One of the items stored at Daystrom Station in the Star Trek: Picard episode “The Bounty” has fans buzzing and speculating. Now showrunner Terry Matalas explains why they included the body of James T. Kirk in the collection and what it could mean for the future.
Kirk’s body is ready for a “return”… but not on Picard
Last weekend, Terry Matalas beamed in remotely to a panel held at GalaxyCon hosted by the Inglorious Treksperts, which they released as their latest podcast episode. The discussion covered each of the individual films from the Star Trek franchise and when they were talking about Star Trek: Generations and the death of James T. Kirk, Matalas chimed in with how this inspired him to update Kirk’s story:
Look, it’s not how I would have sent Kirk off, clearly, because I just put his body in Daystrom.
After teaming up to help Jean-Luc Picard, James T. Kirk was killed by Soran in Generations. Kirk’s body was buried by Picard on Veridian III under a pile of rocks. That was the last known location of Kirk’s body—until “The Bounty.”
Since seeing Kirk’s body in Daystrom Station, many fans thought it was foreshadowing his potential return later on in the season. When you look very closely at the display of Kirk’s body, there was a mention of something called “Project Phoenix,” which some interpreted as a clue. When pressed by Altman to explain why they added Kirk to the story, Matalas dashed any hopes of seeing Kirk on the show:
Look, Kirk is dead. We figured, “Is his body really just under a pile of rocks on that planet?” We’re not committed… we’re not saying he is resurrected.
Matalas did say he feels bringing Kirk’s body back to Daystrom could set up a story of Kirk’s return in a future Star Trek:
Is it a tip of the hat to The Return, which is a wonderful book I recommend to all of you? Maybe. We just leave it open that someday some brilliant writer could do something. That could be an animated thing. That could be anything. It’s just to keep, as my friend Spock is fond of saying, “There are always possibilities.” That was the idea behind that.
Matalas mentioned The Return, a 1996 Star Trek novel written by William Shatner with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. The story picks up after Generations when the Romulans and Borg retrieve Kirk’s body from Veridian III and resurrect him using Borg technology and the Guardian of Forever. They want to use Kirk as a weapon to take on Jean-Luc Picard, but Spock eventually breaks Kirk from his brainwashing and the character lives on and has a number of new adventures through a series of novels over the next decade, ending with 2006’s Captain’s Glory.
Shatner weighs in
All the buzz about the body showing up on Picard has caught the attention of the original Kirk himself. Today on Twitter, he posted about it, referencing “Project Phoenix” with the question “Where is Kirk?” He took how Kirk was buried under rocks on Veridian III only to be found behind a panel on Daystrom Station to create a Rock, Paper, Scissors joke, turning it into “Rock, Panel, Station.”
I guess we know where the disappearing @StarTrek Captain went! It's like the old game of Rock, Paper, Scissors but it's now Rock, Panel, Station! #ProjectPhoenix?😳🤔 #WhereisKirk? 🤷🏼😝👇🏻 I guess it's all an @AprilFools 😵💫 Have a wonderful weekend! pic.twitter.com/KMpN1nXRBz
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) April 1, 2023
It looks like fans can stand down for now when it comes to expecting the return of James T. Kirk for this season of Picard. But Matalas and his team have set things up for a future Star Trek show or movie to find a way for Kirk’s return.
The third and final season of Picard premiered on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., and Latin America, and on February 17 Paramount+ in Europe and elsewhere, with new episodes of the 10-episode-long season available to stream weekly. It also debuted on Friday, Feb. 17 internationally on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.
Keep up with news about the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com