James Tiberius "Jim" Kirk was a 23rd century Human Starfleet officer. As a Starfleet cadet, he was instrumental in the defeat and death of Nero, a Romulan bent on the obliteration of the entire United Federation of Planets. As a result, he was commissioned directly to the rank of captain and appointed as commanding officer of the service's flagship, the USS Enterprise. (Star Trek)
A year later in 2259, Kirk faced Khan, an enhanced Human from the late 20th century with superior strength and intellect. However, the crew of the Enterprise managed to stop him, following the sacrifice of Kirk. Spock managed to capture Khan with the help of Uhura and Dr. McCoy managed to revive Kirk. Afterwards in 2260, the Enterprise set out on the first five-year mission. (Star Trek Into Darkness)
In 2263, during its five-year mission, the Enterprise was destroyed by Swarm ships, led by Krall, stranding the crew on Altamid. The crew and Jaylah, who was also stranded by Krall, later managed to leave the planet after repairing the USS Franklin, a ship commanded by Balthazar M. Edison that went missing in 2164. Kirk and his crew traveled to Starbase Yorktown and stopped revenge plans put into motion by Krall, who was revealed to be Edison. Afterwards, Kirk was given command of the USS Enterprise-A and continued his five-year mission. (Star Trek Beyond)
The son of Starfleet officer George Kirk – first officer of the USS Kelvin – and his wife Winona Kirk, he was born on January 4th, 2233 aboard the Kelvin's medical shuttle no. 37, in the midst of an unprovoked attack on the Kelvin by the Narada, a 24th century Romulan mining vessel commanded by Nero.
Winona had been evacuated from the severely crippled Kelvin, along with the rest of the crew, and gave birth to James while George Kirk died piloting the Kelvin into the Narada in a kamikaze attack. The young Kirk was named James Tiberius after Winona's father and George's father, respectively.
Jim was raised in Iowa, in Midwestern North America, on Earth. His mother remarried. As a young boy, Jim had a somewhat rebellious streak in him as he once, for example, stole his stepfather's 1965 Chevy Corvette convertible, drove it recklessly, got into a high speed chase with local police, then nearly died when he barely managed to jump out, as he drove the car into a quarry. As he grew up, he had little sense of purpose and by 2255, he was an aimless rebel who had found himself on the wrong side of the law on more than one occasion. (Star Trek)
While visiting a bar near the Riverside Shipyard in 2255, an inebriated Jim met and began flirting with a Starfleet cadet named Nyota Uhura. Although annoyed by Jim's advances, Uhura was surprised that Jim knew what was involved in the study of xenolinguistics. Moments later, the twenty-two year-old Jim Kirk engaged in a bar fight with three male cadets, including Hendorff, who were irritated at his cocky attitude and the attention he was giving Uhura.
He was ultimately overwhelmed by the cadets until Captain Christopher Pike broke up the fight. Pike, who had written his dissertation on the USS Kelvin and was familiar with Jim's story, pushed the young man to challenge himself and reach the greater potential he was capable of achieving, calling him "the only genius-level repeat offender in the Midwest".
Pike tried to persuade him to join Starfleet, firmly believing he could do more with himself than get into bar fights and break all the laws in the state of Iowa. Kirk laughed at the idea of joining Starfleet, but Pike reassured him that, with his "off-the-chart" aptitude, he could make captain and have his own ship in only eight years. He reminded him that his father had saved eight-hundred lives, including Jim's and his mother's, and dared young Kirk to do better.
Soon after their conversation, and to the surprise of Pike, Jim decided to enlist with the intent of completing the Academy training in three years. He rode onto the shipyard, gave his bike to a construction worker, and boarded a shuttle for new recruits heading to Starfleet Academy. It was on his trip to the Academy where he first met and befriended Doctor Leonard McCoy.
Kirk and McCoy became close friends at the Academy, though Kirk frequently exasperated McCoy with his maverick nature. Kirk had an eye for attractive female cadets and he once ended up in the dormitory of an Orion female cadet named Gaila. He was caught and hid under the bed when her roommate, Cadet Uhura, arrived unexpectedly. On discovering him, she angrily threw him out.
It was at the Academy that Kirk also met Commander Spock. Kirk had failed the Kobayashi Maru examination twice but decided to take it a third time, being sure that he would succeed. He eventually managed to cheat the test and won. Spock, who programmed the "no-win scenario", later investigated the matter.
While discussing his cheating ways with head of the Starfleet Academy Board Admiral Richard Barnett, Kirk argued that the test itself was a cheat, and stated that he didn't believe in the no-win scenario. Kirk asked to face his accuser, and Spock stepped up. This was the first time the two met, and they clashed over their differences.
Kirk and Spock continued to engage in a heated argument (the accused becoming particularly agitated when Spock suggested that, "of all people", George Kirk's son should recognize the no-win scenario), until the hearing was suddenly interrupted after Starfleet received a distress call from Vulcan.
Many of the cadets were called into action after the news but Kirk – who had been suspended because of his recent academic dishonesty charges – was not allowed to join. McCoy, however, was able to get him aboard the Enterprise by injecting him with a vaccine that temporarily rendered him sick so he could be transferred to the ship on medical grounds.
Kirk tried telling Captain Pike and Spock about Nero's attack and his trap, and with the help of McCoy and Uhura, he was able to convince Pike about the trap. Pike raised the Enterprise's shields as they entered the Vulcan system, only to find a massive debris field of destroyed Federation starships having been attacked by Nero.
Along with Chief Engineer Olson and Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu, Kirk skydived onto the platform. Olson was vaporized by the drill, leaving only Kirk and Sulu to disable it. Facing off against two of Nero's crew, Kirk and Sulu eventually killed both of their adversaries before destroying the platform, but not in time to prevent Nero from successfully completing his plan to destroy the planet Vulcan.
Before returning to the Enterprise, Sulu fell off the drill platform and began plummeting toward the surface of Vulcan. Kirk jumped off the platform to save him. After intercepting Sulu, Kirk had the helmsman pull his parachute, but it was knocked off, leaving them both in freefall. However, Ensign Pavel Chekov managed to compensate for Vulcan's gravitational pull and beamed both of them on board.
Kirk attempted to dissuade Commander Spock from a rendezvous with the rest of Starfleet at the Laurentian system. He urged him to go after the Narada as the ship left for Earth, rather than waste time trying to gather additional forces in the opposite direction, but Spock was relentless. When Kirk became more and more heated in his objections, Spock finally ordered Kirk's removal from the bridge, knocked him out and threw him off the ship in an escape pod.
Marooned on Delta Vega
Kirk landed on Delta Vega, some fourteen kilometers away from a Starfleet outpost. Despite an inhospitable environment, he left his escape pod and soon was chased by an indigenous animal which was dispatched by an even larger predatory creature. When Kirk fled into a nearby cave, the creature was scared away by an elderly Vulcan man, who revealed himself to be Spock from a future timeline.
Though Kirk initially dismissed this as "bullshit", he changed his mind when the old man demonstrated his knowledge of Nero. The elderly Spock revealed to Kirk through a mind meld Nero's intentions, also telling him that in his timeline, Kirk was the captain of the USS Enterprise. Understanding that their only hope was to have the Enterprise pursue the Narada instead of returning to the fleet, they realized that they had to get the other Spock to step down from command.
Fortunately, while the Enterprise had long since left the system, Spock was aware that one of the officers at the nearby outpost was Montgomery Scott, who, in his universe, had devised a way to beam onto a ship at warp speeds. After Spock gave Scott his own equations a century ahead of schedule, Kirk was advised by Spock, before Kirk and Scott were beamed onto the Enterprise, that he needed to elicit an emotional reaction from the young Spock so that everyone could see that he was emotionally compromised and unfit for command; according to the elderly Spock, the only way to defeat Nero was for Jim to take command of the ship himself.
Following the advice of Ambassador Spock, Kirk goaded Spock with assertions that Spock cared nothing for what had happened to Vulcan or the death of his mother, whom he accused Spock of never having loved. The last remark did the job and Spock violently attacked Kirk, nearly to the point of killing him, before Sarek stepped in and stopped him. Following Spock immediately relinquishing command. Kirk, as acting first officer, took command and ordered pursuit course of the Narada to Earth.
Kirk later beamed onto the Narada with Spock, who deferred to Kirk as captain. After an intense firefight in which they killed several Romulans, they made it to the elder Spock's ship. Upon being identified as its pilot, Spock quickly realized exactly who Kirk's unknown benefactor had been. Leaving Spock to secure the ship, Kirk went to retrieve Captain Pike.
In searching for the captain, he encountered Nero and his first officer, Ayel. Kirk was quickly overpowered by the pair of Romulans, but when Nero, after boasting that he would kill Kirk just like he had with his father, discovered that Spock had destroyed the drill, he furiously returned to the bridge.
Initially, Kirk was no match for Ayel either, but the Romulan was overconfident and was too busy mocking his "weak" victim to notice the theft of his disruptor. Offered the chance to speak, Kirk's "last words" were "I got your gun!" and Kirk shot the Romulan Ayel point-blank in the chest. Kirk then retrieved Pike, who repaid his savior by grabbing the stolen disruptor and gunning down two Romulans walking in on the escape.
Against Spock's advice once again, Kirk decided to give Nero and his remaining crew a chance to beam to the Enterprise and surrender. After Nero strongly declined, Kirk decided to fire all weapons, and the Narada was finally destroyed in a massive black hole created by red matter it was carrying. The Enterprise was nearly destroyed as well, but Kirk had Scott eject the ship's multiple warp cores and detonate them, creating a blast wave strong enough to push the Enterprise out of danger.
Commanding the USS Enterprise
Upon his return to Earth, Kirk was commissioned as an officer in the United Federation of Planets Starfleet with the serial number SC937-0176CEC. (Star Trek Beyond) He was commended and officially appointed as captain of the Enterprise by Admiral Barnett for his actions, which demonstrated his ability as an extremely able commanding officer fully capable of leading a Federation starship crew in the most dire of situations.
Dressed in his new captain's uniform, Kirk took command of the Enterprise. Commander Spock arrived and requested the permanent post as Kirk's first officer, which Kirk was honored to accept. He sat down in his chair and, officially as captain of the Enterprise, led his crew and ship to another adventure. (Star Trek)
A year later, Kirk violated the Prime Directive on Nibiru, saving Spock's life from a cold fusion device detonation inside a volcano. During the rescue, the Enterprise was exposed to the primitive Nibirans, who began worshiping the ship as a god. Returning to Earth, Pike informed Kirk the Admiralty headed by Alexander Marcus would be sending him back to the Academy, and that perhaps he had been promoted too soon. That night, Kirk drowned his sorrows in a bar, when Pike appeared to reveal he had convinced Marcus to let him appoint Kirk his first officer, because he still had faith in the young man. As a result, however, Kirk was demoted to the rank of commander rather than captain.
Pursuing "John Harrison"
The two then attended a summit, in the Daystrom Conference Room at Starfleet Headquarters, regarding the bombing of the Kelvin Memorial Archive in London. Marcus ordered a manhunt for the perpetrator, a rogue commander named John Harrison. Kirk analyzed surveillance of Harrison at the debris site, and questioned why Harrison bombed an archive for the information he needed. Kirk then realized Harrison would be aware protocol dictated such an attack would precipitate meetings like these: Harrison then showed up in a jumpship and opened fire.
Kirk wrapped a fire hose around a rifle and threw it into the jumpship's engine, causing it to crash. Before it did, Kirk saw Harrison glaring at him and then beaming himself away. Kirk returned to the conference room to find Spock with Pike, who had died of a chest wound, and mourned his friend's death.
The next morning, Kirk was notified by Scott that Harrison had used a portable transwarp beaming device to escape to Qo'noS, the homeworld of the Klingon Empire. Kirk informed Marcus, who explained the Archive had actually been a Section 31 facility, which Harrison had needed to steal the beaming device from. Marcus reinstated Kirk's command and rank as captain, giving him permission to hunt down and execute Harrison, and allowed him to reinstate Spock as his first officer.
To execute Harrison, Marcus gave the Enterprise seventy-two advanced long-range torpedoes to bombard Harrison's location from orbit, and assigned weapons expert Carol Wallace to the Enterprise. At a hangar, McCoy expressed his belief that Harrison was out of Kirk's league, while Spock protested executing Harrison without trial was immoral. Aboard the Enterprise, Scott protested about not being allowed to examine the torpedoes, and not having time to examine the ship's warp core, which was new but faulty. Kirk accepted Scott and Keenser's resignation, and appointed Chekov to replace Scott. Dejected, Kirk decided to listen to Spock and Scott's advice, and announced they would find Harrison and bring him back for a tribunal.
Before reaching Qo'noS, the Enterprise's warp core broke down, so Kirk took an away team with Spock, Uhura, and Hendorff, disguised as K'normian arms dealers, to find Harrison in a K'normian trading ship.
Shortly after acting captain Sulu sent a targeted comm burst from the Enterprise to Harrison's location, Kirk's ship was attacked by a Klingon patrol, and despite maneuvering it through a narrowing gate, the away team found themselves surrounded. Kirk allowed Uhura to exit the ship and negotiate with the Klingons in their native language, but they refused to listen and tried to kill her. Before Kirk and Spock could come out firing phasers, Harrison appeared and single-handedly killed all the Klingons. Kirk accepted Harrison's surrender, but spitefully punched him, only to find his continuous blows had no effect on him.
Uncovering a conspiracy
In the ship's brig, Kirk and Spock interrogated Harrison while Bones took a blood sample, which he studied by injecting into a dead tribble. Harrison only responded by giving Kirk a set of coordinates, and advised the captain to open one of the torpedoes. Spock informed Kirk that Wallace could examine the torpedoes, and also told the captain that he had learned she was actually Admiral Marcus' daughter, a fact Spock had chosen to reveal at that precise point because he felt the information had just become relevant. Kirk also called Scott via a communicator and asked him to investigate the coordinates.
McCoy and Carol Marcus took a shuttle to a meteor to examine a torpedo, but McCoy accidentally activated the countdown and trapped his hand in the device. Kirk ordered to beam them up, but was warned by Spock that beaming up McCoy would also beam up an exploding torpedo. Fortunately, Kirk avoided losing his friend when Carol deactivated the device with less than three seconds to spare. The torpedo finally opened up, and the two officers found it contained a man in cryogenic stasis.
Kirk interrogated Harrison again, who explained he had placed people in torpedoes to smuggle them before he was caught. He revealed he was actually the infamous Khan Noonien Singh, recruited by Admiral Marcus under a new identity to design weaponry and ships for war against the Klingons, and that the frozen people were his fellow Augments, whom the admiral had held hostage. Marcus suddenly showed up in a Dreadnought-class ship, the USS Vengeance, demanding Kirk hand over Harrison. Kirk revealed he knew the truth, and defied the admiral by having Sulu warp the Enterprise back to Earth, where Khan would stand trial and expose the conspiracy. However, the Vengeance was capable of catching up with the Enterprise in subspace and fired on the ship, halting it as it arrived near Earth and the planet's moon.
After Carol tried to bargain with her father but was simply beamed by him over to his ship, Kirk tried to hand himself over to protect his own crew, but Marcus explained he had no intention of letting anyone in on the plot survive. Before the Vengeance could finish off the Enterprise, its weaponry suddenly deactivated. Scott called Kirk, explaining he had stowed away aboard the Vengeance at the coordinates given by Khan, buying them some time. Kirk, realizing Khan had designed the ship, allied himself with him, and the two donned thruster suits to fly over and commandeer the vessel. Khan's formidable strength was an asset in dispatching any guards they encountered, but Kirk was suspicious of Khan's motives and ordered Scott to shoot him unconscious later.
When they reached the bridge, Kirk confronted Marcus over his betrayal of Starfleet's ideals. However, Scott's attempt to stun Khan did not affect him, and the Augment tackled Scott and Kirk before proceeding to kill Marcus and take the command chair. Khan ordered Spock to hand over the torpedoes, which he complied with, and in return he beamed Kirk, Scott, and Carol into the Enterprise brig.
Khan then turned on Spock, bombarding the Enterprise once more. Spock, who had the cryopods removed from the torpedoes, ordered them to be detonated, severely crippling the Vengeance; the shockwave caused both ships to be pulled by Earth's gravity. Kirk and Scott ran to the warp core, trying to avoid falling to their deaths due to the Enterprise's failing artificial gravity.
Death and resurrection
Once they reached the Enterprise's warp core, Scott warned entering it would flood the chamber with radiation, but as there was no time to put on a containment suit, Kirk knocked out Scott and secured him with a seat belt before entering the warp core. Kirk knocked the central component back in place, restoring power to the engines and preventing the Enterprise from crashing.
Meanwhile, Khan crashed the Vengeance into Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco. Scott woke up and called Spock to come to the area outside the warp core chamber, where Spock saw Jim dying from radiation poisoning. Jim bid goodbye to his friend, displaying the Vulcan salute with his hand on a glass door, then died. He heard the voices of his father, mother and Pike as he neared death.
Following decontamination, Kirk was taken to the Enterprise's medbay, where McCoy and others silently mourned the loss of their captain. McCoy noticed the tribble he had injected with Khan's blood had come back to life, and realizing how to save Kirk's life, ordered his body be placed in a cryotube to preserve his brain functions. Spock and Uhura beamed down and apprehended Khan, enabling McCoy to create a serum from Khan's blood, which resurrected Kirk. However, the effects of the serum left Kirk unconscious for two weeks, after which he awoke in Starfleet Medical and was greeted by McCoy and Spock.
The five-year mission
Nearly a year after his death and resurrection, Kirk presided over the rechristening ceremony of the Enterprise and a memorial service to those who lost their lives in terrorist acts committed by Khan, before setting off on Starfleet's first five-year mission. (Star Trek Into Darkness)
In the vastness of space
Three years later, Kirk was helping to negotiate peace between the Teenaxi Delegation and the Fibonan Republic, working as a neutral representative by presenting the Teenaxi with a dismantled weapon as a token of peace. Suspicious of the Fibona, the Teenaxi attacked Kirk – though due to their diminutive stature, Kirk was mostly unharmed and was quickly beamed back to the Enterprise by Scotty.
In his captain's log following the mission, Kirk expressed his frustrations with life aboard the Enterprise this far into its mission, stating he felt as though life had become "episodic." Near his thirtieth birthday, Kirk confided in McCoy over a drink, divulging that he now questioned his own motives for having joined Starfleet on a dare rather than having had, like his father, a strong belief in the organization. Kirk's morose was worsened by the fact his birthday signified him turning one year older than his father lived to be.
Loss of the Enterprise
After Kalara arrived at Yorktown and claimed her ship had crashed on planet Altamid in the Necro Cloud, Kirk volunteered the Enterprise for a mission to rescue the survivors. Once the craft traversed the unstable nebula, a massive cluster of unidentified ships was detected, approaching the Enterprise. Kirk quickly realized something was amiss and raised the shields before the oncoming Swarm ships began to dismantle the Enterprise, causing multiple hull breaches and severing the nacelles.
Kirk discovered the enemy was seeking the weapon he had tried to present to the Teenaxi, so he gave the artifact to Ensign Syl before the leader of the Swarm, Krall, could steal it. Realizing the ship's destruction was imminent, Kirk ordered the Enterprise crew to abandon ship. Kirk then attempted to execute a saucer separation, so the saucer section could safely land on the surface of Altamid. Kirk, however, ran into Krall and the two fought, but Uhura finally managed to sever the saucer section, sending Kirk to the surface of the nearby planet.
On the planet's surface, Kirk landed near where Chekov and Kalara also landed. Furious, Kirk confronted Kalara, realizing she had known the Enterprise would be attacked. She revealed Krall had kidnapped her crew and threatened to kill those personnel, unless she helped. Realizing they needed to locate the rest of the survivors from the Enterprise, the three went to the site where the vessel's saucer section had crashed, and they scanned for crewmembers there.
Kirk went to where he claimed to have left the weapon but was attacked by Kalara, who revealed she had been working for Krall all along and proceeded to contact him to let him know she had the weapon. Kirk, however, deceived her, having Chekov trace her communication to Krall. They were both attacked by his troops but escaped by activating the Enterprise thrusters, causing an explosion which in turn killed Kalara and thrust Kirk and Chekov through the air as they made their getaway.
The next morning, Kirk and Chekov walked into one of multiple traps prepared by Jaylah, a scavenger who was living on the planet, but they were freed after Scotty told her they were friends of his. Jaylah revealed she had made the wreckage of a 22nd century Federation starship – the USS Franklin – her home and, using the scanners, Kirk was able to locate Spock and McCoy, and beam them to the ship before Krall's drones were able to kill them.
Kirk helped treat an injured Spock, while he revealed that the weapon had come from Altamid. Using the trace from Kalara's communication and pinpointing it with a Vulcan amulet Spock had given Uhura, Kirk's team was able to learn the exact location of their former shipmates and formulate a plan to not only rescue them but also stop Krall before he attacked Yorktown.
Using a motorcycle from the Franklin and holographic technology from Jaylah, Kirk managed to distract Krall so that Spock and Jaylah were able to escape with the rest of the surviving Starfleet officers. Once they were all aboard the Franklin, Kirk, at the last second, managed to rescue Jaylah and get her back to the ship. While Krall left for Yorktown, Kirk and the crew followed on the Franklin.
When they arrived at Yorktown, Krall had nearly penetrated the base's defenses. Spock and Scotty realized they had to disrupt the communications between the drones in order to prevent the attack. As a result, Kirk ordered McCoy and Spock to transport onto one of the ships, in order to hack into the Swarm's frequency using a music player from the Franklin. They sent out a classical song over the frequency, rendering the drones unable to cooperate with each other and causing the destruction of all but three of the ships, one of which was being flown by Krall.
The Franklin pursued his ship into the base and was able to block Krall's attack, causing him to crash into the Franklin, presumably killing him. Kirk searched the ship with Uhura, for confirmation, but during the search, Uhura discovered a recording of the original Franklin crew and deduced from the footage that the captain of the ship, Balthazar Edison, was Krall. By looking at his file, they discovered he had been a soldier who fought during the Xindi and the Romulan Wars, after which he had been given command of the Franklin. He had slowly started to despise the Federation's views and had slowly gone insane in the century after the ship went missing.
Scotty and Jaylah realized that Edison was going to release the weapon in the base's ventilation system, killing the base's inhabitants. Confronting the now-disfigured Edison in the ventilation hub, Kirk revealed to him that he knew who he was. Kirk also tried to persuade Edison that he was underestimating humanity and that the Federation was a cause of good.
While the hub lost gravity, Kirk fought Edison, seized the bioweapon from him, and attempted to eject it into space by opening an airlock. Kirk was attempting to open it when Edison regained his strength; he continued to fight Kirk but was ultimately ejected into space with the weapon, which then killed him. Kirk was nearly sucked out as well but was spared by the timely rescue of Spock and McCoy. Kirk and Commodore Paris then closed files on the Franklin's late crew.
Commanding the USS Enterprise-A
Continuing the five-year mission
Having gained a new insight into himself and his motives in the confrontation with Krall, Kirk declined the promotion to vice admiral and decided to remain the commanding officer of the Enterprise. Some time later, while the crew was on shore leave at Yorktown, the crew surprised Kirk with a birthday celebration at which he and his crew looked out onto the construction of the brand new USS Enterprise-A. After its completion, Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise-A resumed their five-year mission. (Star Trek Beyond)
Kirk initially had a largely antagonistic relationship with Spock, mainly due to their vastly different philosophies and approaches to command. The frictions began first at Starfleet Academy, when Kirk cheated on the Kobayashi Maru test Spock had designed.
The discord between Kirk and Spock continued when the disparate pair worked side by side on the USS Enterprise and Kirk was put in charge as second in command by Captain Pike. Tensions between the two culminated in Spock throwing Kirk off the ship altogether.
However, their attitudes towards each other softened after Kirk had an encounter with an older version of Spock from an alternate future, who revealed that in fact the two had shared a great friendship in his timeline. Upon returning to the Enterprise, Kirk goaded Spock into revealing his emotional instability. Kirk, as a result, was nearly killed by a raging Spock before the latter did exactly as Kirk wanted and stepped down, putting Kirk in charge of the ship. Once Spock had regained emotional equilibrium, Kirk insisted on teaming up with Spock on an away mission to the Narada and Spock deferred to Kirk's command.
From then on, the two worked as a team to stop Nero and rescue Pike, with Spock trusting Kirk to watch his back and even calling him "Jim" at one point. After Spock learned how important their friendship was from Spock Prime, Kirk happily accepted an offer from Spock to serve as the Enterprise's first officer. (Star Trek)
A year later, Kirk fell out with Spock because Spock filed the mission report that caused Kirk's demotion, although Kirk's actions leading to this decision had been done to save Spock's life; Spock was more concerned with fulfilling Starfleet regulations than with sentimental notions, though he was relieved that Kirk was just demoted and not more severely punished. When split up, Kirk told Spock he'd miss him but this left Spock speechless, which somewhat annoyed Kirk.
However, Kirk wanted Spock reinstated as his first officer after Pike's death. Kirk later explained to Spock that the reason he had saved Spock's life was that he had come to see Spock as a friend (The real reason Kirk covered up his violation was most likely to protect Spock from the consequences). By this point, Spock had come to return the sentiment and was so upset by Kirk's impending death that he lost his temper and nearly killed Khan in revenge, until he learned that Khan's blood would save Kirk. Kirk and Spock also realized they each had handled the situation in the way the other would: Kirk sacrificed himself for the greater good, whereas Spock used unorthodox tactics to defeat the enemy. (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Nine hundred and sixty-six days into their five-year mission, both Kirk and Spock wished to leave the Enterprise – Kirk because he believed he needed stability to figure out who he truly was, and Spock because he wanted to leave Starfleet altogether and move to New Vulcan to help his species. After Spock saved Kirk's life, though, Kirk questioned what he himself would do without Spock as an ally, Kirk coming to the realization that he needed Spock.
Whereas Spock chose to remain in Starfleet, Kirk took back his application to vice admiral on Starbase Yorktown in order to remain on the Enterprise. The two were also shown to retain an amicable relationship and understanding of each other. Notably, while Kirk didn't want Spock on the away team to rescue the Enterprise crewmembers as he was injured, Spock requested to go as Uhura was amongst those trapped. While telling Kirk this, Spock once more called him "Jim" and Kirk agreed to let him go. (Star Trek Beyond)
Kirk and McCoy met on the transport shuttle Bardeen, which was headed to Starfleet Academy. The pair found themselves in adjacent seats where a slightly neurotic McCoy instantly opened up to the rebellious and somewhat incredulous Kirk. The two remained good friends throughout their time together at the Academy. Kirk began calling McCoy the nickname of "Bones" as the doctor had informed him when they first met that his ex-wife took everything in their divorce; all he had left was his bones.
When the time came, McCoy always had Kirk's back, such as helping him get aboard the Enterprise after his suspension and berating Spock for throwing Kirk off the ship and marooning him on Delta Vega. Despite this, McCoy berated him for forcing Spock to resign command and responded with "you gotta be kidding me!" when he learned Kirk was first officer and thus the one to take command. (Star Trek)
A year later, McCoy accompanied Kirk to Nibiru and they both ran away from the planet's angry natives when Kirk stole their sacred scroll. They both jumped off of a cliff into the ocean during the pursuit and swam to the Enterprise, much to McCoy's chagrin. Later, after Kirk was caught in John's Harrison's attack on Starfleet Headquarters, McCoy tried many times to scan Kirk for injuries, but Kirk ignored him, even when McCoy told him his vital signs were way off.
When the Enterprise arrived at Qo'noS to apprehend Harrison, McCoy inundated Kirk with metaphors – when the Enterprise's warp core malfunctioned, "you don't rob a bank when the getaway car has a flat tire", or when Sulu took command, "you just sat that man down at a high-stakes poker game with no cards and told him to bluff." Kirk asked McCoy to dispense with the metaphors, calling it an order. Following this, Kirk was killed while sacrificing himself repairing the warp core to save his crew. McCoy was saddened at the death of his friend but noticed that the dead tribble he injected with Khan's blood was alive again. McCoy had Kirk put in stasis and later performed a blood transfusion, which saved Kirk's life. (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Three years into the five-year mission, McCoy and Kirk shared a drink to commemorate Kirk's birthday. (Star Trek Beyond)
Kirk first met Nyota Uhura at a bar in Iowa in 2255, audaciously flirting with her while intoxicated, angering some other Starfleet cadet patrons of the bar, resulting in a fight. He met her again when the two studied at Starfleet Academy, although she preferred to keep a distance from him – not even ever telling him her first name – as she saw him as brash and uncouth. Trying to learn Uhura's first name became almost a mission for him.
The pair ended up serving together aboard the Enterprise, but she continued to maintain her distance from him. It was Kirk and his need for a xenolinguist that got her stationed on the bridge. Over the course of the mission, she gained some respect for him though was not pleased with his tactic of forcing Spock to relinquish command. Uhura was the first to call Kirk Captain, though it was sarcastically done. When Kirk was granted permanent command of the Enterprise, he chose Uhura as one of his senior officers. He also appeared stunned that her first name was Nyota. (Star Trek)
Over time, her discomfort vanished and she began to show unwavering loyalty to her new captain. The two developed a friendship to the point that Uhura confided in him her relationship troubles with Spock. When Pike was killed, Uhura sincerely offered her condolences and concern for the captain. When Kirk died, Uhura cried and helped Spock bring Khan down while preventing him from killing him so they could save Kirk. (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Over the next few years, the two maintained a close friendship and Uhura was shown to have a great loyalty to Kirk. During the Battle of Altamid, Uhura rushed to Kirk's aid when she realized he was in danger, risking her life to aid him in performing a saucer separation. In the face of Krall, Uhura showed absolute confidence Kirk would come for them and wouldn't leave his crew behind. (Star Trek Beyond)
Kirk and Christopher Pike almost had a father–son relationship: Pike was the one who convinced Kirk to enlist in Starfleet and to make something of himself, and even after Pike had to demote Kirk for contravening regulations, Pike wanted Kirk as his own first officer and did his best to encourage Kirk despite this setback. Kirk was later informed that Pike had done a lot to speak in Kirk's favor during the disciplinary hearing. When Khan Noonien Singh attacked the meeting of senior staff of Starfleet in San Francisco, Pike was killed, and Kirk was distraught, weeping at the loss of his mentor and becoming consumed with vengeance. (Star Trek; Star Trek Into Darkness)
Kirk's relationship with Montgomery Scott began after he met the future Enterprise chief engineer on the planet Delta Vega. While marooned on Delta Vega, Kirk unwittingly sought, with the help of the future Spock, the Scotsman's help to return to the USS Enterprise while it was still warping to rendezvous with the fleet in the Laurentian system. He quickly learned that Scott was wiser than he lead on, after first impressions belied the fact that he had begun to postulate the theory of transwarp beaming while still on active duty (misplacing Admiral Archer's beagle Porthos in the process, earning his isolation to Delta Vega).
With the aid of his transwarp beaming theory (and the future Spock) Kirk, along with Scott, managed to beam aboard the Enterprise, which was mid warp flight. Once on board the Enterprise, Scott had been inadvertently beamed straight into the ship's internal water recycling system. Following quick work by Kirk, Scott was freed, and they both tried to make their way out of engineering, only to be captured by security officers, sent by Spock, who was on the bridge.
Once on the bridge of the Enterprise, Scott was witness to Kirk's field promotion to captain, and was then instrumental in the efforts to sneak up on the war criminal Nero's ship, by helping to increase warp speed to factor 4 and to beam both Kirk and the newly-reinstated Spock onto the Narada while in the moon Titan's upper atmosphere. (Star Trek)
A year later, Scott and Kirk had somewhat of a falling out over what to do with the torpedoes that were given to the Enterprise by Admiral Marcus. But following the defeat of Khan and the death of Admiral Marcus, Scott returned to his post as chief engineer on the Enterprise. (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Kirk seemed to have been surprised at Hikaru Sulu's special training in close-hand combat, specializing in fencing. Kirk committed a selfless act when he dove off the drill platform to save Hikaru Sulu from death on Vulcan. When Kirk appointed himself as acting captain, Sulu reminded everyone that he was already first officer and therefore was able to take over the Captain's position on the Enterprise. Following the defeat of Nero, Sulu was assigned to the Enterprise as Helmsman under Kirk's command. (Star Trek)
Three years into the five-year mission, Kirk once again put Sulu briefly in command when the Enterprise engaged in battle with Krall's forces. Kirk and Sulu were among the last officers to leave the bridge when the destruction of the Enterprise was imminent. (Star Trek Beyond)
Kirk first met Pavel Chekov in 2258 when he smuggled on board the USS Enterprise. When Kirk took command of the ship after Spock stepped down due to his being emotionally compromised, he took young Chekov's suggestion that the Enterprise beam crewmembers aboard the Narada from the ship, using the magnetic distortion from Saturn's rings to hide it from the enemy's sensors. (Star Trek)
A year later, after Scott to resigned his duties over objections to the John Harrison manhunt, Kirk had enough confidence in Chekov to make him acting chief engineer. When the Enterprise was severely damaged, Chekov saved Kirk and Scott from falling to their deaths. (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Several years later, following the destruction of the Enterprise at Atlamid, Kirk and Chekov banded together on the planet's surface. Suspicious of the alien called Kalara, Kirk had Chekov track her transmission, ultimately leading to the discovery of Krall's base of operations. Barely escaping the wreck of the Enterprise, Kirk and Chekov made their way through the forests of Altamid together before becoming caught in Jaylah's booby traps set outside the wreck of the USS Franklin. (Star Trek Beyond)
Nero killed Kirk's father George in 2233. Despite this, Kirk was willing to offer assistance to his father's killer when his ship was caught in between a black hole created by the remaining red matter. However, the Romulan refused his assistance and stated that he'd "rather suffer the end of Romulus a thousand times" and "die in agony". Kirk obliged him by completing the destruction of the Narada as it was consumed by the black hole. (Star Trek)
Khan Noonien Singh
Under the identity of John Harrison, Khan killed Christopher Pike and other members of Starfleet in 2259, causing Kirk to seek revenge. Eventually capturing Khan, Kirk soon learned of his true identity and the fact that he had aided Admiral Marcus in the building of Starfleet weapons.
Kirk decided to team up with Khan to stop Marcus, though Khan eventually betrayed Kirk to overtake the USS Vengeance. After Khan killed Marcus and attacked the Enterprise, Kirk sacrificed himself to save the crew. Khan was eventually captured, due to efforts by Spock and Uhura, and put back into suspended animation. Kirk was soon revived using Khan's blood, which was administered to Kirk by McCoy. (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Despite Marcus's demotion of Kirk, in their early meetings the two had what could have been described as grandfather-grandson relationship. However, after Khan confessed his role in the Admiral's plot to wage war with the Klingons, Kirk began to doubt the Admiral and viewed him as a war criminal. Marcus himself did not have an antagonistic relationship with Kirk until the Captain lied and tried to warp Khan and the Enterprise to Earth, though he later outright admitted that he was going to kill him and the Enterprise's crew from the start of the mission he assigned them to.
To cover up the conspiracy, Marcus branded Kirk as "having gone rogue" when he attempted to warn Starfleet. Their last meeting occurred when Kirk tried to arrest him for high treason, with the Admiral openly mocking Kirk's naivete. The relationship ended when Khan crushed Marcus' skull in revenge for treating him like a slave. (Star Trek Into Darkness)
In 2263, Balthazar M. Edison, once the commanding officer of the USS Franklin and later known as Krall, attacked the Enterprise, destroying it with the help of his Swarm ships and stranding the crew on Altamid. Krall had been stranded on the planet after his ship went missing in the 2160s and had planned revenge by attacking Starbase Yorktown. Kirk and his crew, with the help of Jaylah, managed to find and repair the Franklin, traveling to Starbase Yorktown and putting a stop to Krall's plans to destroy it. (Star Trek Beyond)
Kirk also had a relationship with Christine Chapel, a Human nurse. After it ended, she moved from the Enterprise to nurse on the outer frontier. When Carol Marcus brought her up in a conversation, he did not seem to remember her. (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Kirk had an obvious and mutual attraction to Carol Marcus upon their first meeting and personally, and somewhat awkwardly, welcomed her aboard when she was permanently assigned to the Enterprise for the first five-year mission a year later. (Star Trek Into Darkness) However, she was no longer serving onboard the ship three years later. (Star Trek Beyond)
Awards and honors
For his role in saving Earth from Nero's attack, Kirk was awarded a medal and assigned to the USS Enterprise as Pike's relief. (Star Trek)
- 2233: Born on Medical shuttle 37 that was attached to the late USS Kelvin
- 2233–2255: Raised in Iowa
- 2255–2258: Cadet / lieutenant at Starfleet Academy
- Appointed acting first officer of the USS Enterprise
- Elevated to acting captain of the USS Enterprise
- Appointed captain of the USS Enterprise
- Demoted to first officer of the Enterprise
- Demoted to commander
- Reinstated to captain to hunt John Harrison, revealed to be Khan Noonien Singh
- Poisoned saving the Enterprise and crew, but revived with Khan's blood
- Applies for promotion as vice admiral
- Attacked by Krall and the Swarm, leaving the Enterprise destroyed
- Takes command of the USS Franklin and defeats the Swarm
- Fights Krall on Starbase Yorktown and manages to defeat him
- Declines promotion to vice admiral and decides to continue five-year mission aboard the USS Enterprise-A
"Citizen, what is your name?"
"My name is James Tiberius Kirk!"
- - Iowa cop and a young James Kirk (Star Trek)
"If you don't give me a name, I'm gonna have to make one up."
"Uhura? No way! That's the name I was gonna make up for you!"
- - James Kirk and Nyota Uhura (Star Trek)
"I'm impressed. For a moment there, I thought you were just a dumb hick who only had sex with farm animals."
"Well, not only..."
- - Nyota Uhura and James Kirk (Star Trek)
"Do you like being the only genius-level repeat offender in the Midwest?"
"Maybe I love it."
- - Christopher Pike and James Kirk (Star Trek)
- - James Kirk, to Christopher Pike (Star Trek)
"Two Klingon vessels have entered the neutral zone and are locking weapons on us."
"Yeah, don't worry about it."
- - Leonard McCoy and James Kirk, in the Kobayashi Maru scenario (Star Trek)
"I don't believe in no-win scenarios."
- - James Kirk, to Spock during Kirk's hearing (Star Trek)
"Who was that pointy-eared bastard anyway?"
"I don't know. But I like him."
- - James Kirk and Leonard McCoy, after meeting Spock for the first time (Star Trek)
"I am Spock."
- - Spock Prime and James Kirk, on Spock Prime's identity (Star Trek)
"You gotta be kidding!"
"Thanks for the support."
- - Leonard McCoy and James Kirk, after Kirk becoming acting captain (Star Trek)
"Attention crew of the Enterprise, this is James Kirk. Mr. Spock has resigned commission and advanced me to acting captain. I know you are all expecting to regroup with the fleet, but I'm ordering a pursuit course of the enemy ship to Earth. I want all departments at battle stations and ready in ten minutes. Either we're going down... or they are. Kirk out."
- - James Kirk, to the crew of the Enterprise after he becomes acting captain (Star Trek)
"Your species is even weaker than I expected... You can't even speak... What?"
"I got your gun!"
- - Ayel and James Kirk, before Kirk kills Ayel (Star Trek)
"What're you doin' here?"
"Just following orders."
- - Captains Pike and Kirk, as the latter (recalling an order to "come and get me") rescues the former (Star Trek)
"I would rather suffer the end of Romulus a thousand times. I would rather die in agony, than accept assistance from you."
"You got it. Arm phasers, fire everything we've got."
- - Nero and James Kirk's response, after suggesting Nero to surrender peacefully (Star Trek)
"Bones... buckle up!"
- - James Kirk to Leonard McCoy, as his first words on the bridge of the Enterprise as its assigned captain (Star Trek)
"If Spock were here, and I were there, what would he do?"
"He'd let you die."
- - James Kirk and Leonard McCoy, prior to rescuing Spock from the volcano on Nibiru (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"I gave you my ship because I saw a greatness in you. And now, I see you haven't got an ounce of humility."
- - Christopher Pike to James Kirk, on why he gave command of the Enterprise to Kirk (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"That's your problem, you think you're infallible! You think you can't make a mistake. It's a pattern with you! The rules are for other people!"
"Some should be."
"And what's worse is you using blind luck to justify your playing god!"
- - Christopher Pike and James Kirk (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"I said if anyone deserves a second chance, it's Jim Kirk."
"I don't know what to say."
"That is a first.... It's gonna be okay, son."
- - Christopher Pike, telling Kirk that he wants him as his first officer on the Enterprise (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"Where I come from, if someone saves your life, you don't stab them in the back."
- - James Kirk, to Spock (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"CLEAR THE ROOM!"
- - James Kirk, as John Harrison opens fire on the Daystrom Conference Room (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"On behalf of Christopher Pike – my friend – I accept your surrender."
- - James Kirk, to John Harrison before hitting him (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"Let me explain what's happening here. You are a criminal. I watched you murder innocent men and women. I was authorized to end you...and the only reason why you are still alive, is because I am allowing it. So SHUT... YOUR... MOUTH!"
- - James Kirk, to John Harrison in the Enterprise brig (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"Sir, My crew was just... was just following my orders. I take... I take full responsibility for my actions. But they were mine and they were mine alone. If I transmit Khan's location to you now, all that I ask is that you spare them. Please, sir. I'll do anything you want. Just let them live."
- - James Kirk, to Alexander Marcus to spare the Enterprise crew (Star Trek Into Darkness)
- - James Kirk, to the Enterprise bridge crew after failing to convince Marcus not to destroy them (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"You're right! What I'm about to do, it doesn't make sense, it's not logical, it is a gut feeling! I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. I only know what I can do. The Enterprise and her crew needs someone in that chair who knows what he's doing. And it's not me. It's you, Spock."
- - James Kirk, to Spock on his actions on aligning with Khan and trying to get on board the Vengeance (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"I'm scared, Spock. Help me not be."
- - James Kirk, to Spock as he is dying (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"There will always be those who mean to do us harm. To stop them, we risk awakening the same evil within ourselves. Our first instinct is to seek revenge when those we love are taken from us. But that's not who we are. We are here today to rechristen to USS Enterprise, and to honor those who lost their lives... nearly one year ago. When Christopher Pike first gave me his ship, he had me recite the Captain's Oath. Words I didn't appreciate at the time. But now I see them as a call for us to remember who we once were and who we must be again. And those words..."
- - James Kirk, at the rechristening of the USS Enterprise (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Her five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no one has gone before."
- - James Kirk, reciting the Captain's Oath (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"Where shall we go?"
"As a mission of this duration has never been attempted – I defer to your good judgment, captain."
- - James Kirk and Spock, as the Enterprise embarks on its five-year mission (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"Just another day in the 'Fleet."
- - James Kirk to Leonard McCoy, following the mission to Teenax (Star Trek Beyond)
"Do you believe every sad story you hear?"
- - Kalara and James T. Kirk, about Kalara's motives (Star Trek Beyond)
"What did Krall want with this thing?"
"To save you...from yourselves."
- - James Kirk and Kalara, about Krall's wanting the Abronath (Star Trek Beyond)
"Mr. Sulu. You can... you know... fly this thing, right?"
"You kidding me, sir?"
- - James T. Kirk and Hikaru Sulu, on Sulu piloting the USS Franklin (Star Trek Beyond)
"Let's make some noise"
- - James Kirk, giving the order to activate the radio disruption frequency (Star Trek Beyond)
"That's a good choice"
- - James Kirk, on hearing "Sabotage" again (Star Trek Beyond)
"I think you underestimate humanity."
"I fought for Humanity! Lost millions to the Xindi and Romulan wars. And for what? For the Federation?! To sit me in a Captain's chair and break bread with the enemy!"
"We change. We have to. Or we spend the rest of our lives fighting the same battles.".
- - James Kirk and Krall, on Humanity (Star Trek Beyond)
"You lost. There's no way for you to make it back there! Give up!"
"What, like you did? I read your ship's log Captain James T. Kirk. At least I know what I am! I'm a soldier!"
"You won the war, Edison. You gave us peace!"
"Peace...is not what I was born into."
- - James Kirk and Krall (Star Trek Beyond)
"You...can't stop it. You will die."
"Better to die saving lives, than to live with taking them. That's what I was born into."
- - Krall and James Kirk (Star Trek Beyond)
"Vice Admirals don't fly, do they?"
"No. They don't."
"Well, no offense, ma'am, but where's the fun in that?"
- - James Kirk and Paris, on his refusal of the vice admiral promotion (Star Trek Beyond)
"To the Enterprise... and to absent friends."
- --James T. Kirk's toast at his birthday party (Star Trek Beyond)
"Take us out."
"Attention, crew of the Enterprise."
"You have the conn."
- - His way of letting another officer know that they have the bridge (Star Trek Into Darkness; Star Trek Beyond)
"My name is James Tiberius Kirk."
"Lieutenant Uhura, open a ship-wide channel."
- - His way of telling Nyota Uhura to open a ship-wide channel to the Enterprise crew (Star Trek Into Darkness; Star Trek Beyond)
James T. Kirk was portrayed by Chris Pine. Young Kirk was portrayed by Jimmy Bennett. Newborn Kirk was portrayed by a silicone puppet.  For the scene in which Kirk runs into a cave on Delta Vega, child actor Joshua Greene served as body double for Pine, with the producers arranging for Greene to momentarily play Kirk so the entrance of the cave would look bigger.
Chris Pine repeatedly auditioned for the role of the alternate reality Kirk, not caring much if he got the assignment to play him. "I auditioned for it in spring 2007, just bombed the audition, and didn't think twice about it," Pine remembered. "I knew it was for Star Trek, but I didn't have much interest in it [....] Just like many auditions, you go in, you bomb it, you move on and that's life. Then about five months later, I come back from doing a couple of small movies back to back, and my agent asked me if I wanted to come in. Again I didn't have much interest in doing it, [...] [but] I went in and auditioned." (Star Trek Magazine issue 141) Pine, after describing himself as "just not a sci-fi guy," continued, "I didn't want to talk about phasers and thrusters and all that kind of stuff!" (SFX, issue 276, p. 54)
Before making his on-screen debut as Kirk, Pine consulted the originator of the part, William Shatner. "I wrote him a letter when I originally got the role, in which I just basically said that I wasn't trying to take over his role," Pine explained. "I understood the big shoes I was stepping into, and that I would never want to offend him by doing the character an injustice [....] I just wanted to do as good a job as he'd done." (Star Trek Magazine issue 141) Shatner replied, hopeful Pine would be successful in the forthcoming movie. (Star Trek Magazine issue 141; Star Trek Magazine issue 140)
While Chris Pine was beginning to play Kirk, J.J. Abrams helped him with the part, allowing Pine a great deal of free reign in portraying the character. "It made me feel a little bit safer," admitted the actor, "that I wasn't originating the role; I was merely taking it over for a little bit to see what I could do with it. Ironically, there is some safety in that." (Star Trek Magazine issue 141) On the other hand, Pine also related that he actually never felt as though he was borrowing the role, but that he always felt he owned it. (SFX, issue 276, p. 55) "Whatever issues I might have had about stepping into such an iconic role, into a piece that has already been done, and done well, by many others," he went on, "was laid to rest by this man [Abrams], who at the get go told me that he wanted to create something new [....] I was not to worry about trying to mimic Mr. Shatner, but to create something new and different and unique. That was really exciting and really fun to be around." (Star Trek Magazine issue 141) Indeed, being permitted such a degree of freedom with the character prevented Pine from ever feeling an overbearing sense of responsibility. "I hope I brought everything that I could to the role [....] I certainly felt a responsibility to do justice to what Mr. Shatner did, but I never felt like I had to in some way impersonate the Kirk that he embodied. Really, at the end of the day, I think I would have been doing an injustice to the story, and to my fellow actors, if I was trying to figure out some genius way of impersonating William Shatner, because then it would become an impersonation, not an original incarnation," Pine reckoned. "My version of the character people would have been taking apart to see how I was trying to achieve that perfect mimicry, whereas it shouldn't be like that. It should be about the story, so I had to throw caution to the wind and say, 'Screw it, here it is, here's my version of it.' I understand that it's a lose-lose situation in many ways, because I know some people are going to want to see a younger version of Mr. Shatner. I am not that, because I am simply not William Shatner. I'm my own person." (Star Trek Magazine issue 145, p. 11) Despite decidedly not impersonating Shatner's take on Kirk, Pine noted, "I thought it was necessary to pay tribute to that." As such, he actually infused his own version of the character with some of Shatner's performance attributes, especially his humor from Star Trek: The Original Series. (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 20) "It was fun in the first one to throw in little peppers of Shatner," Pine reminisced, "because he's so fun. That makes people smile. But J.J. never wanted that. He told me specifically not to do that." (SFX, issue 276, p. 55)
What Pine has based his portrayal of Kirk on more are the scripted depictions of him. Thus, the actor explained, "I think of Kirk as less of an iconic character and more as a character given to me on the written page. I used my script as my 'bible', and tried to make sense from that." (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 20) He later recalled about how he was able to adopt such a well-established role, "I just had to look at the script and say, 'If this script was attached to no other iconography or mythology, how would I do it?' I'd just have to create the character that I was given. The guy that I was given was a real maverick, kind of a pain in the ass, a lot of fun… He's the classic rogue. He had no attachment in my mind to any other character named Jim Kirk. He was just the guy in that particular script – which gave me a lot of freedom to do whatever I wanted." (SFX, issue 276, p. 55)
When adopting the part, it was important to Pine that Kirk be depicted as a relatable Human. "Kirk's interesting because he is the Everyman presented with an unbelievably epic, daunting task, an opportunity, a challenge, and he has a very difficult choice to make. It just happens it's one of the big ones, like 'try to save planet Earth' kind of thing. I think what's great about it is he's insecure, he's damaged, he's cocky, he is brash. He is all these things at once, and he's a hero, but a very human hero," the actor commented. "Anyone looking at it can see themselves in James T. Kirk. That's what was great about it. It wasn't far from myself, and I don't think the character is far from anybody. When presented with a great challenge, it's your choice to either step up to it, and try to take it on head first, or not. You try to do the best you can." (Star Trek Magazine issue 141)
Regarding how Kirk is presented in the film Star Trek, Chris Pine believed that, rather than be suddenly given a direction for his life, Kirk changes gradually. "I think there are stages in the progression of his becoming that mature leader. We're not reinventing the wheel here. It's Joseph Campbell's reluctant hero's journey. It's a version of a story that's been told since the beginning of time in every single culture on the planet." One motivation Kirk has, at least in Pine's opinion, is the challenge to improve himself that Pike gives him. "Kirk takes it head on. That doesn't mean that right at the get-go, right when he accepts that challenge, he becomes a reasoned, mature leader. There's an arc to that journey." Pine also "certainly" found that, by the end of the film, Kirk is "getting there." The actor continued, "What it shows is all that passion, that drive, that impulsiveness and arrogance can be molded and shaped into something a little bit more functional in a team setting. But it's exactly those qualities that make James Kirk a great man." (Star Trek Magazine issue 145, p. 10)
Chris Pine approved of the many different emotions he was able to play while portraying Kirk in the initial movie. "I think what was great about Kirk is that I get to really run the gamut of emotions, and I get to run the gamut of every single genre within this character. I get to be a comedian, an action hero, a take-charge leader. I get to be my own version of Jason Bourne – I have all these different qualities that I get to bring to life. I don't think I'd be doing anyone any favors by saying which was the most satisfying [....] It's like any boy's dream. Playing pretend on that multimillion dollar Bridge was like playing cops and robbers with real horses and real robbers!" (Star Trek Magazine issue 145, p. 11)
There were, however, particular moments in the initial depiction of the alternate reality Kirk which appealed to Chris Pine. "There was a lot of humour and a lot of action [to] it, but what really got me about the role were two pivotal scenes at the beginning of the movie that lays out James T. Kirk to a T. Those were the most exciting scenes, and the ones I was most looking forward to taking on." (Star Trek Magazine issue 141) The two scenes Pine was drawn to were the scene in which Kirk tries to flirt with Uhura upon first meeting her but gets into a bar fight with a group of Starfleet cadets, and the next scene, in which he talks with Christopher Pike while still in the bar. A year after making the previous statement, Pine elaborated about that pair of scenes, "Not that it's 'Kirk to a T,' but it certainly explains much of who he is and I guess why he has so much anger and such a passionate dislike of Starfleet before he changes his mind. I also think in those two scenes you get a chance to see [...] Kirk's sense of humor. J.J. really wanted to make sure [...] that Kirk is that wisecracking, smart but kind of directionless young man." Pine additionally remarked that he "loved the bar scene because I get to be that kind of bad ass hero that I grew up watching." (Star Trek Magazine issue 145, pp. 10 & 11)
In the stage directions for his bar fight, the script characterized Kirk as a "spirited" fighter.  His fighting style was purposely designed to suit the character's personality. Regarding how this is shown in the film Star Trek, Pine observed, "The kind of baser, more brutal instincts of Kirk [compared to Spock] are seen in that bar fight at the beginning... And the fight with Ayel, and the fight with Nero!" Sulu actor John Cho agreed, "Chris Pine had more of a barroom brawler type of training." For the same film, Pine trained for three or four hours a day, over a stretch of two months. He found the training was "intense" but "a lot of fun." (Star Trek Magazine issue 145, pp. 12, 41 & 13)
Chris Pine approved of the maverick, wildcard side of Kirk's personality being shown. "I think it was very important, especially for the first film, to have that version of the character," the actor remarked. "There were fans that were dismayed that he had so much bravado – but there's no place for the character to go if you don't start somewhere." (SFX, issue 276, p. 54) As such, inspired by the portrayal of an evil Kirk in TOS: "The Enemy Within", Pine proposed to J.J. Abrams that, in Star Trek Into Darkness, the alternate reality Kirk might undergo a similar transformation. "I wanted [him] to go dark and rogue," noted Pine, though his request wasn't granted. (Star Trek Magazine Movie Special 2016, p. 20; SFX, issue 276, p. 54)
Kirk's demotion at the start of Star Trek Into Darkness was prompted by fan criticism that the character had been promoted too quickly at the end of Star Trek.  Orci and Kurtzman described the second film as being about Kirk earning the captain's chair, and proving that by sacrificing himself. 
After J.J. Abrams gave the script for Star Trek Into Darkness to the cast members, Kirk's character arc made sense to Chris Pine, as did Abrams' advice. "Really, what he kept stressing in the second one was the fact that Kirk might have gotten the Captain's chair in the first one, but in the second one he has to earn the Captain's chair," Pine recollected. "What does it mean to be a leader? In the first one, he became one very quickly and accidentally. In the second one, he finds himself growing up very fast, becoming an adult very fast. The bravado he does so well in the first film, in the second maybe isn't the best quality or color with which to lead these men and women into battle. It's really about humility, and maturity, and growing up in a couple of hours [....] The fact that Kirk is the Captain of this ship, and is going through a major existential crisis, does not bode well for where the crew and the Enterprise find themselves in the middle of this picture [....] This Kirk is still trying to figure the best way to lead, and who his consigliores are, and who it's wisest to trust [....] I think it makes for an interesting story." Pine found returning to play Kirk, however, was more nerve-wracking than when he introduced the character in the previous film. (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, pp. 21 & 23)
The script of Star Trek, upon describing Kirk's reaction to the death of Amanda Grayson, stated, "There's no cheating death," though that is precisely what Kirk himself does in Star Trek Into Darkness. 
Chris Pine appreciated the reasons behind Kirk's actions in the movies Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. "[Those films] were, for Kirk, a lot about dealing with the loss of his father, looking up to his second father [Bruce Greenwood's Captain Pike], and taking guidance from him while living in the shadow of the legacy of this father that he never got to meet; the anger he feels at having not met him and known him," Pine mused. "Those are all wonderful motivators for Kirk – to try to get noticed, to do a good job, to be the best." (Star Trek Magazine Movie Special 2016, p. 18)
During the development of Star Trek Beyond, the film's writing team were somewhat uncertain how to forward the character of Kirk, but did decide to set the film a couple of years after the previous movie. The director of Star Trek Beyond, Justin Lin, stated, "Especially coming after Into Darkness, where Kirk actually sacrificed himself for everybody already, how do you go on? The time jump was important, because what happens after that? When Kirk thinks about life, what does that mean? How does that reflect on him, and those more subtle, existential issues? With the time we were allowed to have, it helps Kirk in this instance." (Star Trek Magazine Movie Special 2016, p. 8) Simon Pegg, as he was co-writing the film, consulted Chris Pine about any character requests he had, to which Pine asked for the humor from earlier in the series to be preserved and protected in the forthcoming movie, a desire which influenced the writing of Kirk's scenes with Chekov in the film. (Star Trek Magazine Movie Special 2016, p. 20)
Chris Pine's portrayal of Kirk inspired the costumes which were designed for Pine to wear in the film. "Because he's such a gorgeous guy, I saw him as almost like a space cowboy," admitted Costume Designer Sanja Hays. "So, for me personally, I just wanted to do justice to him, and make him look as good as possible, because he's such a charismatic man." (Star Trek Magazine Movie Special 2016, p. 42)
The notion of presenting a maturer Kirk in Star Trek Beyond was welcomed by Chris Pine, who said, "What I really enjoy about this part of Kirk's arc is that he's relieved of all the onus of trying to live up to his father and the anger of never having met his father, all the stuff that drove the first couple of films." Pine was aware too that, in Beyond, Kirk is nonetheless still partly as he was in the film Star Trek, retaining a sense of being an "iconoclast that is beholden to his own sense of morality and not anybody else's rules and regulations." Pine also pointed out that his hairstyle in Star Trek Beyond is one of several stylistic "nods" to TOS in the movie, commenting, "My haircut in the film is a bit '60s Kirkian!" Conversely, Pine thought it was still important that he not impersonate Shatner's Kirk in the film, adding, "My role is to disappear, [...] so I've got to blend into the background enough to let [Krall actor] Idris [Elba] do his stuff." (SFX, issue 276, pp. 54 & 55) While working on Star Trek Beyond, Pine felt an increased sense of personal ownership regarding the role of Kirk. (Star Trek Magazine Movie Special 2016, p. 20)
Chris Pine has admitted that his portrayal of Kirk has been influenced by his own real life experiences, and speculated about how Kirk would cope with a promotional tour, the likes of which he and his castmates undertook to promote Star Trek Beyond. "I think he'd probably be a big fan of the hanging out with friends, and not so big a fan of answering questions," Pine reckoned. (Star Trek Magazine Movie Special 2016, p. 20)
When asked (shortly after the making of Star Trek Beyond) if he could imagine playing an older and retiring Kirk in a few decades, Chris Pine answered, "That's too far in the future for me to say, but at this point, I'd be very interested, sure." Pine also acknowledged that he loves the character of Kirk and expressed an interest in continuing to return in the role, despite being unsure of precisely how his version of Kirk will develop in the future. (Star Trek Magazine Movie Special 2016, p. 22)
McCoy actor Karl Urban once stated about his co-star Chris Pine, "He is absolutely spot on as Kirk." With a laugh, Zoë Saldana agreed, "His approach to the character, the kind of Kirk that he and J.J. created, is so much fun. He's so sexy, so entertaining, and at the same time such a leader. This Kirk is no different than the original one: definitely a flirt, and the cockiness is overbearing at times, but it makes him who he is [....] And there's an intriguing sensitivity about him." (Star Trek Magazine issue 145, pp. 22 & 35) Khan actor Benedict Cumberbatch raved, "I think Chris [Pine] is one of the best leading men there is. He's extraordinary in the performance he gives. He's really smart, he varies his game, he's constantly grinding away at the script, the story arcs. He's always paying attention to where his character is, and Kirk's story in the overall scheme of things." (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 27) Jonathan Frakes concurred, "Pine is perfect as Kirk." (SFX, issue 270, p. 63)
The 2013 virtual collectible card battle game Star Trek: Rivals uses screenshots for card #36, Recruit James T. Kirk, card #56, Cadet James T. Kirk, card #84, Acting First Officer James T. Kirk, and card #101, Captain James T. Kirk.
The novelization of Star Trek by Alan Dean Foster states that Winona Kirk was given an inhibitor that would help slow the birth of James until the Kelvin's return to Earth. However, the impacts to the ship by the Narada's attack cause her to go into early labor. The novelization also merges the conflicting abusive-adult characters, making "Frank" the boys' step-father, and revealing that he wanted the car washed because he planned to sell it behind Winona's back, which is what truly drives Jim to steal it.
Kirk is one of the playable characters in the 2013 Star Trek video game. Prior to leaving the bridge for his trip to Helios Station (β), Sulu and Kirk briefly discuss friendly sparring matches they'd had in the past. According to Sulu, Kirk was improving, as he almost made contact the last time.