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The Best of James T. Kirk: Kelvin Edition

In celebration of Chris Pine's birthday, we're looking back at Kirk's time on the Enterprise.

Illustrated banner featuring Chris Pine as James T. Kirk

Forty years after Star Trek: The Original Series aired its last on-air episode, James T. Kirk and his Enterprise made their way back onto big screens in 2009 with the release of 2009's Star TrekChris Pine would be the second actor to take on the iconic role of Star Trek's beloved captain, making the role his own.

Ahead of the release of Star Trek Into Darkness, speaking to back in 2013, Pine revealed what drew him to his character's journey from the first film to its sequel, "What I was most excited about was that, for someone like Kirk, for someone who you’d expect to be a strong and confident leader, and who certainly from the first film had that self-assuredness, in this one, I got to explore the flip side of that. The flip side is self-doubt and fallibility and this kind of existential crisis about whether or not he’s meant for the captain’s chair and whether or not he’s good enough. To begin a film and to carry the hero, or one of the heroes, from such a place of weakness, I thought that was an interesting challenge and one I looked forward to."

In celebration of Chris Pine's birthday, we're highlighting several of his character-defining quotes across his three Kelvin Timeline films.

Star Trek (2009)

Deciding into enlist at Starfleet Academy, James T. Kirk boards the shuttle and looks over all the cadets on board in Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek (2009)

Four years? I'll do it in three.

Kirk vs. The Kobayashi Maru's No-Win Scenario - Star Trek

I don't believe in no-win scenarios.

After Spock steps down as acting captain for being emotionally compromised, James Kirk steps up to command the Enterprise and sits in the Captain's Chair as the crew on the bridge reacts in Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek (2009)

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.

Spock and James Kirk on the Bridge of the Enterprise standing, both looking forward at the viewscreen, with Spock turned towards Jim in Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek (2009)

It's logic, Spock – I thought you'd like that.”

“No, not really. Not this time.

Kirk and Spock

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 Kirk

Star Trek Into Darkness

John Harrison/Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) in questioned while in detainment by Spock (Zachary Quinto) and James Kirk (Chris Pine) in Star Trek Into Darkness

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!

Sulu and Carol Marcus address Admiral Marcus who appears on the viewscreen of the U.S.S. Enterprise in Star Trek Into Darkness

Sir, my crew was just, was just following my orders. 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 dying reaches out to his friend Spock in his last moments in Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness

I'm scared, Spock. Help me not be.

Speaking at the podium at the U.S.S. Enterprise rechristening ceremony, James Kirk address the crowd in 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 U.S.S. 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.

Star Trek Beyond

James Kirk confronts Krall in Star Trek Beyond

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

Kirk and Krall

Better to die saving lives, than to live with taking them. That's what I was born into.