I also noticed that Picard did not mention to others that he had help from Kirk to defeat Soran. I assume that this was because he violated the prime directive related to time travel. Could this be why there was no funeral for him? I'm sure that the federation has a cleanup or science crew that would come to dismantle or learn from Soran's invention and subsequently discover Kirk's body.

My intuition tells me that perhaps there was a disagreement during the development of the movie over whether Captain Kirk died or not, since there's no fanfare or funeral for such a legend, especially compared to Spock's grand exit. His death is not even confirmed, although many believe that it was his death. We see him in the scaffolding of the platform at the end, and that's it.

Also a curious tidbit: if Kirk did die, he did not die alone, as he stated in another star trek film that he would not die unless he was alone and therefore would not have others around to help. It would have been nice if all of the writing and lore of each movie had been carried on to the next one. I suppose that would have been hard with different writers though.

  • 18
    Because he already had one. Do you think Starfleet is made of money? :-)
    – Valorum
    Jun 22, 2016 at 7:05
  • 17
    Notably, Kirk's assertion that he would die alone wasn't based on precognition but simply his own prejudices. He no more knew the circumstances of his death than the rest of us.
    – Valorum
    Jun 22, 2016 at 7:07
  • 3
    I find some answers here: scifi.stackexchange.com/q/93680/67840 Jun 22, 2016 at 7:14
  • 8
    @Valorum If Starfleet was made out of money, it would contradict the whole moneyless system of the federation, therefor creating a paradox which would lead to Jar Jar Binks being the firt borgified Q or something.....
    – Julian
    Jun 22, 2016 at 8:07
  • 3
    @Julian - Just because they don't have money doesn't mean you go around having funerals willy-nilly for every time traveler who turns up dead a few years later than they were supposed to. That way lies madness.
    – Valorum
    Jun 22, 2016 at 14:15

4 Answers 4


Kirk was thought to have died when he was pulled into the Nexus.
Presumably there was a funeral at the time.

From IMDB:

Kirk: You say history considers me dead. Who am I to argue with history?

  • 1
    There wasn't a funeral. The novelisation indicates that in the absence of a body, there was a memorial service.
    – Valorum
    Jun 22, 2016 at 18:46
  • 12
    @Valorum I would call that a distinction without a difference.
    – Dan
    Jun 22, 2016 at 21:13
  • 1
    @Dan - Well, you can have a funeral with or without a body, but you can't have a memorial service with a body.
    – Valorum
    Jun 22, 2016 at 21:17
  • @Valorum Perhaps. But I have been to a memorial service with ashes from cremation. Not a big difference to me. But I do see your point.
    – Dan
    Jun 23, 2016 at 17:21

This is dealt with in the film's official novelisation (itself based on the final shooting script). In short, Picard buried Kirk privately and doesn't seem to have shared any information regarding his presence or his death with the crew prior to their departure from the planet.

But as he stood at attention in front of James Kirk's grave, staring into the striking Veridian sunset above the darkening landscape, he felt only relief to have escaped back to reality. Kirk had understood; such an existence would have been meaningless in the extreme. Eternal, yes; real, no. And while life outside the nexus was a temporary, fleeting phenomenon, did that not give each moment more value, more poignancy?   

Picard stood several moments in the cooling air, reflecting on the debt he and millions of others owed James Kirk. And then he lifted his gaze overhead at the sound of a droning engine, and spied something pale and blinking streaking through the deepening sky.   

The Enterprise shuttlecraft. It settled gracefully, softly in a clearing at the far end of the mountaintop, without stirring up dust. Picard strode quickly past trees to meet it, and arrived just as the hatch slid open to reveal Worf and La Forge.   

Worf jumped out first, narrowing his eyes at the growing dusk to study his commanding officer. "Captain, are you all right?" "Yes," Picard said wearily.

"What about Dr. Soran?" La Forge asked, lingering in the doorway.
Picard hesitated, thinking of the two graves behind him, hidden by trees and brush. No doubt in the future he would report the precise details of what had occurred to him here on the plateau, and in the nexus, with James Kirk and Soran... but at the moment, he wanted only to return to the ship, and rest. "You needn't worry about the doctor anymore."

  • 4
    "but at the moment, he wanted only to return to the ship, and rest". He's going to be pretty disappointed.
    – Ellesedil
    Jun 22, 2016 at 18:45
  • 1
    @Ellesedil - Yeah, I'd hate to be the one that had that conversation with Picard.
    – Valorum
    Jun 22, 2016 at 18:46
  • do official novelizations count as canon?
    – miltonaut
    Jun 23, 2016 at 5:33
  • 1
    @miltonaut - An excellent question and not one that has an easy answer. The problems is that there's never been a single unitary authority offering canonisation in the Trek world. The general rule of thumb is that the (on-screen) films and TV shows are the highest level of canon along with the writer's manuals, Encyclopedia, technical manuals and script-books, with Paramount-authorised novelisations and comics coming further down the food chain and with Paramount-licensed properties (e.g. most of the EU novels and the old comic serials) sitting at the bottom of the food chain.
    – Valorum
    Jun 23, 2016 at 7:29

It's never depicted or mentioned in a series or film, but he was presumed dead by Starfleet after he got sucked/absorbed into the Nexus in 2293 and was probably given one then.

If Picard never officially reveals Kirk helped him, no-one would know Kirk wasn't already dead. There wouldn't be a need for a second funeral. And by that time, most of Kirk's contemporaries would mostly be dead. Knowing Picard's bond with Spock, he may have told Spock off-screen. Again, it's never depicted.

((There are novels dealing with Kirk's resurrection and further adventures, but books are non-canon.))


I could be wrong but since everyone who goes into the Nexus get's there at the same time from their perspective Kirk died right after getting into the Nexus which would only be a day at most after he was presumed dead anyway. At least from his perspective.

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