What the “T” in James T. Kirk was rumoured to be on Star Trek

Image courtesy Star Trek Explorer magazine
Image courtesy Star Trek Explorer magazine /

Star Trek fans were really curious about the “t” in Captain Kirk’s name

In the second pilot for Star Trek: The Original Series, “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” we catch a glimpse of Captain Kirk’s gravestone, and it reads James R. Kirk. Well, that didn’t stick, and soon it became James T. Kirk, with no indication what the “t” stood for. Trekkies are notoriously curious so rumors began to swirl about what exactly that one letter stood for.  It wasn’t until after the series had concluded its run that the truth behind the initial was revealed.

According to Ultimate Classic Rock, at the 1972 Star Trek Lives! convention, which was expected to have 300-600 guests, over 3,000 people attended, and they were eager to hear from the guest stars which included, Gene Roddenberry, Dorothy D.C. Fontana, Majel Barrett and Isaac Asimov. When it was revealed what Kirk’s middle name was, it put to be a long-standing rumor that the “t” stood for “Tomcat,” since Kirk had had a fair amount of love interests on the series.

In all fairness, though, Kirk didn’t have that many romantic relationships during the show’s run

Though he kissed nineteen women, according to MeTV, he was not “involved” with all of those women. In fact, for him to have been considered a “tomcat,” there would have been far more indications that he’d gone beyond just kissing.

Still, I do wonder if fans were disappointed to learn the true middle name of William Shatner’s character. Would they rather have kept believing in the rumor? There is certainly something to be said for mystery. But, alas, David Gerrold, who wrote The Troubles with Tribbles, ended the mystery when, after reading a book on Roman history, he offered up Tiberius as a middle name for the Enterprise captain. Gene Roddenberry approved, and the name first debuted on television in The Animated Series.

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