Who Is That Mustachioed Man? It’s Sam, Captain Kirk’s Brother on ‘Star Trek’

Samuel Kirk and Captain Pike

Paramount Samuel Kirk and Captain Pike

It was May 11, 1933, that actress Joan Swift was born. Swift had a fruitful career in Hollywood, working on television and film alongside stars like Lucille Ball, Jeffrey Hunter, and comedian Jerry Lewis. But for fans of “Star Trek: The Original Series,” Swift will always be Captain Kirk’s sister-in-law, Aurelan. Sadly, Swift passed away in 2016.

Her appearance was limited to the episode “Operation: Annihilate,” which some know as the story where Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) were attacked by “fried eggs” which flew through the air — and killed their victims, not long after contact.

Aurelan and those poor folks on Deneva were going mad and dying after getting stung by the parasites. Worst of all, the captain’s brother, Sam Kirk, was among those who did not survive the attack. Sam, in this episode, was played by Shatner as well. The differentiation between the two Kirks (aside from the fact that one was dead) was that Sam had a mustache while James T. did not. 

The ’Original’ Sam Kirk

Operation: Annihilate” aired in the first season of “Star Trek” in April 1967. Now, over fifty years later, fans will get to see a little bit more of this other Kirk. And unlike the first time, Sam Kirk will not be played by Shatner but by fellow Canadian actor Dan Jeannotte.

Jeannotte, 40, is known for his roles on the television series “Designated Survivor” and CW’s “Reign.” Some may also know him from the Hallmark Channel series “The Good Witch,” which starred Catherine Bell. Jeannotte has also lent his voice to quite a few video games, including “Samurai Warriors 2” and “Assassin’s Creed III.”

Jeannotte Tweets about Kirk

Little is known about Sam Kirk, other than that he died during the “Operation: Annihilate” episode and that he will appear alongside Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) on “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.” The character’s Memory Alpha listing is especially thin, as most of the items are references to things that James Kirk said about his brother. Kirk will appear prominently on Episode 2, “Children of the Comet,” as he is pictured with Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding), Spock (Ethan Peck), and La’an (Christina Chong) on the transporter pad.

We do know that his full name is George Samuel Kirk and that he was a researcher and biologist, who was named after his father, George. Fans have met a George Kirk before. Or, perhaps, a version of George Kirk. Trek fans who saw “Star Trek (2009)” might recall the dramatic opening scene when the captain of the U.S.S. Kelvin rammed his ship into the Romulan mining ship. The acting captain of the Kelvin was George Kirk, as portrayed by Chris Hemsworth. Later, Hemsworth would catapult to worldwide fame as “The Mighty Thor” in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Fans know that Pike asked for Sam Kirk by name to serve aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, and that he may play an essential role aboard this version of Starfleet’s flagship.

“Strange New Worlds” co-showrunner Henry Alonso Myers told Inverse that Sam is his own, distinct character.

“He is very much not his brother,” Myers told Inverse’s Ryan Britt. “And that is important. He’s a different person. He comes from a different place. He has different ideas. He and Jim Kirk have a complex relationship, that we will eventually learn more about. But, the intention wasn’t to come in and give us little ‘Kirk-lite’ flavor. Sam Kirk is his own man.”

Jeannotte has his own opinions about his part. The actor took to Twitter on May 5 to share a photo of Sam Kirk and Pike chatting on the Enterprise bridge. 

“He’s not the Kirk you wanted — but maybe, if you give him a chance… he could be the Kirk you NEED,” Jeannotte said in his post

Fans found out that the other Kirk, James T., will also appear in the series, starting in the second season. Actor Paul Wesley will take the reins from Shatner and Chris Pine to portray the iconic role. 

Interesting Comparisons

Some fans are prepared to really enjoy this new Kirk on board the Enterprise, especially the whole “mustache” part of Samuel. In fact, YouTuber Major Grin took some footage from “Strange New Worlds” and married it up to a scene from “Galaxy Quest.”

Fans of what might be the greatest “Star Trek” spoof there is, know that the mustachioed character from “Galaxy Quest” was not exactly an action hero. Guy Fleegman (Sam Rockwell) essentially portrayed a redshirt from the “Galaxy Quest” television show in the film. He did provide comic relief throughout the movie, and when “Galaxy Quest” was brought back (in a very “Next Generation” way), Fleegman’s character was included as well.

Major Grin is not wrong in comparing Rockwell’s hair and mustache to what Jeannotte sports in “Strange New Worlds.”

As writer Tracy Palmer shared, having a Kirk under the command of Spock on the Enterprise will undoubtedly make for some interesting moments. 

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