David Marcus

From Academic Kids

In the real world, David Marcus was an editor based in Ireland in the second half of the 20th century. He edited, for example, the page 'New Irish Writings' for the Irish Press which provided a forum for aspiring Irish authors. Later he edited the Phoenix Irish short stories collections (below), amongst others.

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In the fictional universe of Star Trek David Marcus was the son of James T. Kirk and Dr. Carol Marcus and a major character in the movies Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. He was played in both films by the late Merritt Butrick.

(Note: little background on David was provided on screen. Some of what follows is based upon literary sources, which are not considered canon.)

David was born in 2261. He grew up in a single-parent environment with his mother, immersed in a world of scientific research. David knew that Kirk was once part of his mother's life, but the boy had no idea that the famous Starfleet admiral was his father, nor that his mother effectively banned Kirk from his life.

David's professional choices were heavily influenced by his mother's status; by the age of 23 he had earned his doctorate and soon became a member of his mother's research team.

In 2284 David began work on Project Genesis with his mother. As they progressed, traces of his father showed in David; he was impatient for results and eager for solutions. This led him to employ protomatter, denounced by many scientists as hazardous and highly unstable. Nevertheless, it appeared to solve the problems.

David's closeted scientific world was interrupted when Khan Noonien Singh, took control of Chekov and forced him to announce that he was taking Genesis away from Carol's team on orders from Kirk. This threat was part of Khan's ruse to lure Kirk to them, and it provided the volatile backdrop to the first meeting between father and son.

This encounter actually began as more of a confrontation; David displayed the same eagerness for action as his father when he attacked the admiral with a knife, presuming that Kirk's intent was to take Genesis. Carol intervened, and it was after seeing her that Kirk guessed David was his son. David got a chance to see his father in a more positive light when Kirk battled it out with Khan. David remained on the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise, acting as advisor on the Genesis wave, and was impressed by his father's courage and abilities.

After this brush with death, David showed his compassion by trying to comfort the man he once despised, when Kirk was grieving over the death of Spock. David apologized to Kirk for misjudging him and added, "I'm proud, very proud, to be your son."

Shortly afterward, David was assigned to the U.S.S. Grissom with Lt. Saavik to study the planet created in the Genesis explosion. At first, he was thrilled with the array of environments, but when he beamed down for a closer look he found the planet in a state of environmental chaos, and recognized the cause as being the protomatter's instability.

David's na´vetÚ showed through when a group of Klingons arrived and demanded the Genesis Device. He honestly believed the Klingons wouldn't harm them because, as a planet-building device, it was an obvious failure. To the Klingons, however, Genesis was a powerful weapon, and a hostage was selected to die as proof of their serious intent.

As a d'k tahg knife was raised to Saavik's neck, David lunged toward the Klingon in a burst of courage which might have been expected of his father. However, he lacked Kirk's fighting prowess, and was killed with a single thrust of the three-bladed knife.

David Marcus's untimely death in 2285 was the result of his youthful impatience and fiery temper. He had a brilliant future ahead of him, but he was unable to curb his excitable disposition, and this lack of control cost him his life.


  • The writers of Wrath of Khan originally intended for David to have a romantic relationship with the Vulcan Lt. Saavik but this was cut from the final film. The novelizations of Wrath of Khan and Search for Spock depict a full-blown romance, however, although this is not considered canon.

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