James T. Kirk, Star Trek

image

It's hard to remember a time before James Tiberius Kirk, but when J. J. Abrams started the franchise over with 2009's Star Trek, he seriously started over, opening his story with the birth of everyone's favorite rule-breaking, bed-hopping captain.

Lieutenant Commander George Kirk finds himself in an unenviable situation. The ship on which he serves, the Kelvin, is under heavy attack. The captain's just been killed, and the angry looking assailant is about to blow the starship out of the sky. Kirk orders the evacuation of the crew, and ensures his very pregnant wife Winona a place in one of the escaping shuttlecraft. Everything seems to be taken care of, but the assailant has to be stopped.

What's a newly-anointed captain to do? The only thing he can do: Kirk sets the Kelvin on a collision course, sacrificing himself to save his escaping crew. This leaves Winona Kirk in labor, on a speeding shuttlecraft, without her husband. The two have a com link open, allowing Kirk to hear the birth of his son, and the parents to agree upon the name "Jim." Then the Kelvin explodes, Kirk dies, and Winona finds herself the single parent of James Tiberius Kirk.

It's a short scene, but lays the groundwork for so much of the movie to come. The pathos of the scene presents a contrast to the devil-may-care Captain the boy will become, the circumstances inform his later relationship to the Kobayashi Maru, and the exploration of established events prepares us for a deeper, and different, progression of the story we all know and love.

Jenny, Doctor Who

image

Jenny is a walking, talking, grown-up infant. She's a war machine, a Baby Spice lookalike, and a genetic anomaly. She's also the Doctor's daughter, complete with two hearts. Jenny was born from a tissue sample forcibly taken from the Doctor's hand, emerging fully grown from a Progenation Machine. She was born a soldier, and takes to it like an ass-kicking duck to water, but she's intrigued by her father's line of work. She fights as she was made to, but the episode's climax, she's decided to travel with her time lord father, exciting about running around and seeing the universe. (Seriously, there's an outrageous amount of running involved.)

If you haven't seen the episode "The Doctor's Daughter," but would like to, please stop reading here.

Just us in the know now? Good. Jenny's death gives us a beautiful insight into the Doctor's character, as he holds a gun to her murderer's head. The moment seems to last forever, and Tennant plays it beautifully, ending the confrontation in as clear a call for peace as Doctor Who has ever had. Jenny's existence provides us another filter through which to view the Doctor, further revealing the depth of his isolation and his endless capacity for compassion.

In the end, not being dead after all, Jenny herself sums the appeal of the Doctor's life pretty perfectly: "Planets to save, civilizations to rescue, creatures to defeat, and an awful lot of running to do." Pretty perceptive for an infant.

Luke and Leia, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

image

Starting in medias res and working your way back to the beginning gives an audience a delicious sense of dramatic irony, and George Lucas played it to the hilt. Whatever flaws Episodes I, II, and III may have had, giving big moments their due was not one of them. Padme's pregnant with twins, and refuses to believe their father, Anakin, has fallen to the Dark Side. In seeing for herself, she's nearly strangled, and indeed, Anakin believes he has strangled her to death. Shortly thereafter, Anakin meets his fate in the form of molten lava, and ends the day with fewer limbs than with which he began.

Well, Padme does die, but not before giving birth in a space-agey, shallow bathtub with a pastel modesty cage. The uproar and pain amongst which these children enter the world is indicative of the Star Wars universe as a whole, and informs to their respective destinies. Dramatic irony is again our friend here, and we know that the agonies suffered to bring about these babies - Anakin's downfall, Padme's death - are catalysts their later actions.

Luke and Leia's birth not only marks the beginning of their epic journey, but the end of Episodes I, II, and III, and that's the best birthday present any child of a Jedi and a Senator could ever want.

RELATED CONTENT
Comments on