Why Captain Kirk’s Corpse Is In Star Trek: Picard, Officially Explained

Star Trek: Picard included Kirk's corpse to open the door for eventually retconning his death in Generations.

By Sean Thiessen | Updated

william shatner

Eagle-eyed fans spotted Captain Kirk in Picard Season 3, and many have wondered why the Easter egg was included. As reported by Screen Rant, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds showrunner Akiva Goldsman said that the choice might open the door to retcon Kirk’s unsatisfying death in Star Trek Generations.

The 1994 film saw worlds collide, teaming Captain Kirk and Captain Picard, two generations of Enterprise captains, together. While foiling a sinister plot by the demented Dr. Soran, Kirk is crushed by a falling bridge and killed.

For decades, Star Trek fans have derided the anticlimactic sendoff to the legendary captain. According to Goldsman, he and Picard showrunner Terry Matalas are among those fans. “My friend Terry Matalas is not alone in feeling frustrated with Kirk’s death in canon,” Goldsman said. “It’s why he put his body at Daystrom Station, right?”

In Season 3, Episode 6 of Picard, the title character leads a squad to break into Section 31’s Daystrom Station, a maximum security storage facility filled to the brim with strange weapons, experiments, and contraband. Among the many intriguing things on the station was the body of James T. Kirk.

When Kirk died in Generations, his body was buried on the planet Veridian III, so his appearance on the Daystrom Station years later raises some eyebrows. The creative team at Star Trek’s helm has not admitted to plans to revive Captain Kirk, but they admit they have left the door open.

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The lonely death of Captain Kirk in Star Trek: Generations

Kirk’s return to Star Trek could come in many forms. He could be in an animated series or return as a digital reconstruction. The Star Wars franchise has embraced bringing back legacy characters this way, and Star Trek may follow suit.

Whether audiences see the character return as a young version of William Shatner, as he was seen in the original series, or at the older age he was when Kirk died is unknown. Matalas and the Picard team planted Kirk’s return to Star Trek in a way that nearly anything could happen.

The Daystrom Station facility had many Easter eggs, including the Genesis Device from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, as well as genetically altered Tribbles. With the introduction of this strange archive, the franchise has opened itself to myriad legacy stories that could expand upon classic characters and technology from decades of canon.

Meanwhile, Chris Pine is still on the hook about his return to the role for a fourth entry in the Kelvin Timeline. The alleged Star Trek 4 has been stuck in development since Star Trek Beyond premiered in 2016. Several directors and story possibilities have come and gone, leaving the project dead in the water.

While the next movie remains pending, Star Trek’s series have boomed on Paramount+. Season 3 of Picard and the acclaimed Strange New Worlds has reinvigorated the franchise, and the new shows no signs of slowing down. Picard showed that fans are ready to see the old be new again, and that may land Kirk back in the captain’s chair in a way fans never expected.

Until then, Star Trek fans can prepare themselves for the return of Strange New Worlds and Lower Decks this summer, Prodigy, and the final season of Discovery after that. Michelle Yeoh is also lined up to lead the film Star Trek: Section 31. And who knows? Perhaps Captain Kirk will join her.

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