirk recognized Spock as the Enterprise first officer. Supposedly killed in his childhood, Spock returned to the Vulcan of his youth, playing the role of a nearly forgotten cousin who had saved his life during the kahs-wan, a Vulcan coming-of-age ordeal. (TAS: "Yesteryear")

Alternate timelines

Captain of the UEF Enterprise

James T

United Earth Fleet Captain James T. Kirk in an alternate 2259

In the alternate timeline created where Khan Noonien Singh was killed by the Romulan Sera, Kirk was born on the USS Iowa, and was (still) the brother of George Samuel Kirk, who had died sometime prior to 2259.

Kirk once claimed he spent six months in a Denobulan prison with a Vulcan cellmate. He learned the Vulcan neck pinch from this person, as well as how to make Plomeek soup in a toilet.

James T

Kirk dying of a gunshot wound in 2022

He joined the United Earth Fleet and by 2259, was captain of the UEF Enterprise. After La'an Noonien-Singh was transported aboard his ship from the prime timeline, Kirk was inadvertently brought back in time with her to 2022 Toronto, the point of divergence between their two timelines. Although initially skeptical of her intention to restore her timeline, he was persuaded to help her when he learned that not only was Earth a paradise, but that Sam was still alive. As they attempted to prevent history from being changed, Kirk was killed by the Romulan temporal agent Sera, before La'an succeeded in restoring the original timeline. (SNW: "Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow")

Captain of the USS Farragut

USS Farragut bridge, alt 2266

Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Farragut in an alternate 2266

In an alternate timeline where Captain Christopher Pike remained in command of the Enterprise and avoided the accident that exposed him to delta radiation, Kirk became the captain of the Farragut. In 2266, he responded to the distress call sent by Outpost 4 as it came under Romulan attack. At Kirk's suggestion, the Farragut and the Enterprise shadowed the Romulan Bird-of-Prey responsible, preparing to engage it in a pincer move once it entered the tail of the comet Icarus IV and became temporarily visible through its cloaking device.

James T Kirk, alternate 2266

James T. Kirk in an alternate 2266.

However, the Romulan Commander had anticipated their plan and positioned his vessel behind the Farragut. Kirk ordered his ship to turn and engage the Bird-of-Prey, but the Farragut was hit by a plasma torpedo at close range and sustained catastrophic damage to its saucer section. With life support failing, the surviving crew were evacuated to the Enterprise, including Kirk. After Pike negotiated a ceasefire, Kirk piloted a shuttlecraft for reinforcements, returning with a fleet of drone ships to bluff the Romulan armada that had appeared.

When the Romulans attacked the Enterprise, Kirk used his drone fleet to cover the Enterprise until its engines could be repaired, beaming back aboard moments before the Enterprise jumped to warp. Pike was impressed by Kirk and told the young captain that he would make a good captain for the Enterprise. Pike got to know Kirk briefly before using a time crystal to return to his own time where he changed the events that led to this timeline. However, the encounter led to Pike taking an interest in Kirk in his own timeline. (SNW: "A Quality of Mercy")

Thelin's commanding officer

In an alternate timeline created where Spock was killed in 2237 when he was seven years old, Kirk had assumed command of the USS Enterprise by 2265 and chosen the Andorian Thelin as his first officer. (TAS: "Yesteryear")

Awards and honors

James Kirk, dress uniform

Kirk in dress uniform 2267

Palm Leaf of Axanar Peace Mission
Grankite Order of Tactics (Class of Excellence)
Preantares Ribbon of Commendation (Classes First and Second)
Starfleet Medal of Honor
Silver Palm with Cluster
Starfleet Citation for Conspicuous Gallantry
Karagite Order of Heroism (TOS: "Court Martial")
Leonard James AkaarThe Teer of Capella IV bears the first names of Leonard McCoy and James T. Kirk. (TOS: "Friday's Child")
USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-A) – A starship was re-christened in recognition of his service, bearing the registration number of his original command, an honor carried on for generations. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, et al.)

Key dates

  • 2270: Promoted to Rear Admiral and assigned as Chief of Starfleet Operations.
  • Mid-2270s: Accepted temporary grade reduction to Captain and assumed command of USS Enterprise to intercept V'ger.
  • 2281: Retires from Starfleet.
  • 2282: Meets Antonia and enjoys a romantic relationship with her until choosing to resume his Starfleet career instead of marrying her – a decision he later regrets.
  • 2284: Returns to Starfleet as an instructor at Starfleet Academy.
  • 2285: Assumes temporary command of the Enterprise during a routine training mission, engages Khan Noonien Singh in the Battle of the Mutara Nebula. Deserts from Starfleet later that year to retrieve body of Captain Spock from the Genesis Planet.
  • 2286: Returns to Earth to face court martial charges. Subsequently, saves the planet in the Whale Probe incident. Demoted to captain for disobeying orders of Starfleet Commander Morrow and assigned to command the USS Enterprise-A.
  • 2287: Takes the Enterprise-A to the center of the galaxy after Vulcan renegade Sybok hijacked the ship.
  • 2293: Along with Captain Hikaru Sulu of the USS Excelsior, was responsible for saving the Khitomer Conference: retired from Starfleet and was presumed killed later that year during the maiden voyage of the USS Enterprise-B.
  • 2371: Jean-Luc Picard finds Kirk alive inside the Nexus. Killed while defeating Tolian Soran's plans and saving planet Veridian IV.

Memorable quotes

The wit and wisdom of Starfleet Captain James T. Kirk.

Existential Kirk

"Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before."

- Kirk's opening speech (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before") Listen to this quote file info

"Above all else, a god needs COMPASSION!"

- Kirk, to Gary Mitchell (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before")

"I wanna live! I wanna live!"

- Kirk's double, about to be reintegrated with his other self (TOS: "The Enemy Within")

"This vessel... I give, she takes. She won't permit me my life, I've got to live hers."

- Kirk, on the Enterprise (TOS: "The Naked Time")

"No beach to walk on."

- Kirk on the life of a starship captain (TOS: "The Naked Time")

"Don't tell me that again, Science Officer! It's a theory; it's possible! We may go up in the biggest ball of fire since the last sun in these parts exploded, but we've got to take that one-in-ten-thousand chance!"

- Kirk, to Spock (TOS: "The Naked Time")

"Why me? I look around that bridge, and I see the men waiting for me to make the next move. And Bones...what if I'm wrong?"

- Kirk, to McCoy (TOS: "Balance of Terror")

"...Nothing is more important than my ship."

- Kirk, to Samuel Cogley (TOS: "Court Martial")

"You said you wanted freedom. It's time you learned that freedom is never a gift; it has to be earned."

- Kirk, to Reger and Marplon (TOS: "The Return of the Archons")

"Death, destruction, disease, horror--that's what war is all about! That's what makes it a thing to be avoided. You've made it neat and painless. So neat and painless you've had no reason to stop it. And you've had it for over five hundred years. Since it seems to be the only way I can save my crew and my ship, I'm gonna end it for you, one way or another."

- Kirk, to Anan 7 (TOS: "A Taste of Armageddon")

"All right. [War is] instinctive. But the instinct can be fought. We're Human beings with the blood of a million savage years on our hands, but we can stop it. We can admit that we're killers, but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill... today!"

- Kirk, to Anan 7 (TOS: "A Taste of Armageddon")

"It's a true Eden, Jim. There's belonging and love."
"No needs...we weren't meant for that. None of us. Man stagnates if he has no ambition, no desire to be more than he is."

- Spock and Kirk (TOS: "This Side of Paradise")

"Well, that's the second time man's been thrown out of paradise."
"No, no, Bones. This time we walked out on our own. Maybe we weren't meant for paradise. Maybe we were meant to fight our way through...struggle, claw our way up, scratch for every inch of the way. Maybe we can't stroll to the music of the lute--we must march to the sound of drums."

- McCoy and Kirk (TOS: "This Side of Paradise")

"Excuse me, Gentlemen... I'm a soldier, not a diplomat. I can only tell you the truth."

- Kirk to the Organian Council of Elders (TOS: "Errand of Mercy")

"Mankind has no need for gods. We find the one quite adequate."

- Kirk, to Apollo (TOS: "Who Mourns for Adonais?")

"Human flesh against Human flesh. We're the same. We share the same history, the same heritage, the same lives. We're tied together beyond any untying. Man or woman, it makes no difference... We're Human. We couldn't escape from each other even if we wanted to. That's how you do it, lieutenant. By remembering who and what you are. A bit of flesh and blood afloat in a universe without end. The only thing that's truly yours is the rest of Humanity. That's where our duty lies."

- Kirk, to Lieutenant Palamas (TOS: "Who Mourns for Adonais?")

"In every revolution, there's one man with a vision..."

- Kirk, to Mirror Spock (TOS: "Mirror, Mirror")

"What is a man but that lofty spirit, that sense of--enterprise? That devotion to something that cannot be sensed, cannot be realized, but only dreamed, the highest reality?"

- Kirk, to Norman (TOS: "I, Mudd")

"War isn't a good life, but it's life."

- Kirk, to McCoy (TOS: "A Private Little War")

"Do you know the one, 'all I ask is a tall ship...?'"
"It's very old."
"20th century Earth. 'All I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by.' You could feel the wind at your back in those days, the sound of the sea beneath you. And even if you take away the wind and the water, it's still the same... The ship is yours, you can feel her. And the stars are still there, Bones."

- Kirk and McCoy (TOS: "The Ultimate Computer")

"I... am... KIROK!" (TOS: "The Paradise Syndrome")

"You could serve as Human sacrifice."
"No I wouldn't enjoy that at all. Besides you seem to need me alive."

- Garth of Izar and Kirk (TOS: "Whom Gods Destroy")

"I don't believe in the no-win scenario."

- Kirk, to Saavik (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

"We learn by doing."

- Kirk, to Saavik (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

"The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many."

- Kirk, to Spock (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

"Double dumbass on you!"

- Kirk, to Taxi driver (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

"Don't tell me--you're from outer space."
"No, I'm from Iowa; I only work in outer space."

- Gillian Taylor and Kirk (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

"Damn it, Bones, you're a doctor! You know that pain and guilt can't be taken away with the wave of a magic wand! They're the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are! If we lose them, we lose ourselves!
"I don't WANT my pain taken away--I
NEED my pain!!!"

- Kirk, at first to McCoy and then to Sybok (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

"You have restored my father's faith."
"And you have restored my son's."

- Azetbur and Kirk (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

"I was out saving the galaxy while your grandfather was in diapers!"

- Kirk, to Picard (Star Trek Generations)

"Don't let them promote you, don't let them transfer you, don't let them do anything that takes you off the bridge of that ship. Because while you're there, you can make a difference."

- Kirk, to Picard (Star Trek Generations)

Kirk on death

"Look, I could tell you some comforting fairy tale, but we both know the truth. Our job puts us up against death more than is fair. And we might not like it, but we do have to face it. And right now, death is winning. It claimed your family, it claimed your friend. It convinced you to forget them, because it's less painful than holding on to their memories. Now, you can let death win...or you can fight back. Hold on to them."

- Kirk, to Ensign Nyota Uhura (SNW: "Lost in Translation")

"I'm used to the idea of dying. But I have no desire to die for the likes of you."

- Kirk, to Ayelborne (TOS: "Errand of Mercy")

"Poor Matt... He gave his life in an attempt to save others... Not the worst way to go"

- Kirk, to Spock (TOS: "The Doomsday Machine")

"What a terrible way to die."
"There are no good ways, Sulu."

- Sulu and Kirk (TOS: "That Which Survives")

"How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life..."

- Kirk, to Saavik (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

"Lieutenant Saavik was right... You never have faced death."
"No, not like this. I haven't faced death. I've cheated death. I tricked my way out of death... and patted myself on the back for my ingenuity. I know nothing."

- David and Kirk (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

"My God, Bones... What have I done?"
"What you had to do. What you always do. Turn death into a fighting chance to live."

- McCoy and Kirk (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

"I've always known... I'll die alone."

- Kirk, to Spock and McCoy (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

In Harm's Way

"This is the captain of the Enterprise. Our respect for other lifeforms requires that we give you this... warning. There is one critical item of information that has never been incorporated into the memory banks of any Earth ship. Since the early years of space exploration, Earth vessels have had incorporated into them, a substance known as... corbomite. It is a material and a device which prevents... attack... on us. If any destructive energy touches our vessel, a reverse reaction of equal strength is created, destroying..."
"You now have two minutes."
"...DESTROYING the attacker. It may interest you to know... that since the initial use of corbomite more than two of our centuries ago, no attacking vessel has survived the attempt. Death has... little meaning to us. If it has none to you... then attack us now. We grow annoyed at your foolishness."

- Kirk and Balok (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver")

"They used to say if man could fly, he'd have wings... but he did fly. He discovered he had to. Do you wish that the first Apollo mission hadn't reached the moon, or that we hadn't gone on to Mars or the nearest star? That's like saying you wish that you still operated with scalpels and sewed your patients up with catgut like your great-great-great-great-grandfather used to. I'm in command. I could order this. But I'm not... because... Dr. McCoy is right in pointing out the enormous danger potential in any contact with life and intelligence as fantastically advanced as this. But I must point out that the possibilities, the potential for knowledge and advancement is equally great. Risk... risk is our business! That's what this starship is all about... that's why we're aboard her!"

- Kirk (TOS: "Return to Tomorrow")

"Khan. How do we know you'll keep your word?"
"Oh, I've given you no word to keep, admiral. In my judgment you simply have no alternative."
"I see your point... stand by to receive our transmission... (whispers) Mr. Sulu, lock phasers on target..."
"Time's up admiral!"
"Here it comes. Now, Mr. Spock."

- Kirk and Khan (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

"Sir, you did it!"
"I did nothing! Except get caught with my britches down. I must be getting senile."

- Sulu and Kirk (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

"Kirk... you're still alive, my old friend."
"Still. Old. Friend! You've managed to kill just about everyone else, but like a poor marksman, you KEEP MISSING the TARGET!"

- Khan and Kirk (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

"KHAAAAAAN!!!" (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

- Kirk

"We tried it once your way Khan, now are you game for a rematch? Khan... I'm LAUGHING at the superior... intellect."

- Kirk, to Khan (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

"Sorry about your crew, but as we say on, Earth, c'est la vie."

- Kirk, to Kruge (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

"I... have had... enough of you!"

- Kirk, to Kruge (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)


- Kirk, to Spock (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

"Excuse me... but what does God need with a starship?"

- Kirk, to the Sha Ka Ree entity (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

"Don't believe them! Don't trust them!"
"They are dying..."
"Let them die."

- Kirk, to Spock, on the Klingon Empire (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

"Risk is part of the game, if you want to sit in that chair."

- Kirk, to Captain Harriman (Star Trek Generations)

Kirk on women

"When I get my hands on the headquarters genius who gave me a female yeoman..."
"What's the matter Jim, don't you trust yourself?"

- Kirk, to McCoy (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver")

"You're too beautiful to ignore. Too much woman."

- Kirk, to Janice Rand (TOS: "The Enemy Within")

"Uh, there are things you can do with a lady, uh, Charlie, that you... Uh, there's no right way to hit a woman. I mean, man to man is one thing, but, um, man and woman, uh, it's, ah... is, uh... Well, it's, ah, another thing. Do you understand?"

- Kirk, to Charlie Evans (TOS: "Charlie X")

"Worlds may change, galaxies disintegrate, but a woman... always remains a woman."

- Kirk, to Lenore Karidian (TOS: "The Conscience of the King")

"You'll learn something about men and women... the way they're supposed to be. Caring for each other, being happy with each other, being good to each other. That's what we call... love. You'll like that too. A lot."

- Kirk, to the People of Vaal (TOS: "The Apple")

"Mr. Spock, the women on your planet are logical. That is the only planet in this galaxy that can make that claim."

- Kirk, to Spock (TOS: "Elaan of Troyius")

"You sleep lightly, captain."
"Yes, duty is a good teacher. I see you've changed your dress-maker."
"Release me!"
"So you could attack me again? That would be foolish."
"Call the guards if you're afraid, captain."
"I'm not afraid. In fact... I find this rather enjoyable."

- Vanna and Kirk (TOS: "The Cloud Minders")

Kirk and Spock

"Will you try for one moment to feel? At least act like you've got a heart?"

- Kirk, to Spock (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before")

"Spock, I think I'm in love with Edith Keeler."
"Jim, Edith Keeler, must die."

- Kirk and Spock (TOS: "The City on the Edge of Forever")

"Alright, you mutinous, disloyal, computerized half-breed, we'll see about you deserting my ship... You're an overgrown jackrabbit. An elf with a hyperactive thyroid... What else would you expect from a simpering devil eared freak whose father was a computer and whose mother was an encyclopedia... Your father was a computer, like his son... from a planet of traitors. A Vulcan never lived who had an ounce of integrity... You're a traitor from a race of traitors. Disloyal to the core; rotten like the rest of your sub-Human race, and you've got the GALL to make love to that girl. Does she know what she's getting, Spock? A carcass full of memory banks who should be squatting on a mushroom, instead of passing himself off as a man. You belong in a circus, Spock, not a starship. RIGHT NEXT TO THE DOG-FACED BOY!

- Kirk, to Spock (TOS: "This Side of Paradise")

"Mind your own business, Mr. Spock! I'm sick of your half-breed interference, do you hear me?"

- Kirk's android duplicate, to Spock (TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?")

"Analysis, Mr. Spock?"
"Very bad poetry, captain."

- Kirk and Spock (TOS: "Catspaw")

"No, it was a calculated risk. Still, the Eminians keep a very orderly society and actual war is very messy business. Very, very messy business. I had a feeling they would do anything to avoid it, even talk peace."
"Feeling is not much to go on."
"Sometimes a feeling, Mr. Spock, is all we Humans have to go on."
"Captain, you almost make me believe in luck."
"Why, Mr. Spock, you almost make me believe in miracles."

- Kirk and Spock (TOS: "A Taste of Armageddon")

"Kill Spock? That's not what we came to Vulcan for."

- Kirk, to McCoy (TOS: "Amok Time")

"Of my friend, I can only say this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most... Human."

- Kirk, on Spock (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

"Oh him? He's harmless. Back in the sixties, he was part of the free speech movement at Berkeley. I think he did a little too much LDS."

- Kirk, to Gillian Taylor (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

"... either you're with me or you're not!"
"I am here, captain."
"That's a little vague, Spock..."

- Kirk and Spock (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

"I lost a brother once... I was lucky... I got him back."

- Kirk, to Spock (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

"You're a great one for logic. I'm a great one for rushing in where angels fear to tread. We're both extremists. Reality is probably somewhere in between."

- Kirk, to Spock (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

"You know, if Spock were here, he'd say I was an irrational, illogical Human being for taking on a mission like that... Sounds like fun!"

- Kirk, to Picard (Star Trek Generations)

Opinions of Kirk

"This officer's record shows him to be an insubordinate, unprincipled, career-minded opportunist with a history of violating the chain of command whenever it suited him."

- General Chang, on Kirk's disregard for Starfleet regulations (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)



Background information

Casting Kirk

Kirk was played by William Shatner.

Don Eitner served as body double for Shatner as the pair of Kirks in "The Enemy Within". Actress Sandra Smith also "played" Captain Kirk in Janice Lester's body in "Turnabout Intruder", while Shatner "played" Lester in Kirk's body.

Following his introduction in the second pilot, the only non-appearance of Kirk was in the animated episode "The Slaver Weapon". Archive footage of Shatner was used in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations", and archive audio of his voice was used in the Star Trek: Enterprise finale, "These Are the Voyages..." and the Star Trek: Short Treks episode "Ephraim and Dot".

William Shatner was not the first choice to play Kirk. The producers first approached actors Lloyd Bridges and Jack Lord for the role; both turned it down. [5] [6](X) [7](X) Both Bridges and Lord have since passed away.

In order to play Kirk, William Shatner attempted to stay physically fit. "I've tried to stay limber, and I've tried to keep myself in shape," he related. "Not for a little reason. For a great reason, because I'm playing Captain Kirk, and I wanted to be ready for each movie and not act my age." ("Strange New Worlds: The Valley of Fire", Star Trek Generations (Special Edition) DVD/Blu-ray)

Naming Kirk

The name for Kirk wasn't decided until 1965. In a memo written by Gene Roddenberry to researcher Kellam de Forest on 18 May 1965, sixteen names were under consideration. These names were:

  1. January
  2. Flagg
  3. Drake
  4. Christopher
  5. Thorpe
  6. Richard
  7. Patrick
  8. Raintree
  9. Boone
  10. Hudson
  11. Timber
  12. Hamilton
  13. Hannibal
  14. Neville
  15. Kirk
  16. North

This memo was reprinted in The Making of Star Trek [page number?edit] and Inside Star Trek: The Real Story [page number?edit].

"James Tiberius Kirk" was the final choice of name chosen to adorn the new TV show's hero.

Originally, according to Gene Roddenberry's novel Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Kirk was named "James" after his mother's "first love instructor" as well as "an uncle" (his "father's beloved brother"), and "Tiberius" because the Roman emperor fascinated his grandfather Samuel.

James R Kirk tombstone

Gary Mitchell's tombstone for "James R. Kirk"

Kirk's middle name came later, as can be ascertained by the "James R. Kirk" tombstone, created by Gary Mitchell in "Where No Man Has Gone Before", Kirk's middle initial was R, not T. According to D.C. Fontana in the introduction for Star Trek: The Classic Episodes 1, when the mistake over the middle initial was discovered, Gene Roddenberry decided that if pressed for an answer on the discrepancy, the response was to be "Gary Mitchell had godlike powers, but at base he was Human. He made a mistake."

The origin of Kirk's established middle name has several possible, if not potentially conflicting, origins, including the "official" claim that David Gerrold spontaneously blurted out the name in response to a question regarding what Kirk's middle initial stood for at a 1973 Star Trek convention, and subsequently conferred with D.C. Fontana and Gene Roddenberry, who approved the name, and it became forever part of Star Trek lore. ([8] Maximum PC, November 2010, p. 94; Star Trek: The Official Guide to the Animated Series, 129) In another instance, the name was referenced by Fontana in a Q&A with her and Majel Barrett, in an audio recording dated from a 1972 convention, which suggests that Fontana may have been the first to mention the name to the public. [9] Whereas a third case can be made, and consequently has been by various reference works, that Roddenberry himself was responsible for the name, as his "fondness" for "Tiberius" predates Star Trek, having had already used it in his prior series, The Lieutenant, for that lead character: "Willam Tiberius Rice". (Star Trek Chronology, 1st ed., p. 40; The Encyclopedia Shatnerica, p. 90; Star Trek Magazine Special 2016, pp. 23-24)

Character development

Gene Roddenberry, in his original pitch to television producers, described the character (originally named Robert April, then Christopher Pike) that later came to be known, eventually, as Captain Kirk:

The 'skipper', about thirty-four, Academy graduate, rank of Captain... a shorthand sketch of Robert April might be 'A space-age Captain Horatio Hornblower', lean and capable both mentally and physically.

A colorfully complex personality, he is capable of action and decision that can verge on the heroic – and at the same time lives a continual battle with self-doubt and the loneliness of command.

As with similar men in the past (Drake, Cook, Bougainville, and Scott), his primary weakness is a predilection to action over administration, a temptation to take the greatest risks onto himself. But, unlike most early explorers, he has an almost compulsive compassion for the plight of others, alien as well as Human, [and] must continually fight the temptation to risk many to save one.

NBC's early-1966 sales brochure (reprinted in Inside Star Trek: The Real Story) described Kirk thus:

A Space Academy graduate, Captain James Kirk has learned to accept the loneliness of command as he has rapidly climbed the ladder of promotion, although he never will learn to like the loneliness his post brings. Starship command is the most important position a man in the Space Service can hold, since he alone can and must make decisions in his contact with the other worlds that can affect the future course of civilization throughout the Universe. So far, James Kirk has proven himself equal to this awesome responsibility. A strong, capable, highly intelligent man in his mid-thirties, Kirk is a born leader, who has trained himself to walk the tightrope between friendship and authority without losing his sense of humor or compassion for others.

William Shatner was to have reprised his role as Captain Kirk on Star Trek: Phase II. The writers/directors guide for that series, written, among others, by Gene Roddenberry and Jon Povill between May and August 1977, described Kirk as follows:

A shorthand sketch of Kirk might be 'a space-age Captain Horatio Hornblower,' constantly on trial with himself, a strong, complex personality.

With the Starship out of communication with Earth and Starfleet bases for long periods of time, a Starship captain has unusual broad powers over both the lives and welfare of his crew, as well as over Earth people and activities encountered during these voyages. He also has broad power as an Earth Ambassador may discover. Kirk feels these responsibilities strongly and is fully capable of letting the worry and frustration lead him into error.

He is also capable of fatigue and inclined to push himself beyond Human limits, then condemn himself because he is not superhuman. The crew respects him, some almost to the point of adoration. At the same time, no senior officer aboard is fearful of using his own intelligence in questioning Kirk's orders and can themselves be strongly articulate up to the point where Kirk signifies his decision has been made.

Kirk is a veteran of hundreds of planet landings and space emergencies. He has a broad and highly mature perspective on command, fellow crewmen, and even on alien life customs, however strange or repugnant they seem when reassessed against Earth standards.

On the other hand, don't play Kirk like the captain of an 1812 frigate in which nothing or no one moves without his command. The Enterprise crew is a finely-trained team, well able to anticipate information and action Kirk needs.

Aboard ship, Captain Kirk has only a few opportunities for anything approaching friendship. One exception is with ship's surgeon Dr. McCoy, who has a legitimate professional need to constantly be aware of the state of the Captain's mind and emotions. But on a 'shore leave' away from the confines of self-imposed discipline, Jim Kirk is likely to play pretty hard, almost compulsively so. It is not impossible he will let this drag him at one time or another into an unwise romantic liaison which he will have great difficulty disentangling. He is, in short, a strong man forced by the requirements of his ship and career into the often lonely role of command, even lonelier because Starship command is the most difficult and demanding task of his century.

Kirk's demise

Regarding the death of Kirk, Ronald D. Moore, co-writer of the script in which Kirk died, wrote:

"[...] I felt (and still do) that the death of Kirk was an important moment in Trek and that this very Human character should experience the final act in every man's existence, namely death. Kirk had never shied away from promoting and honoring the unique experience of being Human (indeed, that was in many ways the foundation of Gene's entire vision – the celebration of the Human spirit). Therefore, it seemed that by killing him, by letting him really play out the Human experience, he would become something greater than simply another comic-book hero that never dies and is never really mortal as a result. I find vulnerable heroes more compelling than teflon-coated heroes, and to me the death of Kirk made him Human, and in the end, more heroic.
"I am very much against the resurrection of Kirk for that reason – it would rob the character of something very important: his Humanity." (AOL chat, 1997)

Years later, Moore added:

"Killing Kirk was a great concept and had the potential to resonate throughout the Star Trek franchise, but the execution [no pun intended] was flawed and the impact was not what we'd hoped for on any level." [10]

William Shatner personally found portraying the final appearance of Kirk, in Star Trek Generations, was "kind of strange and sad." ("Uniting Two Legends", Star Trek Generations (Special Edition) DVD/Blu-ray)

Star Trek's writers, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, intended the alternate reality Spock to be given a hologram of Kirk Prime by Spock Prime to convince him of their friendship. His message would have bookended the young Kirk's promotion to captain and explained Spock's offer to become his first officer. However, the filmmakers opted to drop the idea without proposing it to Shatner, as the actor was vocal about having a substantial role in the film and not a cameo. Kirk's lines were as follows:

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you... (stops, grins) I know I know, it's illogical to celebrate something you had nothing to do with, but I haven't had the chance to congratulate you on your appointment to the ambassadorship so I thought I'd seize the occasion... Bravo, Spock – they tell me your first mission may take you away for awhile, so I'll be the first to wish you luck... and to say... I miss you, old friend.

I suppose I'd always imagined us... outgrowing Starfleet together. Watching life swing us into our Emeritus years... I look around at the new cadets now and can't help thinking... has it really been so long? Wasn't it only yesterday we stepped onto the Enterprise as boys? That I had to prove to the crew I deserved command... and their respect?

I know what you'd say – 'It's their turn now, Jim...' And of course you're right... but it got me thinking: Who's to say we can't go one more round? By the last tally, only twenty five percent of the galaxy's been chartered... I'd call that negligent. Criminal even – an invitation. You once said being a starship captain was my first, best destiny... if that's true, then yours is to be by my side. If there's any true logic to the universe... we'll end up on that bridge again someday. Admit it, Spock. For people like us, the journey itself... is home. [11]


Accepted canon regarding Kirk's early life before the Enterprise, and gaps between events portrayed in films, are scarce and ambiguous. The following notes attempt to reconcile the "mysteries" of Kirk and canon, but these questions may never be satisfactorily answered.

One of the ambiguities was when Lieutenant Kirk was an instructor at the Academy. According to "Coming of Age", there was an age requirement of 16 years for cadets. Assuming that Gary Mitchell was born in 2242, the earliest that he could have entered the Academy was in 2258. Of course, this raised the probability that the blonde lab technician might be Carol Marcus. Speaking of his time at the Academy as an instructor, he said in a line of dialogue from the script of "Where No Man Has Gone Before" that, "I sort of leaned on cadets I liked."

The producers of Star Trek have stated – including on the audio commentary – that many of the events of the alternate reality could have taken place in the original timeline. Some possible events include:

  • a rebellious youth in Iowa
  • disciplinary actions for cheating on the Kobayashi Maru
  • meeting Spock for the first time because he cheated on his test

Roberto Orci, co-writer of Star Trek, had said that in an early draft of that film, dialogue confirmed that in the prime reality, Kirk was born in Iowa and not aboard the USS Kelvin: "If not for the attack from the Narada, the Kelvin would've reached Earth and Kirk would've been born in Iowa. The attack made Winona Kirk go into labor early." [12] The dialogue in question was likely Prime Spock's line in which he tells the alternate James T. Kirk that he was born on a farm in Iowa, to which Kirk corrected him, stating he (the alternate Kirk) was born on a starship. This line appears in the novelization of the film, which used an early draft of the screenplay as a basis.

In March 1985, when the town was looking for a theme for its annual town festival, Steve Miller, a member of the Riverside City Council who had read The Making of Star Trek – a book that lists Kirk's year of birth as 2228 rather than the more firmly established 2233 – suggested to the council that Riverside should proclaim itself to be the future birthplace of Kirk. Miller's motion passed unanimously. The council later wrote to Roddenberry for his permission to be designated as the official birthplace of Kirk, and with Roddenberry's consent, the town developed a tourist industry around the idea. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home then established on screen that Kirk was from Iowa.


In 2022, Paul Wesley appeared in the role of James T. Kirk during the first season finale of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, serving as the captain of the USS Farragut in an alternate timeline. His casting was announced on 15 March 2022. He is set to reprise the role in Season 2 of Strange New Worlds. [13]


Outside of filmed canon productions, the character of Kirk had appeared in many novels, comics, games, and collectibles. While Kirk was the hero of nearly every TOS novel, he was notably the star of a series of novels by William Shatner (with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens) which starred Kirk, reborn after his 24th century death when the Borg-Romulan alliance resurrected and brainwashed him, intending to use Kirk to kill Picard.

However, surgery performed by Doctor Julian Bashir, aided by Admiral McCoy, removed the implant controlling Kirk's actions, and the residual 'programming' was removed thanks to a mind meld with Spock. After his condition was stabilized and the Borg-Romulan alliance was destroyed, as well as a fatal blow delivered to the Borg Collective, Kirk went on to form a close, albeit sometimes strained, friendship with Picard, as well as once again encounter the mirror universe as his other self returned to kill him. He even goes on to have a child with Teilani, a genetically-engineered Romulan/Klingon hybrid.

According to Star Trek II: Biographies, Kirk was born on July 28th, 2182 on Farside Base, Luna to parents Eugene Claudius Kirk and Marjorie Wimpole. He had a sister named Michele Suzanne Kirk.

According to several novels (such as Final Frontier and Best Destiny, both by Diane Carey) Kirk's father "George Samuel Kirk, Senior" was a Starfleet commander who was a close friend of Robert April and briefly the Enterprise's executive officer on its first mission. The novel Collision Course by William Shatner gave James Kirk's father's name as "George Joseph Kirk". The name of Kirk's mother was said to be "Winona Kirk". Crisis on Centaurus stated George died on the planet Hellspawn in 2250, but this was overruled canonically in the 2009 film with Spock stating George Kirk saw James taking command of the Enterprise.

The DS9 novel Original Sin features an Akira-class starship named the USS James T. Kirk (NCC-63719) in honor of Kirk. It had an illustrious service history which included exploration and defensive missions.

Kirk's Grave

Kirk's gravestone

In the third and fourth issues of the IDW Publishing comic Star Trek: Spock: Reflections, Picard sent a message to Spock after the events of Star Trek Generations explaining how Kirk did not die on the Enterprise-B, but was pulled into the Nexus and how he left it to help Picard defeat Soran from killing 200 million people in order to re-enter the Nexus and in the process, Kirk was killed while saving Picard and millions of others. Since Kirk was already thought dead, and explaining the nature of the Nexus to Starfleet would be difficult, Picard decided to bury Kirk on Veridian III where he gave his life to save millions. Nonetheless, Picard felt Spock should know of Kirk's fate. Eventually, Spock traveled to Veridian III and retrieved Kirk's body where he brought him back home to Earth to be reburied at the Kirk family farm in Iowa. Spock explains to Picard how Kirk did the same for him, at a terrible cost, and says he needed to be equal to Kirk's sacrifice.

Kirk and The Doctor

Kirk and The Doctor

In the third issue of the Doctor Who crossover comic Assimilation², Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scott investigate a Federation archaeological team on the planet Aprilia III on Stardate 3368.5, which had lost contact with Starfleet. Upon landing in the shuttlecraft Galileo, they are greeted by project manager Jefferson Whitmore, who assures them that all is well and gives them a tour of the facility, but Kirk finds the staff suspiciously calm. His team later return to the facility after dark where they meet the Fourth Doctor, assuming he's a member of the research team and he helps them break the electronic lock and together, they infiltrated the facility. There, they find the researchers standing catatonically, with small cybernetic devices in their ears. It is discovered they were under the control of the Doctor's enemies, the Cybermen. A battle ensues and Kirk fights the Cyber-Controller, but is proved no match for the cybernetic being. The Doctor then asks Kirk if he has any gold on him as he's had experience with the Cybermen and Kirk hands him his communicator. Kirk distracts the Cyber-Controller while the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to disintegrate the communicator's gold cover into dust and use it to clog up the Controller's respiration and allowing Spock to destroy it with his phaser. After the Cybermen are defeated and the Doctor slips quietly away, Kirk arranges for a permanent garrison of Starfleet Security personnel to protect the researchers against further Cyberman incursions.

In Star Trek Cats, Kirk is depicted as an orange tabby cat.

External links