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Has Captain Kirk Always Had a Brother in the ‘Star Trek’ Canon?

Or is this like a "Dawn in Buffy" kind of scenario.

Christopher Pike and Sam Kirk in Strange New Worlds

One of the beautiful things about Star Trek as a franchise is that, with so many television series/films (and beyond), you can choose to be as engaged, no pun intended, as you want to be. Maybe you only like The Next Generation. Or you might be a Discovery kid. Or all about the Kelvinverse. You can enjoy individual pieces on their own. But while the various Star Trek adventures don’t 100 percent connect, there are threads that pull the galaxy together, and tons of backstory amongst the plethora of official material. So, when you ask a question about the canon (like—Captain James Tiberius Kirk has a brother named Sam (played by Dan Jeannotte) on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds? Since when does Kirk have a brother??), you might be surprised to find the answer has already been layered into the larger universe. In that particular case, Kirk’s brother was introduced well before Strange New Worlds. Here’s what you need to know about the character.

Who is this other Kirk kid?

George Samuel Kirk doesn’t appear often in the greater Star Trek canon, but the character is first mentioned in an episode of Star Trek, the original series, called, “What Are Little Girls Made Of.” In the episode, we learn that the other Kirk has three sons and lives with his wife, Aurelan, on the planet Deneva. Note that he goes by Sam, instead of George Jr. after his father. In a later episode, titled “Operation: Annihilate,” Sam briefly appears played by William Shatner himself. Like Jeannotte’s Sam, his most distinguishing feature on TOS was a mustache. So, Kirk has had a brother since the beginning—but in Strange New Worlds, it looks like we’re going to dive deeper into the brothers Kirk.

We almost had more Sam…

James Tiberius’ brother was actually supposed to be in Star Trek (2009), played by future The Magicians actor Spencer Daniels. Unfortunately, the part got cut and in Daniels’ only scene, young Kirk refers to him as “Johnny” instead of Sam. It’s implied that Johnny is a childhood friend. However, there is a deleted scene on the DVD with Daniels as Sam, where you see the alternate universe version of the character leave home after getting into a fight with Sam and Jim’s stepdad.

So, by introducing Sam in the 2022 series, Strange New Worlds, we’ll hopefully get a little more life and context to a character who has existed in Star Trek canon for a long time, but mostly on the fringes of the universe.

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Leah is 50% Southerner, 50% New Englander, and 100% fangirl over everything from Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter to stage lighting and Marvel comics about teenagers. She used to test toys for Hasbro (true story).