Star Trek: 25 Kirk Vs Picard Memes That Show Who The Better Captain Is

Kirk Vs Picard

It's an argument as old as time... well, as old as the '80s, anyway. Who is the better captain in Star Trek?

Is it Captain James T. Kirk - with his dashing good looks, sense of bravado, and refusal to follow the rules; or is it Captain Jean-Luc Picard - with his adherence to the guiding principles of Starfleet and gloriously bald head?

Trekkies and casual fans the world over have been arguing each of these Captains' various traits for decades with no side ever truly coming out on top, but that doesn't mean the Internet hasn't been flooded with memes detailing the conflict of the ages and we are here to dig through the best!

For this list, we decided to throw together the very best memes the Internet has to offer. Some will detail the ongoing battle for supremacy between Captain Kirk and Captain Picard while others will simply discuss why one particular Captain is as truly awesome as fans claim they are. Don't forget to let us know which is your favorite in the comments and back up your claim with a fresh meme if you have one!

With as much deference and respect we can possibly give to William Shatner and Sir Patrick Stewart, we present to you Star Trek: 25 Kirk Vs Picard Memes

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We have to kick this off with one of our favorite Captain Kirk memes out there, though a similar one does pop up for Picard (and just about anyone else on the planet). It's a simple enough meme when you think about it. Throw up a picture of Captain Kirk looking particularly amazing and hit him with the quote, "I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am."

You have probably seen or heard this line before though it can be attributed to just about anyone when you think about it: Wonder Woman, Black Panther, Han Solo - you name it! What you may not realize is that it all began in a story on the website Five-Minute under their Star Trek page. That's right, the "How awesome I am" meme doesn't just pop up praising Kirk or other members of the Star Trek community, it originated there.

The meme was first posted on the site back in 2005 while fans were doing rewrites of classic episodes. A user named Kira posted it for the 1967 episode "The Return of the Archons". The dialogue played out as follows:

SPOCK: But I was the one who told you that logic puzzle in the first place.

KIRK: Sorry, Spock, can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am.

Since that first post in 2005, the line has been thrown about to include just about anything you can think of, from U.S. Presidents to the nation itself.


There are a number of differences between the two Captains in question which are fairly obvious when you stack them up side-by-side. No, we aren't talking about the hair, but rather their demeanor.

Kirk tends to be friendlier and less abrasive than Picard, who prefers to retain a semblance of dignity in his interactions.

While he has a sense of humor, he doesn't break down into a smile often, which is why this shot from an episode of Star Trek The Next Generation made it onto meme generator websites over the years.

There are hundreds of texts on these images of Picard smiling, but our favorite - and the one most relevant to this list has to be "Sorry I'm better than Kirk... U Mad Bro?"

The phrase cannot be attributed directly to Star Trek like our previous entry, but rather stems from an interview on the Bill O'Reilly Show from 2003. O'Reilly had the hip-hop artist, Cam'Ron on the show discussing how his genre of music was harmful to children. When pressed, he pointed off camera and declared, "You Mad" over and over again.

The phrase stuck and has since been used to point out people who have lost their temper unnecessarily - like Star Trek fans who get upset over a Kirk vs Picard battle, for instance.


This meme is simple enough. Take the word Demond, which means an attractive person, throw it on top of an image of Captain Kirk looking as unattractive as possible, and throw in the quote, "You know I'm better than Picard." For some reason, it works and the statement is difficult to argue with.

The shot of Kirk makes him look a trifle insane, which works if you know anything about the episode it came from.

The image in question has become known as "Angry Captain Kirk" on meme generator websites, which is apt given its origin. The shot comes from the fifth episode of the first season, "The Enemy Within" in 1966.

In the episode, Kirk gets split into two different people thanks to a transporter accident, which almost never happens on Star Trek. One Kirk retains the positive qualities of the character while the other is pure evil - you know, that old chestnut. Kirk defiantly proclaims, "I'm Captain Kirk" repeatedly with his anger growing upon each uttering until we are blessed with the lovely image above.

While it doesn't directly have  anything to do with his being better than Captain Picard, it shows Shatner's range - from purely amiable to frighteningly angry.


We have to wonder if someone like Captain Jean-Luc Picard knows people are comparing him to the late-great Captain Kirk. He does serve on the same-named ship nearly a century following the exploits of the legendary Captain, which is why this meme works so well.

"Come on man, just say it! You think Kirk made a better Captain" is exactly what he must be saying in this shot. Granted, this picture has made the rounds outside of references to Star Trek.

You have definitely seen this meme somewhere online, even if today is the first day you have ever logged on to the Internet. The "Annoyed Picard" meme is derived from an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation titled "Menage a Troi." In the episode, Picard is battling Daimon Tog, a Ferengi, for the love of Lwaxana Troi. It's all a show put on by Picard to help out his ship's counselor.

His pleading look comes from a moment when he recites poetry towards the viewscreen. It was an interesting, if silly scene, which showed the theatrical talents of Stewart who is well-known for his Shakespearean theatrical history.

In most cases, you will find this image associated with the "Why the F..." meme, which calls out a person for some ridiculous or inane thing they may have done.


Odds are, if you are a Trekkie, you might take offense to this comparison, but it pops up online thanks to the success of the Twilight film and book franchise. In that series, there are two primary love-interests competing for the affections of the least affectionate girl on the planet. Those two young men are named Jacob, a werewolf and Edward, a vampire who glimmers in the sunlight.

The whole argument of Jacob vs. Edward revolved around the teenage angst and love story that is Twilight, but unlike those characters, Captain Kirk and Captain Picard didn't spend much time together. They met briefly in the film, Star Trek: Generations, which wasn't the greatest in the series, but we have to acknowledge it here. The two weren't in competition with one another, but rather, they fought on the same side to defeat the bad guy.

What this meme suggests is that the debate over who is better, Kirk or Picard, is equivalent to nerds of the Millennial generation's Jacob vs. Edward debate.

We can't say we agree with the meme, but it does do a good job of bridging the generational gap of a debate from the 1980s well into the 2000s.


Is this a meme or is this a quote? Why can't it be both? As we mentioned in the opening, we wanted to deliver some memes that illustrate what makes each of these captains amazing characters. Since the first one opened up about how awesome Kirk is, we thought the best way to show how amazing Picard would be is to focus on one of his many quotes showing the core of his being.

The quote in question comes from the episode "The Offspring", the 16th episode of the third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the episode, Data has created an android whom he has established as his own child. Starfleet wants to take possession of her to study the positronic brain Data created. Their reasoning revolves around the fact that Data had previously been a unique individual whose positronic brain wasn't completely understood. They wanted to study her to better understand and duplicate the process.

Data is ordered to hand her over after proclaiming himself her father, but Picard stands up and tells him to "belay that order," much to the consternation of the still-sitting Admiral. Picard puts his career on the line when he utters the line in question and in doing so, clearly establishes his true nature.


Fans have been debating who was the better Captain of the Enterprise since the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation aired on September 28, 1987. While we got to see the two of them working together briefly in Star Trek: Generations, the debate raged on without any settlement of the issue.

Will we ever get to see the two captains truly test themselves against one another in anything but a YouTube Rap Battle or in screaming match between cosplaying fans? Probably not.

This meme showcases the only time we can ever see Captain Kirk go up against Captain Picard, but not in the way we might prefer. On the left, we have Chris Pine who plays Captain James T. Kirk in the new Star Trek film franchise. On his right (hopping over Reese Witherspoon), we have Tom Hardy who nailed a performance as Shinzon, a clone of Captain Picard in Star Trek: Nemesis. Both actors came face-to-face in the 2012 film, This Means War.

Unfortunately, it's not a sci-fi adventure, but a romantic comedy about two CIA agents who learn they are dating the same woman in a Spy vs. Spy setting. It's not what Star Trek fans were hoping for, but at least it's something!


Star Trek fans don't often think of their favorite captains as belonging to a particular political group, but there are some good arguments being made online and by unsuspecting sources who make a semi-valid point. Old Trek was more about humanism than new Trek, which is also about the politics of different cultures

Back in 2015, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz from Texas discussed his love of Star Trek in an interview with the New York Times Magazine. In the interview, he was asked whether he was a Kirk man or a Picard man, to which he replied, "Absolutely James Tiberius Kirk... the original Star Trek was grittier. Kirk is working class; Picard is an aristocrat. Kirk is a passionate fighter for justice; Picard is a cerebral philosopher."

After a little more discussion, Cruz clarified that he considered Kirk to be a Republican while Picard was a Democrat. That draws a distinctive line between the two captains, which is why this meme came to life. There was one person who disagreed with the Senator, though, and that was none other than William Shatner himself.

Shatner tweeted in response to Cruz's statements, "Star Trek wasn't political. I'm not political; I can't even vote in the US. So to put a geocentric label on interstellar characters is silly."


Most people don't look to Picard for someone with a great deal of muscle mass. Think about it: he's the philosopher Captain who would prefer to recite poetry than knock out a few reps on the holodeck gym. Kirk, on the other hand, is all about physicality. He gets into fights with a Gorn and spends his fair share of time engaging in physical activities with alien ladies.

That preconception is what makes this meme so memorable. We have Captain Picard showing off his impressive bicep with the quote, "Who needs phasers when you have these guns?"

Captain Kirk may take his shirt off from time to time, but he rarely flexes in such an impressive display.

The shot comes from Star Trek: Insurrection when Picard is engaged in one-on-one battle with an alien played by the talented F. Murray Abraham. Ironically, what you don't see in the meme is what he is holding in his right handit's a phaser rifle.

We're going to let that slide seeing as the man was 58 years old when this particular shot was taken and we have to give respect where it's due. The man has some serious guns and we can appreciate that.


You know this meme, it's all over the Internet. The "What I really do" meme  details the way people think of what someone does for a living.

In the case of Captain Picard, his friends think he lays around Risa, the Pleasure Planet all day, while his mom thinks of him in his dress uniform. The crew thinks he is sitting in the Captain's chair driving the ship all the time, while the Borg only thinks of Captain Picard in his Locutus of Borg persona.

The next cell reads "Jalad at Shaka do the walls" - a reference to an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation titled "Damok", which saw Captain Picard working to understand the language of a new species Starfleet couldn't understand. It turned out they spoke in allegorical form to tell a story instead of directly speaking what was on their minds. This phrase roughly translates into "cooperation failure failure," which doesn't make any sense whatsoever, but it shows that whoever created this meme was at least thinking about the episode and made a fun callback to it.

The last cell, is simply Picard showing us what he really does: his infamous facepalm, which we will get into in just a bit.


Anyone seeing this meme without first knowing the episode it came from would probably wonder what was going on.

The shot was taken from "Phantasms", an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that revolves around Commander Data's foray into dreaming. The phone popped up a few times during the episode, but this particular shot came when Captain Picard and Lieutenant Commander Geordi LaForge investigate the dream via the holodeck. LaForge answers the phone and hands it to Picard letting him know it's for him.

The image has popped up numerous times over the years with different text depending on the joke it is trying to make. This one is pretty clever, which is why we decided to throw it on this list. It incorporates the fact that Data is an android, which is, of course, a play on the Android OS for smartphones and then it uses his name to poke fun at high data costs.

Some of the other uses of this image online have text that follows this same line of thinking. One you may have seen reads simply, "Smartphones: Picard uses Android" and other similar jokes with wording that's about the same.

Whatever the text, it does serve to remind us that Picard really does have better toys than Kirk.


The Picard Facepalm meme is probably one of the most widespread of all Star Trek memes. People who have never seen a single episode or know who Captain Picard is have likely seen it and know it. It's so well known, ThinkGeek created a special bust of the shot you can purchase for just shy of $65!

When you see the Picard Facepalm meme, it is likely relating to something you just can't handle because of how ridiculously stupid it is.

Facepalming is nothing new and it certainly wasn't created by Star Trek: The Next Generation, but nobody does it quite like Picard. The picture most often used - though he made the move numerous times across the series - comes from the episode "Deja-Q" when Picard is almost at his breaking point from the frustrations caused by the interminably irritating Q.

These memes pop up whenever someone is doing something stupid. When people started the "Tide Pod Challenge" and other dangerous Internet trends, they flooded peoples' social media pages. They are often associated with an "Epic Fail" or other criminally dangerous acts of stupidity that could warrant no response other than to put your head down into your hand and simply facepalm.


Captain Kirk is well-known for being something of a renegade. He lost the rank of Admiral for his actions revolving around the events of the Genesis Device in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock after he stole a starship. He would often engage in risky situations that would land his vessel in combat and thanks to his nature, he got out of it looking pretty good for his daring attitude.

Long before he was given command of a starship, he was just another Cadet at Starfleet Academy. For anyone to graduate, they are required to undertake an exercise called the Kobayashi Maru. The Kobayashi Maru is a no-win scenario: it is impossible to beat and nothing a Cadet does will result in his or her achieving success. It is meant to teach the Cadets fear in the face of certain defeat so they can accept and maintain control while undergoing such a scenario. It cannot be won. It's impossible. Captain Kirk did it.

Granted, he cheated, which is really the only way he could have done it, but he won because, as the man said, he doesn't believe in no-win scenarios. It was revealed in 2009's Star Trek reboot that he hacked the program, but until that point, the franchise wasn't clear on how he did it, leaving a sort of mysticism on how it could have been done.


As this list should have demonstrated by now, there are a lot of memes about Captain Picard. There are so many, in fact, that there are numerous threads on Reddit and other sites online where people discuss whether or not Sir Patrick Stewart is aware of any of them. As it happens, he knows of several of them and is more than willing to discuss and even sign them at a convention.

The signing of this photo makes this meme fairly unique. Some lucky fan took a printout of the "So much win" meme to a convention and had the man himself sign it. "So much win!" is right when talking about this fan, but the "So much win" meme has some staying power online all its own.

The shot comes from a DVD Special where Stewart sang and danced around the set. It's an amazing shot of Picard looking as happy as possible and has been used for a lot of different memes to include celebrating anything from an amazing accomplishment like receiving a Doctorate degree to something far more mundane like finishing an online game without Lag.

Whatever the reason, it's yet another lasting Captain Picard meme that proves how amazing this Captain truly is.


While it has been mostly lost to history due to not a lot of people knowing about it, Star Trek the original series continued in animated form with the original cast providing voice work from 1973 to 1974.

Star Trek: The Animated Series ran for two seasons and it was, for all intents and purposes, the continuation of the series, which bridged the gap between the show from the 1960s to the first film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which hit theaters in 1979.

A number of shots from the series have made it onto meme generator sites over the years, but our favorite not only shows Kirk surrounded in rainbow light with what looks like electric energy cast from his hands, it also pays homage to two other fan favorite franchises, Pokémon and My Little Pony Friendship is Magic.

The line, "Captain Kirk uses the Elements of Harmony—It's super effective!" is a direct reference to an attack line from the Pokémon video game series.

Elements of Harmony is a specific reference to My Little Pony's "most powerful magic known to ponydom." The combination of all three franchises into a single meme helps elevate Kirk in our little competition here and just goes to show how diverse Star Trek fandom truly is.


One of the longest running jokes about the original series and its Captain is that he's a bit of a player. Captain Kirk getting busy with a green lady is such a common talking point, they even had him appear with an Orion in the rebooted franchise when he is caught in Uhura's bedroom underneath her roommate's bed.

The truth of Kirk's romantic exploits has been inflated over the years.

While he did kiss some 19 women on the show (including Lieutenant Uhura), he only had relations with maybe four of them and one of those women bore his son many years before the events of the series.

Captain Kirk's womanizing has been the subject of debate online for years and there are a number of websites discussing the issue. Depending on who you ask, he really wasn't as frisky as many people believe.

That being said, the rumors persist and memes like this one have made their way onto the Internet. What is Captain Kirk's true mission? Sure, he commands the Enterprise, but he also enjoys taking his shirt off and making out with alien ladies. Can we really blame him?


Anyone who ever watched the Original Series knows all about the Redshirt Phenomenon. Redshirts are the poor crewmen who ultimately die on away missions. It's almost a foregone conclusion that anyone who is wearing a literal red shirt will not make it to the end of the episode. It became such a common issue, it was addressed when the series relaunched with Star Trek: The Next Generation.

In the very first episode of the new series, only one person dies and it just so happens to be the poor schlub on the bridge wearing a red shirt. He was the one and only Redshirt to die on the new series and they went ahead and got it out of the way as quickly as they could.

Fortunately, the idea of what a Redshirt is has never gone away, which is why MEMEs like this one can be found online from time to time. You might be wondering why we included it here on this list of Kirk vs. Picard MEMEs and for this entry, simply having the concept of Redshirts being attributed solely to Kirk gives him an edge on Picard. Does he lose a lot of crewmen in nearly every episode? Sure, but he also has a long line of guys wearing red shirts ready to step forward and follow his command to their death and that's saying something about his skills as a leader.


We already established that Picard is more of a diplomat and philosopher than his predecessor Captain Kirk. When Picard goes on an away mission - what are we saying? He almost never went on an away mission. When he did, his first officer gave him a hard time. Things were simpler when Kirk was in command, but they might have changed due to his behavior.

When Captain Kirk went down to a planet, he took his guns no matter what was going on.

Why bother with diplomacy when phasers can get the message across just as well, if not better? It isn't as if he didn't have a slew of Redshirts ready and willing to lose their lives for him if things got hairy.

This meme is really about the nature of Kirk. He was a cowboy-- ready to engage in gunfight diplomacy at the drop of a hat whenever necessary. While Picard would always do whatever was necessary, he preferred to lean towards not showing his arms when meeting with new and interesting people while Kirk would just blast them.


Sometimes, you just have to look at Captain James T. Kirk and think there is nobody better than him. That's certainly the look he seems to be going for in this meme, which fits perfectly in this article debating who might be better, him or Captain Picard.

With the caption simply reading, "Picard who?", you can't help but think to yourself, he has a point.

In many ways, this meme echoes our first Captain Kirk meme on the list. Kirk is simply awesome and there doesn't need to be any further discussion on the topic leaving the man himself to simply ask who the other guy is.

This shot of Captain Kirk has been used as a meme for years online, with many people adding little more than a birthday greeting. Imagine receiving an email or seeing this pop up on your social media timeline wishing you a happy birthday from the original USS Enterprise 1701 Captain himself!

Granted, there isn't much to this meme, but that's what makes it great. The subtlety of Kirk simply looking at the camera with that ever-so-slight smile on his lips lets the world know exactly who is in command of the Enterprise - and it wasn't some guy named Picard.


The Prime Directive, otherwise known as Starfleet General Order 1 or the Non-Interference Directive, is a set of guiding principles that direct Starfleet's actions in a First Contact situation. Starfleet Captains abide by this rule as if violating it might lead to interstellar war - because it often does. Of the many Captains we have seen on Star Trek, Captain Picard adheres to it most often without any wavering even going so far as to call it "...not just a set of rules; it's a philosophy."

The meme refers to a specific time Picard violated the Prime Directive in an episode called "Who Watches the Watchers", where he intervenes in the development of a world who believes him to be a god.

To be fair, the whole thing began accidentally and had he not intervened to fix the problem, they would have gone on believing him a god and remained contaminated either way.

Picard beams a subject up to the ship and proves to her that he is just a man who is aided by technology developed over centuries of work. It takes some doing, but Picard succeeds by skirting around the Prime Directive to limit the damage he and his crew had caused on the aliens.

Kirk had his fair share of Prime Directive battles, but Picard's determination to keep an entire planet of people from worshipping him shows what sort of man he is.


If you've watched only a few episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, you might have noticed that Captain Picard has a tendency to sometimes raise his voice. We don't mean to say he speaks loudly toward his people or raises his voice to be heard. It's more of an issue when he gets upset, like any of us. It happens enough on the series to warrant others, like Captain Kirk in this meme to simply ask, "Picard, why the heck are you always yelling?"

In the interest of fairness, Captain Kirk sure did his fair share of yelling over the years as well.

Kirk could get dramatic in certain situations, but he tended to keep his cool in situations Picard might have just gone over the edge dealing with.

The origin of this meme is not entirely clear. The shot could come from just about any episode of Star Trek. We have a nice image of Captain Kirk looking somewhat incredulous as he appears to be asking someone a question. Why not ask Picard what keeps him yelling all the time?

It's another perfect example of one Captain versus another in this ongoing fan-created feud between Kirk and Picard.


We already went over what a Redshirt is and why it makes Captain Kirk all the more awesome than Captain Picard, but we wouldn't be doing them justice if we didn't cover this meme.

You might recognize the text as coming from another popular fandom; this one is straight out of the very first Legend of Zelda game on the Nintendo Entertainment System. On the first screen of the game, the player finds a small cave they can enter. Upon doing so, they are confronted with a little old man who says, "It's dangerous to go alone! Take this" with a small wooden sword left for the player to take.

This meme takes that saying and alters it only slightly. You may notice the ellipsis after the first word. That has everything to do with the halting way Shatner delivered many of Captain Kirk's lines.

Even better, instead of a wooden sword or even a phaser, the bottom of the meme, which you would presumably print out and place onto a telephone pole, has 10 Redshirts you can tear off and take with you.

Why not grab an expendable person to take along on your adventure?

It's much better than a wooden sword, wouldn't you say so?


This meme has some good advice for anyone who happens to read it. You really should try being yourself as the good Captain says. Granted, if you could be Captain Kirk, then you really should be Captain Kirk.

This meme finds its origins outside of Star Trek fandom, though it is unclear where it first began. You can find similar text attributed to just about any fictitious character such as Harry Potter, Superman, or any fictional character, but also any impressive real-world person could pop up in this meme.

The meme is simple enough. You could be yourself or you could be your favorite superhero, ball-player, or whatever. Ultimately, it doesn't matter, but few characters could stand on the same playing field as Captain Kirk and we couldn't find the same text online for Captain Picard - just a few dozen examples of our smiling friend here.

The image in this version of Captain Kirk comes from an episode in the original series, but it isn't clear which one. Frankly, it doesn't matter. Kirk has a knowing smile on his face. It's like he just knows someone is going to take a screenshot of him and put it through a meme generator 4o+ years later to let the world know that, while people could certainly benefit from being themselves, they really should stop what they're doing and just be Captain Kirk instead.


After so many memes, we are finally getting into a side-by-side comparison of who these men are. On the left, you have Captain Picard, who does everything by the book, while on the right, you have Captain Kirk who thinks the book is really more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules. Both men successfully captained the USS Enterprise across space (and time), but each man is different.

When you examine their command philosophies, you couldn't find two more dissimilar leaders. Kirk became incredibly close to the men and women who served under him. He counts Doctor McCoy and Spock as his closest friends. On the other hand, Picard respects the rules of command differently and while he is close to his subordinates, he keeps them at a distance. Familiarity breeds contempt, as many military commanders might tell you, and Picard seems to agree with this philosophy.

When it comes to dealing with other races or getting themselves into combat, both Captains follow the rules to a certain extent. Picard follows them almost exactly while Kirk follows the concept that rules exist, but that's about it. This meme doesn't really separate either man from one another as being a better Captain, but it does help to illustrate how different they actually are.



With all of these many memes, we wanted to examine the command philosophy, adherence to the Prime Directive, and general nature and character of the Captains.

This meme, often simply called the "KHAAAAAN" meme puts Captain Kirk right on top of Picard.

The scene comes from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and you have likely heard it before, even if you never saw the movie.

Kirk and some of his fellow travelers are trapped inside a rock in space by his arch-nemesis, Khan Noonien Singh. The two had been going at it since the original series episode "Space Seed" when Kirk marooned Khan and his clan on a planet called Ceti Alpha V. That planet's orbit was destabilized and the world became inhospitable to most life. Khan and his people survived, but Khan came to hate Kirk whom he blamed for the passing of his wife.

Once Khan gets the upper-hand on Kirk and traps him, the two are speaking via subspace communication/sci-fi radio when Khan informs Kirk he will be leaving him trapped. All Kirk can do is scream his enemy's name so loudly, it echoes through space - which should be impossible seeing as sound doesn't travel in a vacuum. That is unless of course, you are as absolutely awesome as the one and only Captain James T. Kirk.


Who's your favorite Star Trek captain? Let us know in the comments!

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