David Marcus (Merritt Butrick) was introduced in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, but when did Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Dr. Carol Marcus (Bibi Besch) have a son who was an adult by 2285? David and Carol were the masterminds of Project Genesis, technology that could terraform planets for the United Federation of Planets. Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalbán) stole the Genesis Device as part of his revenge plot against Admiral Kirk and the Federation, but the technology also had a dark secret.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock revealed that the Genesis Device’s matrix was unstable, and David lied about it because the younger Marcus was under pressure to complete Project Genesis. Tragically, David was killed by Klingons led by Kruge (Christopher Lloyd) on the Genesis Planet, which was rapidly on the verge of self-destruction. However, David died heroically to protect Spock (Leonard Nimoy), who was resurrected by the healing energies of Genesis. The loss of his son haunted Admiral Kirk and exacerbated his hatred of the Klingons. However, given the retcons made by Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, when was David born to Kirk and Carol Marcus, in the first place?
When Did Kirk & Carol Marcus Have David?
David Marcus was in his early-to-mid 20s during Star Trek II, and he died just months later in Star Trek III. Both films were set in 2285, so the latest David could have been born was 2265, which is about when Jim Kirk became Captain of the USS Enterprise. But David was likely born between 2260-2265. However, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2, which will introduce Lt. Kirk (Paul Wesley), who is stationed aboard the USS Farragut, takes place in 2260. This means that Strange New Worlds may also introduce Carol Marcus and set up her relationship with Kirk.
Once David was born, Carol raised him as a single parent with her surname because she didn’t want him “gallivanting around the galaxy with his father.” David was seemingly aware of who his father was, but he had no relationship with Admiral Kirk, and they apparently rarely saw each other. It was just as well since Kirk was devoted to his true love, the Starship Enterprise and his Starfleet career. Meanwhile, David became a scientist like his mother.
How Spock Could Know About Kirk & Carol Marcus
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan operated under the assumption that Kirk and Spock knew nearly everything about each other after being best friends for over two decades. However, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds throws some wrenches at this belief. Spock and Kirk hadn’t met as of Strange New Worlds season 1, set in 2259, and it’s unclear how their relationship will progress when Lt. Kirk comes aboard the Enterprise and meets Spock (Ethan Peck) in Strange New Worlds season 2. Will Spock and Kirk already have the camaraderie where the Vulcan becomes aware of Kirk’s (still-to-come) romance with Dr. Carol Marcus?
Of course, audiences could watch Spock and Kirk’s friendship begin and evolve in real-time as Strange New Worlds continues, and this may be how Spock learns about Jim and Carol. But it’s also possible that Kirk’s relationship with Carol is a private matter, and Spock merely pieced the Admiral’s past with Dr. Marcus together in Star Trek II. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds could definitively provide the answers to how Kirk met Carol Marcus, when David was born, and what circumstances led to their decision to let Carol raise their son while Kirk returned to the stars, as well as how much Spock knew before Star Trek II.