Star Trek Generations Captain Kirk’s Death
#5 – James T. Kirk
When you’re James T. Kirk risk is a part of your business, and despite taking risks every time the Enterprise went on a new mission Captain Kirk survived a lot of risky situations, there were two, however, that he could not survive.
There have been two on screen versions of James T. Kirk, both of whom have died and been resurrected, both times to protect the crew of the USS Enterprise. The first was set in the Prime Timeline, and the second in the Kelvin Timeline.
How the First time happened:
During the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-B’s initial launch and first shakedown cruise the living legends from the Enterprise and Enterprise A were asked to attend as guests of honour, as the Enterprise B encountered an energy ribbon which was traversing space and had caused the destruction of a refugee ship, the Lakul, during the rescue mission Kirk tries to save the ship and he along with the bulk of the deflector dish are blown out into space and he is declared dead.
It could be argued that this wasn’t the true death of Captain Kirk, that his death actually occurred later in the film when he helped Captain Picard fight off the El-Auron villain Soran, we’ll also take that into account as we look at his resurrection.
How he returned:
It turns out that the energy ribbon was actually a phenomenon known as the Nexus, a sort of alternate reality where anyone caught inside of it is allowed to live their life in their own idillic setting, for Kirk this meant his home in Iowa, with his beloved horse. Ultimately Picard would persuade him to exit the Nexus and return with him to fight Soran, thus reviving him.
Some have argued that this is not his true death, that the fight with Soran is where he died and was never resurrected, however, I disagree with this assessment, with all the spacefaring lifeforms we’ve seen during the run of the franchise the closest analogue to the Nexus is the telepathic pitcher plant in Star Trek Voyager which was able to make people see what they wanted as it digested them. I submit that when Kirk entered the Nexus he was dead.
In the non-Canon world of Star Trek Novels Kirk is resurrected from his final burial site after re-entering the Nexus once again, proving, though not in Canon, that the Nexus can revive the dead, which Kirk was when he entered it the first time also.
How it happened the second time:
During the events of Star Trek Into Darkness the Kelvin timeline version of Captain Kirk, in a scene that mirrored the events of the ending of Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan sacrifices himself by locking himself in a radiation filled chamber in order to realign the engines of the USS Enterprise allowing the ship to escape it’s certain destruction. The radiation is more than his body can handle and Captain Kirk ultimately dies of radiation poisoning.
How he returned the second time:
Thanks to some brilliant Deus Ex Machina by Spock, he realizes that the blood of their enemy, John Harrison, aka. Khan can reverse the damage caused by the radiation, and revive the now dead Captain Kirk. Spock captures Khan and extracts enough blood to inject Kirk and bring him back to life.
A heroes death on two separate occasions, saving many lives both times, including the Captain’s of two future Enterprise’s has given us enough to rank his deaths #5 on our list.