There are two reasons the presence of Winona Kirk (James T. Kirk's mother) on the USS Kelvin in 2233 might not make sense:

(1) Family members of officers and enlisted crew generally weren't housed on Starfleet vessels on deep space missions at that time in history.

(2) In the Prime timeline, Kirk was born in Iowa on March 22, 2233. (See here.) Therefore, his mother was not aboard the Kelvin at the time of his birth in the Prime timeline. The timeline in Star Trek (2009) is supposed to be identical to the Prime timeline up to the moment that Nero's ship appears in front of the Kelvin. Therefore, the arrival of the Narada is, at first glance, insufficient to explain the discrepancy in Winona Kirk's whereabouts in 2233, and the corresponding discrepancy in James T. Kirk's place of birth.

According to Memory Alpha (see here), screenwriters Orci and Kurtzman insist that Winona is a Starfleet officer, although there is no evidence of this in the Prime timeline (and again, her biography should be identical up to the point of Nero's incursion).

Giving them the benefit of the doubt, this still only resolves discrepancy (1) from above.

For (2), the only thing I can think of is that perhaps she may have been awaiting a shore leave that would have allowed her to give birth at home on Earth, but Nero's incursion could have caused labor to be induced prematurely.

Therefore, the question becomes:

Was James T. Kirk born prematurely in the new timeline?

There is no indication of this in the dialogue exchanged by Winona, George, and the Kelvin medical officers during the battle with the Narada and the evacuation of the Kelvin, and she is already in a medical gown, suggesting she may have been in labor and prepped for delivery prior to the attack. Also, even in the event of early or induced labor, the time from when labor starts to when birth occurs is generally not just a few minutes (!). But premature birth is the only thing I can think of.

It might help to know the date of Kirk's birth in the new timeline. How far off is it from March 22, 2233?

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    "FAMILIES ON BOARD? A fan asked why George Kirk’s pregnant wife was on board the USS Kelvin, since families weren’t supposed to be brought on board until the Next Gen days. “Because she’s a Starfleet officer” explained the dynamic duo. This is also alluded to in another line about Kirk’s mother being off-world." - darthmojo.wordpress.com/2009/05/14/…
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 16:42
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    @Richard : Indeed, this is actually mentioned within my question, i.e. that the esteemed writers insist she is a Starfleet officer. (I refer to a Memory Alpha article which uses that blog post as a source.) But problems with continuity persist, as outlined in the rest of my question.
    – Praxis
    Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 16:46
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    Yes, Kirk was born prematurely. That's why he is always insane breaking laws.
    – user931
    Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 16:50
  • My post on Feb. 25, 2017 shows that the birth date evidence could be interpreted as making Alternate Kirk over two months premature. Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 17:01

4 Answers 4


Ignoring the fact that there are already very substantial discrepancies in the timeline predating the arrival of the Narada, according to the official novelisation, the plan was to use something called "labor inhibitors" to prevent Kirk's mother from giving birth until her arrival on Earth. The Narada's attack likely caused her to enter labour prematurely and ultimately resulted in her giving birth prematurely.

She looked helplessly toward the doctor, who, despite the desperate situation that had engulfed the Kelvin, responded to the incoming query with the kind of reserve and calm aspired to by every physician who had ever uttered a healing mantra, picked up a willow branch, and twirled it widdershins over a queasy patient.

“Everything’s fine. She’s had a few contractions, but the inhibitors should suppress labor long enough to get back to Earth—as long as you don’t give us any more bumps.”

As regards to how premature Kirk was, his mother is described in both the script and novelisation as being very pregnant so it's unlikely that his birth was more than a few weeks before the due date.

Deep in the thus far undamaged portion of the Kelvin, a very pregnant Winona Kirk was wheezing slightly as she underwent yet another in a series of progressive checkups with one of the ship’s physicians. The call that had been put through now came over the examination room’s speaker.

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    Excellent answer. Although, technically, if they had to inhibit the normal labor process, he wouldn't be premature per se. He would just be on time despite their efforts to make him late.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 14:40
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    @Omegacron - The implication is that all the shocks and bumping have sent her into labour earlier than anticipated. Whether you could call this "premature" is debatable but it's certainly earlier than desired.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 16:43

The stardates in NuTrek are supposed to give the year in the first four digits and the day number in the year after the decimal point. If Prime Kirk was born March 22, 2233, his birth stardate by this system would be 2233.81.

What is the stardate at the time of Kirk's birth in Star Trek (2009)?

2233.04. I think this means that Alternate Kirk was born January 4, 2233 and thus he was born 77 days before Prime Kirk. This seems to indicate that Alternate Kirk was very premature, or Prime Kirk was very postmature, or that Alternate Kirk was premature and Prime Kirk was postmature.

Possibly Prime Kirk was born a lot later because his parents and their Starfleet superiors decided to put his mother in some type of time warp to slow his gestation until she could return to Earth. Perhaps they did not decide to do this in the alternate timeline of Star Trek (2009). Thus both Kirks could have been born after the same number of days of gestation despite the differences in their birth dates.

But simply going by the evidence for their birth dates indicates that Alternate Kirk could have been over two months premature.

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    I don't think Alternate Kirk was born 2.5 months early. That would've made him tiny at birth. Clearly, the baby shown on screen was not a preemie and looked normal size for a full-term newborn. The perturbed "labor inhibitor" theory makes more sense to me and could account for both Kirks to be born of normal size.
    – iMerchant
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 23:17

I'm fairly certain that none of the original canon explicitly states Kirk was born in Iowa, just that he was from Iowa.

In Star Trek IV:

Dr. Gillian Taylor: Don't tell me, you're from outer space.

James T. Kirk: No, I'm from Iowa. I only work in outer space.

It is common for people to use "from" to mean where they spent most of their years growing up, not where they were born.

That said, I have wondered the same thing you asked here, so it's a good question to bring up.

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    Although I understand your point about Kirk not being born in Iowa, this still doesn't answer the actual question.
    – Möoz
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 3:05
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    According to the database on the official Star Trek web site, Kirk was born in Riverside, Iowa. startrek.com/database_article/james-t-kirk
    – Praxis
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 3:32

According to micheal okuda ( the graphic designer on star trek 80's movies) amd wikapedia, prime kirk was born year 2228. That would make his 2233 birth 5 years postmature. And what happened to his brother George born in 2229.

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    Can you provide citations for this information?
    – Blackwood
    Commented Jun 3, 2019 at 2:23

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