Star Trek Reveals Starfleet Has Kirk's Body In Storage in the 25th Century

In the most recent episode of Star Trek: Picard, the USS Titan's crew brought viewers to Daystrom Station, Starfleet's Area 51. The Section 31-operated black site houses many dangerous artifacts from Star Trek's history, from a Genesis Device to attack tribbles. The Changelings that infiltrated Starfleet made a point of raiding Daystrom Station. It took a while for Jean-Luc Picard and his allies to discover what the Changelings' real target was after figuring out that the portal device was a distraction. It turns out that the Changelings absconded with Picard's original human body that died in Star Trek: Picard Season 1.

But Picard's body isn't the only corpse of a legendary Starfleet officer that Section 31 is apparently keeping on ice. James T. Kirk's body is also somewhere among the relic at Daystrom Station.

Captain Kirk's Body Easter Egg In Star Trek: Picard Season 3

Star Trek: Picard Season 3 doesn't actually show Captain Kirk's body in the Daystrom Station episode. Instead, we see a video graphic on the wall that shows an X-ray-like image of a torso. The image is labeled with Kirk's name.

This certainly seems to indicate that Starfleet has Kirk's body on ice. To what end remains unclear.

How did Starfleet recover Kirk's body after Star Trek Generations?

Most Star Trek fans will know that Kirk died in the film Star Trek Generations. After spending years in the seemingly timeless paradise of the Nexus, Picard acquired Kirk's aid in stopping  Tolian Soran. Kirk dies in the process, and Picard buries him on the planet Veridian III.

However, the text on the Kirk display reveals that Veridian III did not last as Kirk's final resting place. Accompanying an expanded version of a section about Kirk from the Star Trek Encyclopedia (credit to Jörg Hillebrand on Twitter for the transcription) is a line revealing that something called "Project Phoenix" retrieved Kirk's body from Veridian III. The description also says that Kirk was "critically injured," which is notably not "fatally injured" or dead. Could there be a spark of life in there somewhere?

What is Project Phoenix in Star Trek?

Project Phoenix doesn't have any history in Star Trek canon. Something called Project Phoenix did appear in a couple of Star Trek novels, but that involved alternate realities and a time-ship and is probably not related to this Project Phoenix.

Perhaps the phoenix symbolizes resurrection. Could Starfleet (or Section 31, at least) be thinking of bringing Captain Kirk back from the dead? The Star Trek novels offer an example of this in action. William Shatner himself wrote a series of novels (referred to by fans as the "Shatnerverse," since they exist in a continuity separate from any other) in which Kirk returns to life and has adventures in the 24th century after his death in Star Trek Generations.

Captain Kirk in Modern Star Trek

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, a prequel to Star Trek: The Original Series, introduced Paul Wesley as Captain Kirk. He'll appear again in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2. Some wondered if Kirk's introduction meant that he'd replace Anson Mount's Captain Pike as the series lead. That does not seem to be the case.

What if, instead, Wesley plays a resurrected Kirk in the 25th century sometime after Star Trek: Picard Season 3, rejuvenated to his prime by whatever process Project Phoenix has in mind? That's speculation on possibilities, nothing more, but this Easter egg in Star Trek: Picard Season 3 makes it plausible.

How to watch Star Trek: Picard

Star Trek: Picard Season 3 premieres new episodes on Thursdays on Paramount+Star Trek: Picard's first two seasons are already streaming on Paramount+, along with every episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. Star Trek Generations comes to 4k UHD Blu-ray alongside the other Star Trek: The Next Generation films in April.

Star Trek: Picard streams exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. and on Amazon Prime Video in over 200 countries and territories. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media's CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.