Whatever happened to…
For Star Trek fans, we’re living in a new age of glory. There are no less than four series in production: Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks, and the recently announced Strange New Worlds which will feature Captain Christopher Pike’s Enterprise.
The new spate of series has no problems revisiting old situations and characters. Picard brought in Seven of Nine, William Riker, Deanna Troi, Data, and made minor character Hugh into a major character. Discovery tapped into Captain Pike, the original Number One, and Spock, and even minor characters like Harry Mudd.
Lower Decks stuffs cameos into every episode, from revisiting the Archons and Landru to a giant statue of Miles O’Brien to more appearances by William Riker. Strange New Worlds hasn’t aired yet, but since it’s fundamentally a spin-off, there’s no reason to think that it wouldn’t recycle previous characters too.
Given all this opportunity, who would you want to see again? Here’s my list.
Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS). Has the original series been mined out? Probably. All the main characters had long post-series lives on the big screen, and we’ve seen minor characters including Harry Mudd, Khan, and Kang make later appearances. Still, there are a couple of players that I’ve always been curious about.
- Kodos the Executioner. In the year 2246, the governor of Tarsus IV, Kodos, executed 4,000 colonists so that the rest could live. The TOS episode covered Kirk’s discovery of Kodos and his eventual death. Wouldn’t it be great to see the events covered in Strange New Worlds? The timing isn’t perfectly synchronized, but maybe we could see the events in flashback and a very young Kirk?
- Garth of Izar. Kirk met Garth well past his prime when he was a mental patient. I want to see him at his peak. We could find out what happened at the legendary Battle of Axenar. He would have been a contemporary of Captain Pike, so the timing is perfect.
- Saavik. Introduced in the second movie, The Wrath of Khan, the young Vulcan Starfleet officer was mentored by Captain Kirk. For the third and fourth movies, the original actress, Kirstie Alley, was replaced by Robin Curtis, which may have led to the character fizzling out. Let’s see Saavik in Lower Decks as a senior officer, with Kirstie Alley doing the voice. With long Vulcan lives, this is perfectly reasonable.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG). With its own suite of movies and the Picard sequel, all the main characters are covered, as well as a couple of minor ones. We’ll probably see plenty more in Picard. There are, however, a couple of loose ends that could be tied up.
- Guinan. This one’s a no-brainer. As Picard’s confidant through the series and the movies, why wouldn’t she show up in his new series? Another slim option would be on Discovery. We don’t know exactly how long her people live, and she is exceptional even among her people, so maybe she could show up as a very old El-Aurian working a bar in Starfleet Headquarters?
- Captain Edward Jellico. This one has always fascinated me since the character was obviously named after Admiral John Jellicoe who commanded the British High Seas Fleet at the battle of Jutland in World War I. He’s had a brief mention as a famous authoritarian in Lower Decks, so maybe he could be Mariner’s worst nightmare. In TNG, he seemed a little older than Picard already, so time-wise he wouldn’t really fit anywhere else.
- Captain Morgan Bateson. Remember when Kelsey Grammer guest-starred as Captain of the Bozman, lost in time? Later episodes and movies occasionally mention his ship, the Bozeman, so it’s thought to have been returned to service. Grammer is only 65…let’s see him as a senior officer in Starfleet in Picard. Even better, let’s see him captaining the Bozeman and teaming up with the Cerritos in a contemporary Lower Decks adventure.
Star Trek: Voyager. Unfortunately, there is no one really compelling here. Jeri Ryan’s Seven of Nine was the most interesting, and she has already returned with Picard. Sure, I’d like to know how Tuvok, Chakotay, Harry Kim, Tom Parris, B’Elanna Torres, and the rest fared. Were the former Maquis members able to reintegrate into Starfleet? Or did they become criminals? But honestly, it’s sort of an abstract and mild curiosity, rather than a burning interest.
Star Trek: Enterprise. Timing-wise, this is probably the least fertile ground for recycling characters. Two possibilities come to mind.
- T’Pol. This one is obvious. Merely in her 60s during Enterprise, she could be 150–170 years old during the Strange New Worlds era. That’s late middle age for a Vulcan; she could still be quite spry. Why couldn’t she show up on Pike’s Enterprise for a visit?
- Captain Jonathan Archer. This one’s a reach, but why not? He was born in 2112, but was mentioned in 2258 in the Kelvin timeline; apparently, there was a kerfluffle with Scotty, a transporter, and Admiral Archer’s beagle. Perhaps’s he’s leading Starfleet in Pike’s day?
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9). I’ve saved the best for last. In addition to being probably the most compelling Star Trek series, it’s chock full of characters with legs. Let’s tie up the loose ends!
- Dax. Ezri Dax was a young ensign when she started on DS9. She would be a perfect character to run into during Picard. A more far-fetched option would be for a different host and the Dax symbiont to show up in Discovery since no one really knows how long the symbionts can live. This option is probably out, though, since the series has already introduced a joined Trill as a new main character.
- Nog. This would have been a great character to explore after 20 years. Being a starship captain would be the obvious route. He could also have shown up in Picard as Starfleet’s number one diplomatic negotiator or he could have been in charge of Starfleet logistics. Unfortunately, with the passing of actor Aron Eisenberg last year, resurrecting the character may be unlikely.
- Odo. Sure, it would be easy for Odo or Odo and Kira to show up in Picard. Twenty years in the Great Link would be plenty; time for a walkabout. But changelings are effectively immortal. Wouldn’t it be great if Odo was masquerading as a desk in Starfleet Headquarters for a few hundred years so that he could join the Discovery crew?
- Captain Benjamin Sisko. This has Discovery written all over it. Sisko went to live with the prophets in the wormhole at the end of DS9. The precedent has already been set that he could emerge hundreds of years later as with an earlier Bajoran poet. The Discovery has already visited the area around Bajor, and mentioned the Bajoran exchange as a place to visit, so the planet is a going concern. The legendary Sisko should return to humanity and help rebuild the Federation.
Did I miss anyone? Who should be added to the list?
Brian E. Wish works as a quality engineer in the aerospace industry. He has spent 29 years active and reserve in the US Air Force, where he holds the rank of Colonel. He has a bachelor’s from the US Air Force Academy, a master’s from Bowie State, and a Ph.D. in Public and Urban Administration from UT Arlington. The opinions expressed here are his own. Learn more at brianewish.com.