Star Trek Guide

Captain Kirk: 10 Bizarre Facts Star Trek Fans Missed

Captain James T. Kirk is one of the most famous science fiction characters of all time. Whether you prefer William Shatner's 60s' heroism or Chris Pine's modern swagger, Captain Kirk has more than likely made an impression on you.

As one of the most beloved Star Trek captains, the main character of Gene Roddenberry's magnum opus has some unique details to him that some Trekkies/Trekkers might have never noticed. Whether it be behind the scenes or in front of the cameras, here are a few bizarre facts about Iowa's favorite captain.

10 His Shirt Was Actually Green

One thing that most fans identify with Captain Kirk (outside of William Shatner's glorious toupee) is the captain's yellow shirt. It's an identifiable element of the character, but in The Original Series, it wasn't technically supposed to be yellow, it was actually green.

According to costume designer William Theiss, the satin-valor shirt was actually supposed to be of a more greenish hue, but the on-set lighting and camera equipment made it appear yellow. That may explain why that odd wrap-around that Kirk occasionally wore was a bright shade of green.

9 His Inspiration

As Gene Roddenberry was retooling the character of the captain on Star Trek after scrapping Jeffery Hunter's Christopher Pike, he turned to some famous explorers. Kirk's name was attributed to famous British navigator James Cook and his characterization was inspired by literary explore Horatio Hornblower.

The main hero in a series of novels by C.S. Forester, the character of Horatio Hornblower has made an impression on a series of famous people besides Roddenberry. With even the late prime minister of The United Kingdom Winston Churchill saying of Hornblower "I find Hornblower admirable."

8 His Conquest Record

It's pretty famous that Captain Kirk is a ladies man. This is something that's been parodied for years and has been cemented in the recent Kelvin films. That said, if one were to look at the official number of women that Kirk romanced, they could be forgiven for thinking it was actually pretty low.

According to official records, Kirk has only truly locked lips with 19 women in The Original Series. When one truly thinks about it, that's still a lot, but given the famous captain's reputation, that list is actually smaller than expected.

7 He Was Almost Rebooted Earlier

Star Trek was famously rebooted in 2009. Though some fanboys despise the movies for "ruining Roddenberry's vision," those complaints are ultimately moot, as the reboot series has proven fairly successful, both critically and commercially. Originally though, a look back to Kirk's early days was going to happen earlier.

After the failure of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, one direction Paramount planned going down was a flashback to Kirk's days at Starfleet Academy. Described by co-writer David Loughery as essentially Top Gun meets Star Trek, the prequel was ultimately scrapped due to outrage from the original cast.

6 He's Met Doctor Who

Seeing how both Star Trek and Doctor Who did a lot to lay the groundwork for modern sci-fi media, the idea of the two franchises crossing over is a tantalizing concept for most fans. Fans would receive just such a crossover in the IDW Publishing crossover, Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation2.

The crossover, about The Eleventh Doctor teaming up with the crew of The Next Generation to stop a Cyberman/ Borg union, has an issue that features a flashback to the days of Kirk. In that flashback, Kirk and his crew find themselves teaming up with The Doctor, the fan-favorite Fourth Doctor to be precise.

5 He Almost Held Patrick Stewart Back

While this can neither be blamed on Kirk or even actor William Shatner, the character of Kirk endangered Patrick Stewart's chances of playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard. According to producer Rick Berman, Roddenberry envisioned a character much like Kirk when developing Picard, the captain of The Next Generation.

While Berman pushed for Stewart, Roddenberry didn't want a bald, British guy to play the captain of The Enterprise. Eventually, Roddenberry saw sense, Stewart was cast, and fans are still debating as to whether he is a better captain than Kirk.

4 Janeway Beat His Record

For a long time, Captain Kirk held the record of being the captain involved with the most first contacts in Star Trek history. However, many years later, Kirk's record would be upended by a captain with an equally impressive record, Star Trek: Voyager's Captain Kathryn Janeway.

Not only is Kathryn Janeway, played by actress Kate Mulgrew, the first female captain to be the main character of a Star Trek series, but she has been involved with more first encounters with alien civilizations than even Captain Kirk. Though her situation of being stranded in a far-off sector of space may give her an advantage, it's still very impressive.

3 He Almost Died In Star Trek VI

Among the many concepts for the sixth Star Trek film was one by Pavel Chekov actor Walter Koenig, which would have been far darker than the already grim The Undiscovered Country. According to Koenig, his outline had the crew, save for Spock, retired from Starfleet due to being past their sell-by date.

However, when a vicious alien species captures Spock's new crew, the classic crew reunites to save them. This wouldn't have gone well, with many of the original crew being killed, including Kirk. In the end, only Spock and Doctor McCoy would have survived the events of Koenig's proposal. Given hindsight, it's probably a good thing that Koenig's pitch was rejected.

2 Chris Pratt Almost Played Him

Though actor Chris Pratt is box office gold at the moment, if the planets had aligned a bit differently, he would have gained this level of fame far earlier. According to the future Star-Lord, he auditioned for the role of Captain Kirk in the 2009 reboot of Star Trek.

While Pratt's Star Trek audition, as well as his audition to play Jake Scully in Avatar, mostly ended up being fruitless, it's safe to say that Pratt isn't too bothered by that nowadays. Chris Pine did an excellent job filling William Shatner's shoes, but the question of how Pratt would have played the role is one that is worthy of Solomon.

1 Why Is He Climbing A Mountain

William Shatner is an odd individual, so you can imagine that when he slipped into the role of director for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, he brought all his oddities with him. The scene where Kirk climbs a mountain Yosemite in the fifth film is one of the most ridiculous moments in all of Trek, not to mention that Shatner's commentary on mountain climbing is pretty humorous.

In an interview regarding the scene, Shatner gave an odd explanation as to why people climb mountains, equating it to being in a passionate affair. It's an unintentionally funny interview, one that received a stellar parody song by Fall On Your Sword entitled Shatner Of The Mount.