Captain James T. Kirk
Captain James T. Kirk tos
General Information

Gender Male
Aliases James Tiberius Kirk, Jimmy, Jim, Captain Kirk, Admiral Kirk
Birthday March 22, 2233 (Stardate 1277.1)
Race Human
TV Show Star Trek
Film Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Credit William Shatner


The intrepid and dashing Captain of the USS Enterprise, he is admired and beloved by his crew as well for his tendency to risk himself first and foremost and renowned for his priority of placing the ship and the crew above his own safety. Captain James T. Kirk is regarded as being as much a soldier as a diplomat and explorer and one of the greatest Captains of Starfleet history as well as one of their greatest mavericks for his tendency to break the rules whenever it suited him or the situation.

Captain James T. Kirk first appeared on September 8, 1966 in the television series Star Trek: The Original Series episode, "The Man Trap". He was portrayed by William Shatner; boldly going where no man has gone before in the 23rd Century.

In his role as Captain Kirk, Shatner was one of the central characters of the original Star Trek TV series where he appeared regularly and would go on to reprise his role in the 1973 animated cartoon and the first seven films of the movie franchise based on it.

In the 2009 feature reboot film Star Trek and its sequels, he was replaced by Chris Pine.


James Tiberius Kirk was born on March 22, 2233, in Riverside, Iowa to Starfleet Commander George Samuel Kirk Sr. and his wife, Winona. His elder brother was George Samuel Kirk, Jr. His parents named him James after his maternal grandfather while his middle name of Tiberius came from his paternal grandfather.

At the age of 13, he and his family lived briefly on Tarsus IV where a food crisis prompted Governor Kodos decided in a cold-blooded attempt to save as many of the colonists as he could by killing 4,000 of those he deemed the least fit to survive; including James Kirk who was one of only nine surviving eyewitnesses to the massacre.

The Tarsus Incident led Kirk to be a bitter and rebellious teenager who blamed his absentee father for not being there and contemptuous of a useless Starfleet which failed to save Kodos' victims. Moving back to Earth, he became known as a cocky and reckless troublemaker and often skipped school before he tried to run away from home at the age of 16 with his own gang of ne'er-do-wells, breaking dozens of laws in the process. He was found and detained by his father who dragged him back home.

Fearful that his son was heading towards a life of crime; at the behest of his wife, George Kirk decided to take his son on a small, peaceful space mission as a demonstration of the value of his career as a Starfleet officer, causing him to beg a favor from an old family friend, Captain Robert April.

April agreed and brought them aboard the USS Enterprise on what would be a minor goodwill mission to a small and newly established archaeological settlement. However, the Enterprise was forced to divert for an emergency which would have caused them to miss the ceremony at the settlement. As a result, Captain April decided to take a small shuttlecraft with George and James Kirk on their own to make the trip and still be on time. However, they were beset by pirates who sought to cripple the shuttlecraft and seize it. Unfortunately, this small-time band of pirates underestimated the resourcefulness of the Starfleet crew who managed to badly damage their vessel and left them powerless for a time. However the crew realized that their actions had only managed to delay the pirates who were slowly repairing their vessel and would soon finish the job.

Realizing that the shuttlecraft crew was doomed, George Kirk and Robert April fashioned a makeshift lifepod rigged with a distress beacon which they ordered James to enter which they would eject, allowing him to escape and hopefully be picked up. A horrified James realized that they were sacrificing themselves to give him a chance to survive and after shortly being launched; used his criminal expertise to hack the pod's computer which he sent on a collision course with the pirate vessel. Crashing into the pirates' ship, he was at first thought dead by both pirates and Starfleet crew. James Kirk however survived, having managed to inadvertently board the ship and was able to selectively sabotage the inertial dampening field of pirates' ship at a critical moment inflicting massive damage and causalities.

Now just as badly damaged as the shuttlecraft, the Starfleet crew decided to follow in James' footsteps and performed a forced boarding themselves and began a vicious battle for control of the ship only to find themselves at a stalemate with the pirates holding James as hostage. Despite being held hostage, James managed to instigate a near-mutiny within the pirates' ranks, deliberating provoking them into squabbling amongst themselves which further weakened their numbers culminating in the death of the pirates' Captain. The tense stalemate came to an abrupt end when the Enterprise arrived, having received a communique from the archaeological settlement detailing that Captain April and his party had never arrived.

Afterwards, an injured April made note to James Kirk that his father saw his behavior as a sign of potential criminal larceny. April admitted that George Kirk, Sr. was right. That deep down―James Kirk was a criminal hoodlum who delighted in breaking the rules.

On the other hand, April noted that it was that criminal gangster aspect who had an amazing ability to seize opportunity when no one else saw it, to turn it to his own advantage and for his own survival, and who could get inside people's heads and use it against them. And that part of himself might be able to save a lot of lives someday―if properly guided and channeled constructively. And his behavior in the escape pod also proved that unlike most criminals, James had a capacity for self-sacrifice. As it so happened, April knew of a special institution which just might be able to properly harness those energies and so pulled a few strings that got James Kirk a slot in the upcoming class at Starfleet Academy where he excelled in his classes, particularly history.

As a result of his younger than usual age as a Starfleet Cadet, his father's noted career as an officer, and the sponsorship of the legendary Robert April; James Kirk became renowned as a hard nosed, overly serious, and by-the-book rule obsessed cadet among his peers. His behavior earned him the torment of an upperclassman, Sean Finnegan who relentlessly pulled all manner of practical jokes on him. Kirk also met and became close friends with Gary Mitchell during his time at the Academy with Mitchell being one of the few individuals who could get Kirk to relax.

Despite his grades, Kirk barely graduated from the Academy after facing the legendary Kobayashi Maru command scenario. Unlike his fellow cadets, Kirk refused to accept defeat and demanded to retake the scenario on multiple occasions, always failing and losing his ship until his instructor informed him that it was quite literally impossible to win. An outraged Kirk realized that the simulation was cheating by ensuring that he would always fail and the instructor would blithely inform him that the Kobayashi Maru was a test of character: to see how the prospective cadet responded to a no-win scenario. On his next attempt however, Kirk successfully completed the mission to the flabbergasted shock of the instructors who realized that Kirk's solution was to cheat by reprogramming the computer. Kirk barely escaped expulsion from the Academy although one Admiral bemusedly gave him a commendation for original lateral thinking.

Major Plots

At the age of 32, James Kirk became the youngest ever Starfleet Captain and was awarded command of the USS Enterprise from the newly promoted Commodore Christopher Pike upon the successful completion of his second five-year mission. Kirk was originally hesitant towards having Commander Spock serve as his First Officer and had pushed for his best friend, Gary Mitchell to assume the post. However, Mitchell had been recuperating from injuries sustained on an away mission and thus was unavailable when Kirk assumed command of the Enterprise. By the time Mitchell had completed his rehabilitation several months late, Spock had already attained Kirk's confidence and loyalty forcing Kirk to inform the newly transferred Mitchell that he would not be assuming the XO position as expected.

Nevertheless their friendship survived and on an exploratory mission to the extragalactic barrier, Mitchell and a new crew member, Dr. Elizabeth Dehner were exposed to the unidentified energies which fundamentally altered them. Mitchell became increasingly powerful and disturbingly disdainful of the rest of the crew while Dehner's potential was weaker and her powers were slower to evolve. Commander Spock bluntly suggested that they kill Mitchell before he became too powerful but Kirk instead elected to maroon Mitchell on an isolated planet. However, his plan failed to account for Mitchell's exponentially increasing powers and Kirk was forced into a fierce duel against his former friend and it was only thanks to Dehner sacrificing her life to aid him that he was able to kill Mitchell.

Kirk became close friends with Spock and the ship's doctor, Leonard McCoy over the course of their 5-year mission. His adventures throughout his spectacular 5-year mission would ultimately make him and the Enterprise into the heroes of Federation and living legends. Upon completion of this 5-year mission, Kirk was immediately promoted to Starfleet Admiralty and became the Chief of Starfleet Operations in 2270.

Personality and Traits

An incredibly charismatic individual, James Kirk was an exceptional leader and commander of men. He inspired great loyalty and admiration from his crew and officers. He was a highly passionate man who took everything extremely personally. He could be violent but also sensitive enough to mourn the loss of an entire alien culture that he barely knew. Perhaps the greatest thing that defined his life however was the USS Enterprise. He was often troubled about his connection to the ship who was a jealous mistress; when aboard her, he found himself longing for a simpler life with a wife and family yet when he wasn't on the ship, he felt adrift and lost without the Enterprise.

Kirk was considered to be a great military leader and a cunning opponent. Highly adept in space tactics, he was was greatly admired for his impressive ship handling skills and ability to adapt rapidly to an opponent's tactics. Kirk was equally well known for being unconventional in his tactics as well as being unpredictable and extremely underhanded who wasn't afraid to bluff, lie, or cheat if it gave him an advantage.



TV Series

Star Trek

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

  • Spock's Brain
  • The Enterprise Incident
  • The Paradise Syndrome
  • And the Children Shall Lead
  • Is There in Truth No Beauty?
  • Spectre of the Gun
  • Day of the Dove
  • For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky
  • The Tholian Web
  • Plato's Stepchildren
  • Wink of an Eye
  • The Empath
  • Elaan of Troyius
  • Whom Gods Destroy
  • Let That Be Your Last Battlefield
  • The Mark of Gideon
  • That Which Survives
  • The Lights of Zetar
  • Requiem for Methuselah
  • The Way to Eden
  • The Cloud Minders
  • The Savage Curtain
  • All Our Yesterdays
  • Turnabout Intruder


  • William Shatner was not the first choice to portray Captain Kirk. Jack Lord was the top contender for the role but demanded partial ownership of the show which the studio rejected and Lloyd Bridges was next considered but felt that Star Trek would not last and turned them down, citing his previous failures in the sci-fi genre.


  • We humans are full of unpredictable emotions that logic cannot solve.
  • "One of the advantages of being a captain, Doctor, is being able to ask for advice without necessarily having to take it." ―James T. Kirk to Dr. McCoy; Star Trek, "Dagger of the Mind"
  • Your logic can be most... annoying.
  • Now, Mr.Spock and I are going to go out there ... and quite probably die. In an attempt to show you ... that there are some things ... worth dying for.
  • "Intuition, however illogical, Mr. Spock, is recognized as a command prerogative." ―James T. Kirk to Spock; Star Trek, "Obsession"
  • "Well, Bones, in the language of the planet, what's your beef?" ―James T. Kirk to Dr. McCoy; Star Trek, "A Piece of the Action"
  • We're very tired, Mr. Spock. Beam us up home.
  • They used to say that if Man was meant to fly, he'd have wings. But he did fly. He discovered he had to.
  • Risk... Risk is our business. That's what this starship is all about. That's why we're aboard her.
  • Very good, Spock. We'll make a human out of you yet.
  • A star captain's most solemn oath is that he will give his life, even his entire crew, rather than violate the Prime Directive.
  • No one may kill a man. Not for any purpose. It cannot be condoned.
  • We fight only when there is no other choice. We prefer the ways of peaceful contact.
  • Mr. Spock, the women on your planet are logical. That's the only planet in this galaxy that can make that claim.
  • The prejudices people feel about each other disappear when they get to know each other.
  • "Death, destruction, disease, horror... that's what war is all about Anan. 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 five hundred years. Since it seems to be the only way I can save my crew and my ship, I'm going to end it for you, one way or another." ―James T. Kirk to Anan 7; Star Trek, "A Taste of Armageddon"
  • "I don't believe in the no-win scenario." ―James T. Kirk to Saavik; Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  • "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 us." ―James T. Kirk to Spock; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
  • "Risk is part of the game if you want to sit in that chair." ―James T. Kirk to Captain Harriman; 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." ―James T. Kirk to Jean-Luc Picard; Star Trek: Generations

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