In Star Trek Beyond, Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) avoided the biggest mistake Kirk (William Shatner) made in the Prime timeline. When Star Trek Beyond begins, the Starship Enterprise has spent three years on its historic five-year mission, but Kirk is melancholy about how “episodic” his journeys have become. Kirk decides his salvation would be by applying for a promotion to Rear Admiral and overseeing the massive Yorktown Starbase, a job that almost belonged to him until Kirk’s adventure to save Yorktown from Krall (Idris Elba) changed his mind. .
At the end of Star Trek BeyondKirk decided to stay on as captain of the newly commissioned USS Enterprise-A, and he learned the lesson Admiral Kirk had regretted for years in the Prime Timeline. After Star Trek: The Original Series, Captain Kirk accepted a promotion to Rear Admiral and became Chief of Staff of Starfleet Operations. But this left Kirk behind a desk while he was still in his prime, and he longed to take command of a starship again. In Star Trek: The Motion PictureKirk was jealous that Captain Will Decker (Stephen Collins) was given command of the converted Enterprise to intercept V’Ger, even though he’d recommended Decker for the job, and Jim maneuvered himself into the captain’s seat. Admiral Kirk finally got what he really wanted at the end of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home when he was reduced to captain and given command of the USS Enterprise-A. Chris Pine’s Kirk conceived in Star Trek Beyond which required Admiral Kirk four films.
Apart from the death of Spock (Leonard Nimoy) in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, accepting promotion to rear admiral was Kirk’s biggest regret in the… Star Trek movies. Kirk visibly disliked being an admiral, and Spock himself told Kirk that “it was a mistake to accept promotion… commanding a starship is your first, best destination. Everything else is waste of material.” Kirk knew his wise Vulcan friend was right, but blinded by his ambition to take off from Starfleet after his five-year mission, he didn’t realize how much he would miss to be the captain of the Enterprise.
The first four Star Trek movies saw Kirk use underhanded means for Captain the Enterprise, despite being a Starfleet admiral. He used his rank and power to unfairly drag Decker out of the captain’s seat Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Captain Spock kindly gave Kirk command of the Enterprise in Khan .’s Wrathand then Kirk stole his spaceship to save Spock from the Genesis planet in Star Trek III. Finally, Kirk commanded a stolen Klingon Bird of Prey to travel in time and transport two humpback whales to the 23rd century in Star Trek IV. For saving Earth, Kirk got his heart’s desire back; Captaincy of the Starship Enterprise.
Kirk warned Picard not to stop as captain of the Enterprise
In Star Trek generations, Kirk was allowed to pass on his hard-won wisdom to another Enterprise Captain, Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). Once Kirk accepted that he was living in the false reality of the Nexus, he finally began to listen to the bald Starfleet officer asking for his help. Before Kirk agreed to return to Veridian III to prevent Dr. Tolian Soran (Malcolm McDowell) would destroy a star, Kirk told his co-captain of the Enterprise, “Don’t let them promote you. Don’t let them transfer you. Don’t let them do something that gets you off that ship’s bridge, because while you’re there… you can make a difference.” Picard heeded Kirk’s advice and stayed on as captain of the Enterprise for another ten years, but Chris Pine’s Kirk came up with this all in much earlier Star Trek Beyond so that he will never repeat William Shatner Kirk’s biggest mistake.
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