Published May 17, 2022
Strange New Worlds 101: The Kirk Family
Let’s talk about one of Trek’s most famous families.
By StarTrek.com Staff
Spoilers for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds episode two to follow!
Welcome back to Strange New Worlds 101! Last week, we explored the history of the Prime Directive (or, as Pike calls it, General Order 1), and this week we’re diving into one of the most famous families in all of Star Trek: the Kirk family. While fans are definitely familiar with one James Tiberius Kirk, Strange New Worlds is shifting the spotlight over to Samuel Kirk, Jim’s older brother.
Audiences first met Samuel Kirk in a way, in the TOS episode “Operation — Annihilate!” Samuel unfortunately was a victim of the strange parasitic creatures that had overtaken the colony he lived on, though his wife and child survived. Sam is also mentioned in the TOS episode “What Are Little Girls Made Of?”, where Kirk mentions his brother was there to send him off on his five year mission, along with his sister-in-law and nephews.
In the Kelvin universe, Samuel makes a brief appearance in Star Trek (2009) as his brother speeds past him in a stolen car. However, in the final cut of the film, Sam’s appearance is changed to “Johnny,” who is presumably a friend of young Jim Kirk; Sam’s other scenes were cut from the theatrical version.
Samuel’s full name is George Samuel Kirk; he’s named after his father, George. George Kirk’s most famous appearance in the Star Trek canon comes in the Kelvin universe. In the opening of Star Trek (2009), George is put in command of the U.S.S. Kelvin when the Romulan mining vessel manned by Nero appears through a wormhole. After the Kelvin’s captain is killed, George orders the evacuation of all personnel and saves 800 lives, including that of his wife and his newly born son, James. However, in order to insure the escape of the Kelvin’s crew, George sacrifices himself and is killed when the Kelvin collides with Nero’s ship.
In Strange New Worlds, Samuel Kirk is a charming lieutenant onboard the Enterprise, serving under Chief Science Officer Spock. Of course, fans know that Spock’s relationship with Samuel’s younger brother Jim is one of the most important dynamics of the Star Trek franchise, so it’s a fun nod to that future by having Samuel serve onboard the Enterprise alongside Spock. We even get to see Samuel and Spock go on an away mission together in “Children of the Comet,” where Samuel displays his brother’s usual devil-may-care attitude. However, Samuel ends up unconscious for most of the mission, due to being a bit careless as he approached part of M’Hanit.
We know that James Kirk will make an appearance in season two of Strange New Worlds. It would be a delight to see him interact with his brother, as the pair haven’t shared much screen time in either universe. Are two Kirk brothers more prone to shenanigans than just one? We’ll have to wait to see if we’ll see them have an adventure together.
Relive your favorite moments from “Children of the Comet” with our official recap, and share your theories and thoughts with us @StarTrek on social!