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Star Trek
Star Trek TOS logo.svg
Logo as it appears in The Original Series
Created byGene Roddenberry
Original workStar Trek: The Original Series
Print publications
Novel(s)List of novels
ComicsList of comics
Films and television
Film(s)The Original Series films

The Next Generation films

Reboot (Kelvin Timeline) films

Television seriesPremiere series

Sequels to The Original Series

Prequels to The Original Series

Animated series
Television short(s)Short Treks (2018–present)
TraditionalList of games
Theme park attraction(s)
Official website

Star Trek is an American media franchise based on the science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry. The first television series, simply called Star Trek and now referred to as "The Original Series", debuted in 1966 and aired for three seasons on NBC. It followed the voyages of the starship USS Enterprise on its five-year mission, the purpose of which was “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before!“. The USS Enterprise was a space exploration vessel built by the United Federation of Planets in the 23rd century. The Star Trek canon includes The Original Series, an animated series, five spin-off television series, the film franchise, and further adaptations in several media.

In creating Star Trek, Roddenberry was inspired by C. S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower series of novels, Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, and television westerns such as the Wagon Train. These adventures continued in the 22-episode Star Trek: The Animated Series and six feature films. Five other television series were eventually produced: Star Trek: The Next Generation follows the crew of a new starship Enterprise, set a century after the original series; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager are set contemporaneously with The Next Generation, and Enterprise is set before the original series in the early days of human interstellar travel. The most recent Star Trek television series, Star Trek: Discovery, airs exclusively on the digital platform CBS All Access. The adventures of The Next Generation crew continued in four additional feature films. In 2009, the film franchise underwent a reboot with the creation in an alternate timeline, or the Kelvin Timeline, named after a starship featured in the film Star Trek. This film featured a new cast portraying younger versions of the crew from the original show; their adventures were continued in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). Its sequel, Star Trek Beyond (2016), was released to coincide with the franchise's 50th anniversary. Two additional television series are in development, Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Lower Decks. Appearing on CBS All Access, they are scheduled to debut in 2020.

Star Trek has been a cult phenomenon for decades.[1] Fans of the franchise are called "Trekkies" or "Trekkers". The franchise spans a wide range of spin-offs including games, figurines, novels, toys, and comics. Star Trek had a themed attraction in Las Vegas that opened in 1998 and closed in September 2008. At least two museum exhibits of props travel the world. The series has its own full-fledged constructed language, Klingon. Several parodies have been made of Star Trek. In addition, viewers have produced several fan productions. As of July 2016, the franchise had generated $10 billion in revenue, making Star Trek one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.[2]

Star Trek is noted for its cultural influence beyond works of science fiction.[3] The franchise is also noted for its progressive civil rights stances.[4] The Original Series included one of television's first multiracial casts.

Conception and setting[edit]

The Starfleet emblem as seen in the franchise

As early as 1964, Gene Roddenberry drafted a proposal for the science-fiction series that would become Star Trek. Although he publicly marketed it as a Western in outer space—a so-called "Wagon Train to the Stars"—he privately told friends that he was modeling it on Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, intending each episode to act on two levels: as a suspenseful adventure story and as a morality tale.[5][6][7][8]

Most Star Trek stories depict the adventures of humans[a] and aliens who serve in Starfleet, the space-borne humanitarian and peacekeeping armada of the United Federation of Planets. The protagonists have altruistic values, and must apply these ideals to difficult dilemmas.

Many of the conflicts and political dimensions of Star Trek represent allegories of contemporary cultural realities. Star Trek: The Original Series addressed issues of the 1960s, just as later spin-offs have reflected issues of their respective decades.[9] Issues depicted in the various series include war and peace, the value of personal loyalty, authoritarianism, imperialism, class warfare, economics, racism, religion, human rights, sexism, feminism, and the role of technology.[10]:57 Roddenberry stated: "[By creating] a new world with new rules, I could make statements about sex, religion, Vietnam, politics, and intercontinental missiles. Indeed, we did make them on Star Trek: we were sending messages and fortunately they all got by the network."[10]:79 "If you talked about purple people on a far off planet, they (the television network) never really caught on. They were more concerned about cleavage. They actually would send a censor down to the set to measure a woman's cleavage to make sure too much of her breast wasn't showing"[11]

Roddenberry intended the show to have a progressive political agenda reflective of the emerging counter-culture of the youth movement, though he was not fully forthcoming to the networks about this. He wanted Star Trek to show what humanity might develop into, if it would learn from the lessons of the past, most specifically by ending violence. An extreme example is the alien species, the Vulcans, who had a violent past but learned to control their emotions. Roddenberry also gave Star Trek an anti-war message and depicted the United Federation of Planets as an ideal, optimistic version of the United Nations.[12] His efforts were opposed by the network because of concerns over marketability, e.g., they opposed Roddenberry's insistence that Enterprise have a racially diverse crew.[13]


The central trio of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy from Star Trek: The Original Series was modeled on classical mythological storytelling.[14]

There is a mythological component [to pop culture], especially with science fiction. It's people looking for answers – and science fiction offers to explain the inexplicable, the same as religion tends to do... If we accept the premise that it has a mythological element, then all the stuff about going out into space and meeting new life – trying to explain it and put a human element to it – it's a hopeful vision. All these things offer hope and imaginative solutions for the future.

— William Shatner, The News & Observer (2015)[15]

History and production[edit]


Star Trek: PicardStar Trek: VoyagerStar Trek: Deep Space NineStar Trek NemesisStar Trek: InsurrectionStar Trek: First ContactStar Trek GenerationsStar Trek: The Next GenerationStar Trek BeyondStar Trek Into DarknessStar Trek (film)Star Trek GenerationsStar Trek VI: The Undiscovered CountryStar Trek V: The Final FrontierStar Trek IV: The Voyage HomeStar Trek III: The Search for SpockStar Trek II: The Wrath of KhanStar Trek: The Motion PictureStar Trek: The Animated SeriesStar Trek: The Original SeriesThe Cage (Star Trek: The Original Series)Star Trek: DiscoveryStar Trek: Enterprise


Star Trek creator, producer and writer Gene Roddenberry
Commander Spock and Captain James T. Kirk, played by Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner, pictured here in The Original Series

In early 1964, Roddenberry presented a brief treatment for a television series to Desilu Productions, calling it "a Wagon Train to the stars."[16] Desilu worked with Roddenberry to develop the treatment into a script, which was then pitched to NBC.[17]

NBC paid to make a pilot, "The Cage", starring Jeffrey Hunter as Enterprise Captain Christopher Pike. NBC rejected The Cage, but the executives were still impressed with the concept, and made the unusual decision to commission a second pilot: "Where No Man Has Gone Before".[17]

While the show initially enjoyed high ratings, the average rating of the show at the end of its first season dropped to 52nd out of 94 programs. Unhappy with the show's ratings, NBC threatened to cancel the show during its second season.[18] The show's fan base, led by Bjo Trimble, conducted an unprecedented letter-writing campaign, petitioning the network to keep the show on the air.[18][19] NBC renewed the show, but moved it from primetime to the "Friday night death slot", and substantially reduced its budget.[20] In protest Roddenberry, resigned as producer and reduced his direct involvement in Star Trek, which led to Fred Freiberger becoming producer for the show's third and final season.[b] Despite another letter-writing campaign, NBC canceled the series after three seasons and 79 episodes.[17]


After the original series was canceled, Paramount Studios, which had bought the series from Desilu, licensed the broadcast syndication rights to help recoup the production losses. Reruns began in the fall of 1969 and by the late 1970s the series aired in over 150 domestic and 60 international markets. This helped Star Trek develop a cult following greater than its popularity during its original run.[21]

One sign of the series' growing popularity was the first Star Trek convention which occurred on January 21–23, 1972 in New York City. Although the original estimate of attendees was only a few hundred, several thousand fans turned up. Star Trek fans continue to attend similar conventions worldwide.[22]

The series' newfound success led to the idea of reviving the franchise.[23] Filmation with Paramount Television produced the first post original series show, Star Trek: The Animated Series. It ran on NBC for 22 half-hour episodes over two seasons on Saturday mornings from 1973 to 1974.[24]:208 Although short-lived, typical for animated productions in that time slot during that period, the series garnered the franchise's only "Best Series" Emmy Award as opposed to the franchise's later technical ones. Paramount Pictures and Roddenberry began developing a new series, Star Trek: Phase II, in May 1975 in response to the franchise's newfound popularity. Work on the series ended, however, when the proposed Paramount Television Service folded.

Following the success of the science fiction movies Star Wars[c] and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Paramount adapted the planned pilot episode of Phase II into the feature film Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The film opened in North America on December 7, 1979, with mixed reviews from critics. The film earned $139 million worldwide, below expectations but enough for Paramount to create a sequel. The studio forced Roddenberry to relinquish creative control of future sequels.

The success of the critically acclaimed sequel, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, reversed the fortunes of the franchise. While the sequel grossed less than the first movie, The Wrath of Khan's lower production costs made it net more profit. Paramount produced six Star Trek feature films between 1979 and 1991.

In response to the popularity of Star Trek feature films, the franchise returned to television with Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987. Paramount chose to distribute it as a first-run syndication show rather than a network show.[7]:545

After Roddenberry[edit]

Following Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Roddenberry's role was changed from producer to creative consultant with minimal input to the films while being heavily involved with the creation of The Next Generation. Roddenberry died on October 24, 1991, giving executive producer Rick Berman control of the franchise.[10]:268[7]:591–593 Star Trek had become known to those within Paramount as "the franchise", because of its great success and recurring role as a tent pole for the studio when other projects failed.[25] The Next Generation had the highest ratings of any Star Trek series and became the most syndicated show during the last years of its original seven-season run.[26] In response to The Next Generation's success, Paramount released a spin-off series Deep Space Nine in 1993. While never as popular as The Next Generation, the series had sufficient ratings for it to last seven seasons.

In January 1995, a few months after The Next Generation ended, Paramount released a fourth television series, Voyager. Star Trek saturation reached a peak in the mid-1990s with Deep Space Nine and Voyager airing concurrently and three of the four The Next Generation-based feature films released in 1994, 1996, and 1998. By 1998, Star Trek was Paramount's most important property; the enormous profits of "the franchise" funded much of the rest of the studio's operations.[27] Voyager became the flagship show of the new United Paramount Network (UPN) and thus the first major network Star Trek series since the original.[28]

After Voyager ended, UPN produced Enterprise, a prequel series. Enterprise did not enjoy the high ratings of its predecessors and UPN threatened to cancel it after the series' third season. Fans launched a campaign reminiscent of the one that saved the third season of the Original Series. Paramount renewed Enterprise for a fourth season, but moved it to the Friday night death slot.[29] Like the Original Series, Enterprise ratings dropped during this time slot, and UPN cancelled Enterprise at the end of its fourth season. Enterprise aired its final episode on May 13, 2005.[30] Fan groups, "Save Enterprise", attempted to save the series and tried to raise $30 million to privately finance a fifth season of Enterprise.[31] Though the effort garnered considerable press, the fan drive failed to save the series. The cancellation of Enterprise ended an eighteen-year continuous production run of Star Trek programming on television. The poor box office performance in 2002 of the film Nemesis cast an uncertain light upon the future of the franchise. Paramount relieved Berman, the franchise producer, of control of Star Trek.

Film reboots (Kelvin Timeline)[edit]

In 2005, Paramount's parent company Viacom split into two companies, the CBS Corporation owner of CBS Television Studios, and Viacom owner of Paramount Pictures. CBS owns the film brand while Paramount owns the film library and would continue the film franchise. Paramount was the first company to try to revive the franchise, which it hired a new creative team to reinvigorate in 2007. Writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman and producer J. J. Abrams had the freedom to reinvent the feel of the franchise.

The team created the franchise's eleventh film, Star Trek, releasing it in May 2009. The film featured a new cast portraying the crew of the original show. Star Trek was a prequel of the original series set in an alternate timeline, later named the Kelvin Timeline. This gave the film and sequels freedom from the need to conform to the franchise's canonical timeline. The eleventh Star Trek film's marketing campaign targeted non-fans, even stating in the film's advertisements that "this is not your father's Star Trek".[32] It also would not interfere with CBS's franchise.

The film earned considerable critical and financial success, grossing (in inflation-adjusted dollars) more box office sales than any previous Star Trek film.[33] The plaudits include the franchise's first Academy Award (for makeup). The film's major cast members are contracted for two sequels.[34] Paramount's sequel to the 2009 film, Star Trek Into Darkness, premiered in Sydney, Australia, on April 23, 2013, but the film did not release in the United States until May 17, 2013.[35] While the film was not as successful in the North American box office as its predecessor, internationally, in terms of box office receipts, Into Darkness was the most successful of the franchise.[36] The thirteenth film, Star Trek Beyond, was released on July 22, 2016.[37] The film had many pre-production problems and its script went through several rewrites. While receiving positive reviews, Star Trek Beyond disappointed in the box office.[38] Plans for future films remain nebulous.

Streaming originals[edit]

CBS turned down several proposals in the mid-2000s to restart the franchise. These included pitches from film director Bryan Singer, Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski, and Trek actors Jonathan Frakes and William Shatner.[39][40][41] The company also turned down an animated web series.[42]

Despite the franchise's absence from network television, the Star Trek film library would become highly accessible to the average viewer due to the rise of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. To capitalize on this trend, CBS brought the franchise back to the small screen with the show Star Trek: Discovery to help launch and draw subscribers to its streaming service CBS All Access.[43] The first season premiered in September 24, 2017 and second season that premiered in January 2019.[44] A third Discovery season was announced on February 27, 2019.[45] Additional All Access series are under development including one featuring Patrick Stewart reprising his role as Jean-Luc Picard, a Lower Decks adult animated series, and a show centered around the Discovery character Philippa Georgiou. CBS's goal is to have new Star Trek content year-round on All-Access.[46][47][48]


Eight television series make up the bulk of the Star Trek mythos: The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, Discovery and Short Treks. All the series in total amount to 760 episodes across 34 seasons of television.[d]

The Original Series (1966–1969)[edit]

The Original Series logo, common throughout the franchise

Star Trek: The Original Series, frequently abbreviated as TOS,[e] debuted on NBC on September 8, 1966.[49] The show tells the tale of the crew of the starship USS Enterprise and its five-year mission "to boldly go where no man has gone before." During the series initial run, it was nominated for Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation multiple times, and won twice.[24]:231 Cast included:

NBC canceled the show after three seasons; the last original episode aired on June 3, 1969.[50] A petition near the end of the second season to save the show signed by many Caltech students and its multiple Hugo nominations would, however, indicate that despite low Nielsen ratings, it was highly popular with science fiction fans and engineering students.[51] The series later became popular in reruns and found a cult following.[49]

The Animated Series (1973–1974)[edit]

The Animated Series logo

Star Trek: The Animated Series, produced by Filmation, ran for two seasons from 1973 to 1974. Most of the original cast performed the voices of their characters from The Original Series, and some of the writers who worked on The Original Series returned. While the animated format allowed the producers to create more exotic alien landscapes and life forms, animation errors and liberal reuse of shots and musical cues have tarnished the series' reputation.[52] Gene Roddenberry often spoke of it as non-canon.[53]:232 The cast included:

The Animated Series won Star Trek's first Emmy Award on May 15, 1975.[54] The series briefly returned to television in the mid-1980s on the children's cable network Nickelodeon, and again on Sci-Fi Channel in the mid-90s. The complete series was released on LaserDisc during the 1980s.[55] The complete series was first released in the U.S. on eleven volumes of VHS tapes in 1989. All 22 episodes were released on DVD in 2006.

The Next Generation (1987–1994)[edit]

The Next Generation logo

Star Trek: The Next Generation, frequently abbreviated as TNG, takes place about a century after The Original Series (2364–2370). It features a new starship, Enterprise (NCC-1701-D), and a new crew:

The series premiered on September 28, 1987, and ran for seven seasons. It had the highest ratings of any of the Star Trek series and became the highest rated syndicated show during the near the end of its run, allowing it to act as a springboard for other series. Many relationships and races introduced in The Next Generation became the basis for episodes in Deep Space Nine and Voyager.[26] The series earned several Emmy awards and nominations—including Best Dramatic Series for its final season—two Hugo Awards, and a Peabody Award for Outstanding Television Programming for one episode.[56]

Deep Space Nine (1993–1999)[edit]

Deep Space Nine logo

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, frequently abbreviated as DS9, takes place during the last years and immediately after The Next Generation (2369–2375). It debuted the week of January 3, 1993, and ran for seven seasons. Unlike the other Star Trek series, Deep Space Nine was set place primarily on a space station of the same name rather than aboard a starship. The cast included:

The show begins after the brutal Cardassian occupation of the planet Bajor. The liberated Bajoran people ask the United Federation of Planets to help run a space station near Bajor. After the Federation takes control of the station, the protagonists of the show discover a uniquely stable wormhole that provides immediate access to the distant Gamma Quadrant, making Bajor and the station a strategically important location.[57] The show chronicles the events of the station's crew, led by Commander Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks), and Major Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor).

Deep Space Nine stands apart from earlier Trek series for its lengthy serialized storytelling, character conflicts, and religious themes—all elements critics and audiences praised but were forbidden by Roddenberry while a producer of the original series and The Next Generation.[58]

Voyager (1995–2001)[edit]

Voyager logo

Star Trek: Voyager ran for seven seasons, airing from January 16, 1995 to May 23, 2001. It features Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway, the first female commanding officer in a leading role of a Star Trek series.[59] Cast included:

Voyager takes place at about the same time period as Deep Space Nine and the years following that show's end (2371–2378). The premiere episode has the USS Voyager and its crew pursue a Maquis (Federation rebels) ship. Both ships become stranded in the Delta Quadrant about 70,000 light-years from Earth.[60] Faced with a 75-year voyage to Earth, the crew must learn to work together to overcome challenges on their long and perilous journey home while also seeking ways to shorten the voyage.

Like Deep Space Nine, early seasons of Voyager feature more conflict between its crew members than seen in later episodes. Such conflict often arose from friction between "by-the-book" Starfleet crew and rebellious Maquis fugitives forced by circumstance to work together. The starship Voyager, isolated from its home, faced new cultures and dilemmas not possible in shows based in the Alpha Quadrant. Later seasons brought in an influx of characters and cultures from prior shows, such as the Borg, Q, the Ferengi, Romulans, Klingons, Cardassians and cast members of The Next Generation.

Enterprise (2001–2005)[edit]

Enterprise logo

Star Trek: Enterprise, originally titled Enterprise, is a prequel to the original Star Trek series. It aired from September 26, 2001 to May 13, 2005 on UPN.[61] Enterprise is set during 2150s, ninety years after Zefram Cochrane's first warp flight, and approximately ten years before the creation of the Coalition of Planets which became the United Federation of Planets. The show follows the crew of Earth's first Warp-5 capable starship, Enterprise (NX-01). Cast included:

Initially, Enterprise featured self-contained episodes, much like The Original Series, The Next Generation and Voyager. The third season comprised a single narrative arc. The fourth, and final, season consisted of several three and four-episode arcs, which explored the origins of some elements of previous series, and resolved some continuity errors with The Original Series.

Ratings for Enterprise started strong but declined rapidly. Although critics received the fourth season well, both fans and the cast reviled the series finale, partly because of the episode's focus on the guest appearance of members of The Next Generation cast.[62][63][64] The cancellation of Enterprise ended an 18-year run of new Star Trek series, which began The Next Generation in 1987.

Discovery (2017–present)[edit]

Discovery logo

Star Trek: Discovery is a direct prequel to Star Trek: The Original Series, set roughly ten years prior.[65] It premiered September 24, 2017 in the United States and Canada on CBS.[44] The series is CBS All Access exclusive in the United States. Netflix distributes the series worldwide, except for Canada.[66]

The series primary protagonist is Lt. Commander Michael Burnham, portrayed by Martin-Green. This is a departure from previous Star Trek series whose lead character is traditionally the "captain of the ship". The series opened with a conflict with the Klingon T'Kuvma, attempting to unite the twenty-four Klingon factions—called the Great Houses, and the United Federation of Planets.[67][68]

Short Treks (2018–present)[edit]

Star Trek: Short Treks is a spin-off series of stand-alone short films which focus on characters and situations from Discovery. Some of the future episodes will be animated.[69]

In development[edit]

Picard logo
Lower Decks logo

CBS All Access has three upcoming series announced to be in development, two live action and one animated. Patrick Stewart will reprise his role as Jean-Luc Picard in the live-action series Star Trek: Picard, and Michelle Yeoh will reprise her role as the mirror universe's Philippa Georgiou of Section 31 from Discovery in another live-action series.[70][71]

Two seasons have been ordered of an animated, adult comedy series created by the Rick and Morty writer Mike McMahan, titled Lower Decks, to follow the support crew of "one of Starfleet's least important ships."[72] Additionally, a new animated children's series will air on Nickelodeon as a joint-venture with CBS.[73]


The reboot film series logo

Paramount Pictures has produced thirteen Star Trek feature films, the most recent being released in July 2016.[74] The first six films continue the adventures of the cast of The Original Series; the seventh film, Generations was designed as a transition from that cast to The Next Generation television series; the next three films, focused completely on the Next Generation cast.[f] Starting with the eleventh film, the movies take place in an alternate timeline with a new cast playing the original series characters. Leonard Nimoy portrays an elderly Spock in these films, providing a physical link to the original timeline. This alternate timeline has been named by CBS, for the computer game Star Trek Online, the Kelvin Timeline.

Title U.S. release date Director
The Original Series
Star Trek: The Motion Picture December 7, 1979 Robert Wise
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan June 4, 1982 Nicholas Meyer
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock June 1, 1984 Leonard Nimoy
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home November 26, 1986
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier June 9, 1989 William Shatner
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country December 6, 1991 Nicholas Meyer
The Next Generation
Star Trek Generations November 18, 1994 David Carson
Star Trek: First Contact November 22, 1996 Jonathan Frakes
Star Trek: Insurrection December 11, 1998
Star Trek: Nemesis December 13, 2002 Stuart Baird
Reboot (Kelvin Timeline)[g]
Star Trek May 8, 2009 J. J. Abrams
Star Trek Into Darkness May 16, 2013
Star Trek Beyond July 22, 2016 Justin Lin

Shared cast[edit]

Star Trek has an on-going tradition of actors returning to reprise their roles in other spin-off series, which began with The Next Generation. In some instances, actors have portrayed potential ancestors, descendants, or relatives of characters they originated. Characters have also been recast for later appearances.

Below is an incomplete list:

Actor(s) Character The Original Series
The Animated Series
The Next Generation
Deep Space Nine
Short Treks[α]
William Shatner James T. Kirk Main Guest[β] Guest[γ]
Jeffrey Hunter Christopher Pike Main[δ]
Sean Kenney Recurring[ε]
Anson Mount Main[ζ] Guest
Leonard Nimoy Spock Main Recurring[η] Guest[β]
Ethan Peck Recurring[θ] Guest
DeForest Kelley Leonard McCoy Main[ι] Guest[κ] Guest[β]
James Doohan Scotty Co-star Guest[λ] Guest[β]
Nichelle Nichols Uhura Co-star Guest[β]
George Takei Hikaru Sulu Co-star Guest
Walter Koenig Pavel Chekov Co-star[μ] Guest[β]
Majel Barrett Christine Chapel Co-star
Computer Voice Recurring
Lwaxana Troi Recurring
Number One / Una Guest
Rebecca Romijn Recurring Guest
Susan Oliver Vina Recurring[ν]
Melissa George Guest
Roger C. Carmel Harry Mudd Recurring Guest
Rainn Wilson Recurring Guest
Patrick Stewart Jean-Luc Picard Main Guest Guest[γ] Main
Jonathan Frakes William Riker Main Guest Guest
Thomas Riker Guest[ξ]
LeVar Burton Geordi La Forge Main Guest
Denise Crosby Tasha Yar Main[ο]
Sela Recurring
Michael Dorn Worf Main[π]
Gates McFadden Beverly Crusher Main[ρ]
Marina Sirtis Deanna Troi Main Guest Guest
Brent Spiner Data Main Guest[σ] Guest
Wil Wheaton Wesley Crusher Main[τ]
Diana Muldaur Katherine Pulaski Main[υ]
Ann Mulhall Recurring
John de Lancie Q Recurring Guest Recurring
Whoopi Goldberg Guinan Recurring
Jon Paul Steuer Alexander Rozhenko Guest[φ]
Brian Bonsall Recurring[χ]
James Sloyan Guest[ψ]
Marc Worden Recurring[ω]
Jonathan Del Arco Hugh Recurring Guest
Avery Brooks Benjamin Sisko Main
René Auberjonois Odo Main
Terry Farrell Jadzia Dax Main[αα]
Nicole de Boer Ezri Dax Main[αβ]
Cirroc Lofton Jake Sisko Main
Colm Meaney Miles O'Brien Recurring Main
Armin Shimerman Quark Guest Main Guest
Alexander Siddig[αγ] Julian Bashir Guest Main
Nana Visitor Kira Nerys Main
Kate Mulgrew Kathryn Janeway Guest[αδ] Main
Robert Beltran Chakotay Main
Roxann Dawson B'Elanna Torres Main
Jennifer Lien Kes Main[αε]
Robert Duncan McNeill Tom Paris Main
Ethan Phillips Neelix Main
Robert Picardo The Doctor Guest[αζ] Main
Tim Russ Tuvok Guest[αη] Main
Jeri Ryan Seven of Nine Main[αθ] Guest
Garrett Wang Harry Kim Main
Scott Bakula Jonathan Archer Main
Jolene Blalock T'Pol Main
John Billingsley Phlox Main
Dominic Keating Malcolm Reed Main
Anthony Montgomery Travis Mayweather Main
Linda Park Hoshi Sato Main
Connor Trinneer Trip Tucker Main
Sonequa Martin-Green Michael Burnham Main
Doug Jones Saru Main Guest
Shazad Latif Ash Tyler / Voq Main
Anthony Rapp Paul Stamets Main
Mary Wiseman Sylvia Tilly Main Guest
Jason Isaacs Gabriel Lorca Main
Wilson Cruz Hugh Culber Main
Santiago Cabrera Cristobal Rios Main
Michelle Hurd Raffi Musiker Main
Evan Evagora Elnor Main
Alison Pill Agnes Jurati Main
Harry Treadaway Narek Main
Isa Briones Dahj Main
  1. ^ Star Trek: Short Treks is a series of short films which do not form a cohesive story. There is no main cast.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Appeared in "Trials and Tribble-ations" via archive footage
  3. ^ a b Appeared in "These Are the Voyages..." via archive voice over
  4. ^ Jeffrey Hunter was billed as a starring cast member in pilot episode "The Cage". Appeared in "The Menagerie", Parts I and II, via archive footage.
  5. ^ Sean Kenny appeared in "The Menagerie", Parts I and II.
  6. ^ Anson Mount appeared in Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery as a main cast member.
  7. ^ Leonard Nimoy appeared in Unification, parts I and II
  8. ^ Ethan Peck appeared in appeared in Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery, and Star Trek: Short Treks
  9. ^ DeForest Kelley was billed as a co-star for the first season of The Original Series.
  10. ^ Appeared as Admiral McCoy in "Encounter at Farpoint".
  11. ^ James Doohan appeared in "Relics"
  12. ^ Walter Koenig was billed as a Co-Star in Season 2 of The Original Series.
  13. ^ Susan Oliver was billed as a guest star in "The Cage", and appeared in "The Menagerie", Parts I and II, via archive footage.
  14. ^ Jonathan Frakes appeared in "Defiant" as Lt. Thomas Riker.
  15. ^ Denise Crosby left the cast of The Next Generation in "Skin of Evil". She continuted to make guest appearances as Tasha Yar in "Yesterday's Enterprise" and "All Good Things...".
  16. ^ Michael Dorn joined the cast of Deep Space Nine in "The Way of the Warrior".
  17. ^ Gates McFadden was replaced by Diana Muldaur as the ship's doctor for Season 2 of The Next Generation.
  18. ^ Brent Spiner made an uncredited voice cameo in "These Are the Voyages...".
  19. ^ Wil Wheaton's left the cast of The Next Generation in "Final Mission". He appeared in "The Game", "The First Duty", "Parallels" and "Journey's End" as a guest.
  20. ^ Billed as "Special Guest Appearance by Diana Muldaur" for each of her Season 2 appearances.
  21. ^ Jon Paul Steuer appeared in "Reunion".
  22. ^ Brian Bonsall appeared in "New Ground", "Ethics", "Cost of Living", "Imaginary Friend", "Rascals", "A Fistful of Datas", and "Firstborn".
  23. ^ James Sloyan appeared as a future Alexander Rozhenko in "Firstborn".
  24. ^ Marc Worden appeared in "Sons and Daughters" and "You Are Cordially Invited".
  25. ^ Terry Farrell left Deep Space Nine in "Tears of the Prophets".
  26. ^ Nicole de Boer joined the cast of Deep Space Nine in "Image in the Sand".
  27. ^ Alexander Siddig was billed Siddig el Fadil from 1993 to 1995, and for his guest appearance on The Next Generation.
  28. ^ Kate Mulgrew appeared in a briefing room scene in Nemesis (2002)
  29. ^ Jennifer Lien left the cast of Voyager in "The Gift", but made a guest appearance in "Fury"
  30. ^ Robert Picardo appeared in Deep Space Nine Emergency Medical Hologram in "Doctor Bashir, I Presume?".
  31. ^ Tim Russ appeared in "Through the Looking Glass" as the Mirror Universe analogue of Tuvok.
  32. ^ Jeri Ryan joined the cast of Voyager in "Scorpion, Part II".


Many licensed products are based on the Star Trek franchise. Merchandising is very lucrative for both studio and actors; by 1986 Nimoy had earned more than $500,000 from royalties.[75] Products include novels, comic books, video games, and other materials, which are generally considered non-canon. Star Trek merchandise generated $4 billion for Paramount by 2002.[76]


Since 1967, hundreds of original novels, short stories, and television and movie adaptations have been published. The first original Star Trek novel was Mission to Horatius by Mack Reynolds, which was published in hardcover by Whitman Books in 1968.[53]:131

The first publisher of Star Trek fiction aimed at adult readers was Bantam Books. James Blish wrote adaptations of episodes of the original series in twelve volumes from 1967 to 1977; in 1970, he wrote the first original Star Trek novel published by Bantam, Spock Must Die!.[53]:xi

Pocket Books published subsequent Star Trek novels. Prolific Star Trek novelists include Peter David, Diane Carey, Keith DeCandido, J.M. Dillard, Diane Duane, Michael Jan Friedman, and Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. Several actors from the television series have also written or co-written books featuring their respective characters: William Shatner, John de Lancie, Andrew J. Robinson, J. G. Hertzler and Armin Shimerman. Voyager producer Jeri Taylor wrote two novels detailing the personal histories of Voyager characters. Screenplay writers David Gerrold, D. C. Fontana, and Melinda Snodgrass have also penned books.[53]:213

A 2014 scholarly work Newton Lee discussed the actualization of Star Trek's holodeck in the future by making extensive use of artificial intelligence and cyborgs.[77]


Star Trek-based comics have been almost continuously published since 1967. They have been offered by several companies, including Marvel, DC, Malibu, Wildstorm, and Gold Key. Tokyopop is publishing an anthology of Next Generation-based stories presented in the style of Japanese manga.[78] As of 2006, IDW Publishing secured publishing rights to Star Trek comics and published a prequel to the 2009 film, Star Trek: Countdown.[79] In 2012, IDW published the first volume of Star Trek – The Newspaper Strip featuring the work of Thomas Warkentin.[80]


The Star Trek franchise has numerous games in many formats. Beginning in 1967 with a board game based on the original series and continuing through today with online and DVD games, Star Trek games continue to be popular among fans.

Video games of the series include Star Trek: Legacy and Star Trek: Conquest. An MMORPG based on Star Trek called Star Trek Online was developed by Cryptic Studios and published by Perfect World. It is set in the The Next Generation universe about 30 years after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis.[81] The most recent video game was set in the alternate timeline from Abrams's Star Trek.

On June 8, 2010, WizKids announced the development of a Star Trek collectible miniatures game using the HeroClix game system.[82]


Star Trek has led directly or indirectly to the creation of a number of magazines which focus either on science fiction or specifically on Star Trek. Starlog was a magazine which was founded in the 1970s.[53]:13 Initially, its focus was on Star Trek actors, but then it began to expand its scope.[53]:80 Star Trek: The Magazine was a magazine published in the U.S. which ceased publication in 2003. Star Trek Magazine, originally published as Star Trek Monthly by Titan Magazines for the United Kingdom market, began in February 1995. The magazine has since expanded to worldwide distribution.

Other magazines through the years included professional, as well well as magazines published by fans, or fanzines.

Cultural impact[edit]

Testbed Space Shuttle Enterprise, named after the fictional starship with Star Trek television cast members and creator Gene Roddenberry.

The Star Trek media franchise is a multibillion-dollar industry, owned by CBS.[83] Gene Roddenberry sold Star Trek to NBC as a classic adventure drama; he pitched the show as "Wagon Train to the Stars" and as Horatio Hornblower in Space.[14] The opening line, "to boldly go where no man has gone before," was taken almost verbatim from a U.S. White House booklet on space produced after the Sputnik flight in 1957.[84] The central trio of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy was modeled on classical mythological storytelling.[14]

Star Trek and its spin-offs have proven highly popular in syndication and was broadcast worldwide.[85] The show's cultural impact goes far beyond its longevity and profitability. Star Trek conventions have become popular among its fans, who call themselves "trekkies or "trekkers".[86] An entire subculture has grown up around the show which was documented in the film Trekkies. Star Trek was ranked highest most popular cult show by TV Guide.[87] The franchise has also garnered many comparisons of the Star Wars franchise being rivals in the science fiction genre with many fans and scholars.[88][89][90]

The Star Trek franchise inspired some designers of technologies, the Palm PDA and the handheld mobile phone.[91][92] Michael Jones, Chief technologist of Google Earth, has cited the tricorder's mapping capability as one inspiration in the development of Keyhole/Google Earth.[93] The Tricorder X Prize, a contest to build a medical tricorder device was announced in 2012. Ten finalists were selected in 2014, and the winner was to be selected in January 2016. However, no team managed to reach the required criteria. Star Trek also brought teleportation to popular attention with its depiction of "matter-energy transport", with the famously misquoted phrase "Beam me up, Scotty" entering the vernacular.[94] The Star Trek replicator is credited in the scientific literature with inspiring the field of diatom nanotechnology.[95] In 1976, following a letter-writing campaign, NASA named its prototype space shuttle Enterprise, after the fictional starship.[96] Later, the introductory sequence to Star Trek: Enterprise included footage of this shuttle which, along with images of a naval sailing vessel called Enterprise, depicted the advancement of human transportation technology. Additionally, some contend that the Star Trek society resembles communism.[97][98]

Beyond Star Trek's fictional innovations, its contributions to television history included a multicultural and multiracial cast. While more common in subsequent years, in the 1960s it was controversial to feature an Enterprise crew that included a Japanese helmsman, a Russian navigator, a black female communications officer, and a human–Vulcan first officer. Captain Kirk's and Lt. Uhura's kiss, in the episode "Plato's Stepchildren", was also daring, and is often mis-cited as being American television's first scripted, interracial kiss, even though several other interracial kisses predated this one. Nichelle Nichols, who played the communications officer, said that the day after she told Roddenberry of her plan to leave the series, she was told a big fan wanted to meet her while attending a NAACP dinner party:

I thought it was a Trekkie, and so I said, 'Sure.' I looked across the room, and there was Dr. Martin Luther King walking towards me with this big grin on his face. He reached out to me and said, 'Yes, Ms. Nichols, I am your greatest fan.' He said that Star Trek was the only show that he, and his wife Coretta, would allow their three little children to stay up and watch. [She told King about her plans to leave the series.] I never got to tell him why, because he said, 'You can't. You're part of history.'

Computer engineer and entrepreneur Steve Wozniak credited watching Star Trek and attending Star Trek conventions in his youth as a source of inspiration for co-founding Apple Inc. in 1976. Apple later became the world's largest information technology company by revenue and the world's third-largest mobile phone manufacturer.[100]


Early parodies of Star Trek included a famous sketch on Saturday Night Live titled "The Last Voyage of the Starship Enterprise", with John Belushi as Kirk, Chevy Chase as Spock and Dan Aykroyd as McCoy.[101] In the 1980s, Saturday Night Live did a sketch with William Shatner reprising his Captain Kirk role in The Restaurant Enterprise, preceded by a sketch in which he played himself at a Trek convention angrily telling fans to "Get a Life", a phrase that has become part of Trek folklore.[102] In Living Color continued the tradition in a sketch where Captain Kirk is played by a fellow Canadian Jim Carrey.[103]

A feature-length film that indirectly parodies Star Trek is Galaxy Quest. This film is based on the premise that aliens monitoring the broadcast of an Earth-based television series called Galaxy Quest, modeled heavily on Star Trek, believe that what they are seeing is real.[104] Many Star Trek actors have been quoted saying that Galaxy Quest was a brilliant parody.[105][106]

Star Trek has been blended with Gilbert and Sullivan at least twice. The North Toronto Players presented a Star Trek adaptation of Gilbert & Sullivan titled H.M.S. Starship Pinafore: The Next Generation in 1991 and an adaptation by Jon Mullich of Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore that sets the operetta in the world of Star Trek has played in Los Angeles and was attended by series luminaries Nichelle Nichols,[citation needed] D.C. Fontana and David Gerrold.[107] A similar blend of Gilbert and Sullivan and Star Trek was presented as a benefit concert in San Francisco by the Lamplighters in 2009. The show was titled Star Drek: The Generation After That. It presented an original story with Gilbert and Sullivan melodies.[108]

Both The Simpsons and Futurama television series and others have had many individual episodes parodying Star Trek or with Trek allusions.[109] An entire series of films and novels from Finland titled Star Wreck, also parodies Star Trek.[110]

In August 2010, the members of the Internal Revenue Service created a Star Trek themed training video for a conference. Revealed to the public in 2013, the spoof along with parodies of other media franchises was cited as an example of the misuse of taxpayer funds in a congressional investigation.[111][112]

Star Trek has been parodied in several non-English movies, including the German Traumschiff Surprise – Periode 1 which features a gay version of The Original Series bridge crew and a Turkish film that spoofs that same series' episode "The Man Trap" in one of the series of films based on the character Turist Ömer.[citation needed]

The Orville is a comedy-drama science fiction television series created by Seth MacFarlane that premiered on September 10, 2017, on Fox . MacFarlane, a longtime fan of the franchise who previously guest starred on an episode of Enterprise, created the series with a similar look and feel as the Star Trek series.[113] MacFarlane has made references to Star Trek on his animated series Family Guy, where the Next Generation cast guest-starred in the episode "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven".

Fan productions[edit]

Until 2016, Paramount Pictures and CBS permitted fan-produced films and episode-like clips to be produced. Several veteran Star Trek actors and writers participated in many of these productions. Several producers turned to crowdfunding, such as Kickstarter, to help with production and other costs.[114]

Popular productions include: New Voyages (2004–2016) and Star Trek Continues (2013–2017). Additional productions include: Of Gods and Men (2008), originally released as a three-part web series, and Prelude to Axanar.[115] Audio dramatizations such as The Continuing Mission (2007–2016) have also been published by fans.

In 2016, CBS published guidelines which restricted the scope of fan productions, such as limiting the length of episodes or films to fifteen minutes, limiting production budgets to $50,000, and preventing actors and technicians from previous Star Trek productions from participating.[116] A number of highly publicized productions have since been cancelled or have gone abeyant.[117]

Fan fiction[edit]

The original Star Trek series is also notable for giving rise to slash fiction, a genre of fan-produced, in-universe fiction where normally platonic, same-sex characters are portrayed as being a romantic couple. The most notable being Kirk/Spock stories.[118]:799[119]

Over the intervening decades, especially with the advent of the Internet, fan fiction has become its own thriving fandom.[120][118]:798

Awards and honors[edit]

Of the various science fiction awards for drama, only the Hugo Award dates back as far as the original series.[h] In 1968, all five nominees for a Hugo Award were individual episodes of Star Trek, as were three of the five nominees in 1967.[i][24]:231 The only Star Trek series not to receive a Hugo Award nomination are The Animated Series and Voyager, though The Original Series and Next Generation never won in any nominated category. No Star Trek feature film has ever won a Hugo Award. In 2008, the fan-made Star Trek: New Voyages episode "World Enough and Time" was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Short Drama.

Star Trek (2009) won the Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, the franchise's first Academy Award. In 2016, the franchise was listed in the Guinness World Records as the most successful science fiction television franchise in the world.[121]

Episode rankings[edit]

TV Guide (1996)[edit]

In 1996, TV Guide published the following as the ten best Star Trek episodes for the franchise's 30th anniversary: [122]

  1. "The City on the Edge of Forever" (The Original Series)
  2. "Amok Time" (The Original Series)
  3. "Mirror, Mirror" (The Original Series)
  4. "The Doomsday Machine" (The Original Series)
  5. "Journey to Babel" (The Original Series)
  6. "11001001" (The Next Generation)
  7. "Yesterday's Enterprise" (The Next Generation)
  8. "The Best of Both Worlds" (Part I) (The Next Generation)
  9. "Tapestry" (The Next Generation)
  10. "The Visitor" (Deep Space Nine)

50th Anniversary Convention (2016)[edit]

At the 50th Anniversary Star Trek Las Vegas (STLV) convention, in 2016, the following were voted by fans as the best episodes: [123]

  1. "The City on the Edge of Forever" (The Original Series)
  2. "In the Pale Moonlight" (Deep Space Nine)
  3. "The Inner Light" (The Next Generation)
  4. "Amok Time" (The Original Series)
  5. "Yesterday's Enterprise" (The Next Generation)
  6. "The Visitor" (Deep Space Nine)
  7. "Chain of Command" (The Next Generation)
  8. "Balance of Terror" (The Original Series)
  9. "In a Mirror, Darkly" (Enterprise)
  10. "The Magnificent Ferengi" (Deep Space Nine)

Additionally, fans voted the following as the worst episodes: [124]

  1. "These Are the Voyages..." (Enterprise)
  2. "Code of Honor" (The Next Generation)
  3. "Threshold" (Voyager)
  4. "Turnabout Intruder" (The Original Series)
  5. "Shades of Gray" (The Next Generation)
  6. "Sub Rosa" (The Next Generation)
  7. "And the Children Shall Lead" (The Original Series)
  8. "Move Along Home" (Deep Space Nine)
  9. "The Alternative Factor" (The Original Series)
  10. "Precious Cargo" (Enterprise)

Corporate ownership[edit]

Star Trek was originally a joint-production of Norway Productions, owned by Roddenberry, and Desilu. The profit sharing agreement for the series split proceeds between Norway, Desilu—later Paramount Television, William Shatner, and NBC. However, Star Trek lost money during its initial broadcast, and NBC did not expect to recoup its losses by selling the series into syndication, nor did Paramount.

With NBC's approval, Paramount offered its share of the series to Roddenberry sometime in 1970. However, Roddenberry could not raise the $150,000 (equivalent to $967,738 in 2018) offered by the studio.[17] Paramount would go on to license the series for syndication market worldwide. NBC's remaining broadcast and distribution rights eventually returned to Paramount sometime before 1986, which coincided with the development of what would become The Next Generation.

Corporate genealogy[edit]

In 1967, Desilu was acquired by Gulf+Western. The studio was reorganized as the television production division of Paramount Pictures, which Gulf+Western had acquired in 1966. Gulf+Western sold its remaining industrial assets in 1989, renaming itself Paramount Communications.

Sometime in 1986, Sumner Redstone acquired a controlling stake in Viacom via his family's theater chain, National Amusements. Viacom was originally established in 1952 as a division of CBS responsible for syndicating the network's programming, called CBS Films. Paramount Communications merged with Viacom in 1994.[17] Viacom then merged with its former parent, CBS Corporation, in 1999. CBS became a subsidiary of Viacom, but maintained its independence.

In 2005, Redstone and his family reorganized Viacom, spinning off the conglomerate's assets as two independent groups: the new Viacom, and the new CBS Corporation. National Amusements retained approximately 80% ownership of both CBS and Viacom, either directly or via its subsidiaries.[125] Both CBS and Viacom became publicly listed companies in 2010.

CBS and Viacom[edit]

The exact terms of the rights exchange between CBS and Viacom following their divorce are not known. However, CBS holds all Star Trek copyrights, marks, production assets, and film negatives, to all television productions, and CBS also retains the rights to all likenesses, characters, names and settings, and stories. CBS also appears to maintain the right to license Star Trek, and its spin-offs, to merchandisers, and publishers, etc.[126]

According to several sources, CBS retained all Star Trek rights via its television production division, which had been carved out of the former Paramount Television. Viacom, which now housed Paramount Pictures, retained the feature film library, and exclusive rights to produce new feature films for a limited time.[citation needed] Viacom also retained home video distribution rights for all television series produced before 2005.[17][127] However, home video editions of the various television series released since 2006, as well as streaming video versions of episodes available worldwide, carry variants of the new CBS Television Studios livery, in addition to the original Paramount Television Studios livery. It is unclear if CBS retained some, if not all, synchronization or streaming media rights.

Current ownership[edit]

The fraught relationship between the leadership at CBS, Viacom, and National Amusements since the reorganization, has resulted in a number of delayed and or cancelled Star Trek productions.[128] Additionally, the development and production of Star Trek (2009) was met with resistance by executives at CBS, as was Into Darkness (2013) and Beyond (2016), which affected merchandising and promotions for the new films.[129]

The competitive nature of the entertainment industry led to negotiations between Viacom and CBS on a potential merger, with CBS as the acquiring party, which would realign the stakeholders of the franchise under one corporate umbrella.[130][131]

On August 13, 2019, CBS and Viacom reached an agreement to reunite as a single entity called ViacomCBS.[132] National Amusements approved the merger on October 28, 2019, which, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is expected to close in early-December of 2019.[133]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Members of the human species are occasionally called "Terrans" in Star Trek, although usage has been inconsistent.
  2. ^ Roddenberry did, however, co-author two scripts for the third season.
  3. ^ Star Wars has become the name of the franchise, while the first film, released in 1977, was officially re-titled Episode IV: A New Hope by Lucasfilm in 1981.
  4. ^ The episode count includes all completed episodes of Star Trek: Discovery through season 2. The count also includes episodes of The Animated Series, and the unaired pilot, "The Cage". Multi-part episodes not originally broadcast as one presentation are counted individually. Ten feature-length episodes are counted as two episodes each, as they were split for foreign broadcast and syndication.
  5. ^ Originally broadcast as Star Trek. The series was dubbed The Original Series by fans to distinguish it from its many spinoffs and films. Paramount and CBS have since used the title Star Trek: The Original Series in promotional materials and tie-in media.
  6. ^ Film titles of the North American and UK releases of the films no longer contained the number of the film following the sixth film (the sixth was Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country but the seventh was Star Trek Generations). However, European releases continued using numbers in the film titles until Nemesis.
  7. ^ New Star Trek films are considered to be, and referred to as, a "reboots". They are also a continuation of the franchise that establishes an alternate reality from the previous films. This was done to free the new films from the restrictions of continuity without completely discarding it. This new reality was informally referred to by several names, including the Abramsverse, JJ Trek, the "alternate timeline" and NuTrek, by fans. The series was named the Kelvin Timeline, as opposed to the Prime Timeline of the original series and films, by Michael and Denise Okuda for use in reference guides and encyclopedias. The timeline is named after the USS Kelvin, a starship involved in the event that creates the new reality in Star Trek (2009).
  8. ^ Although the Hugo Award is mainly given for print-media science fiction, its "best drama" award is usually given to film or television presentations. The Hugo does not give out awards for best actor, director, or other aspects of film production. Before 2002, films and television series competed for the same Hugo, before the split of the drama award into short drama and long drama.
  9. ^ Other nominees for the 1967 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation were Fahrenheit 451 and Fantastic Voyage.


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External links[edit]