Star Trek’s 10 Biggest Unanswered Questions

We go over huge unanswered questions from all across the Star Trek mythos.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

Over the course of half a century Star Trek has produced eleven TV series and thirteen films, so it’s understandable that not every single storyline has been resolved as neatly as we’d like. Anyone who’s been a Star Trek fan for any considerable length of time doubtless has at least a few questions about a few things that were never fully explained. Here are, in our judgment, the ten biggest unanswered questions in the franchise.

What happened to the holograhic Moriarty?

Yes, we know Daniel Davis returned to play a holographic version of Professor Moriarty in the third season of Star Trek: Picard, but this doesn’t answer our question. Both on screen and off, it’s been confirmed the Moriarty generated by Data (Brent Spiner) in “The Bounty” is not the same as the one who gave the Enterprise crew trouble in Star Trek: The Next Generation. That Moriarty’s final canonical appearance was in the Season 6 TNG episode “Ship In a Bottle” when he and the holographic Countess Bartholomew (Stephanie Beachem) believe they’ve escaped the holodeck.

In truth, Moriarty and the countess are both trapped unawares inside a cube that is running a continuous program to keep them entertained and believing they have escaped.

But we never find out what happened to that cube, and are left to assume that it remained aboard the Enterprise-D. If so it’s possible, if not likely, that it — and presumably with it Moriarty and the countess — were destroyed along with the Enterprise-D during the events of 1994’s Star Trek: Generations.

Who knows Starfleet tricked the Romulans?

star trek in the pale moonlight

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s “In the Pale Moonlight” turns 25 this year, which brings up the question of whether or not anyone outside Starfleet Intelligence and Garak (Andrew Robinson) ever found out about the deception that got the Romulans to wage war on the Dominion. Since that episode, we’ve seen as far as eight centuries after the events of DS9 (in the case of Star Trek: Discovery), and yet there’s never been any mention of what Starfleet did.

When you consider how adept Romulans are at espionage, it seems doubtful that they would never find out the truth, but we don’t know for sure.

What happened to Scotty in the 24th century?

star trek scotty

James Doohan’s Scotty doesn’t enjoy the same long Vulcan life as Leonard Nimoy’s Spock, but he nevertheless winds up in the 24th century thanks to an innovative transporter trick in the TNG Season 6 episode “Relics.” After helping the Enterprise-D escape a Dyson sphere, the crew gifts him with his own shuttle to go where he chooses. But the Star Trek universe is a big one, and we have questions about what he did after.

Non-canonical media has some answers, like IDW‘s current Star Trek comic book which finds Scotty aboard the USS Theseus along with figures from most of Trek’s series; like Star Trek: Voyager‘s Tom Paris, DS9‘s Ben Sisko, and TNG‘s Beverly Crusher.

What happened to Worf’s ambassadorship?

michael dorn

At the conclusion of DS9, Worf (Michael Dorn) is made the Federation ambassador to the Klingon Empire. By 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis, he’s once again serving aboard the Enterprise-E, which leads to the question of what happened to his cushy diplomatic gig?

It’s likely being an ambassador wouldn’t be Worf’s first choice, and we can imagine plenty of scenarios (most of them, violent) that would lead to him either leaving his ambassadorship or being dismissed. Regardless, a solid answer has yet to be provided.

Will Ben Sisko ever return?

star trek best finale

In the series finale of DS9, Ben Sisko ascends to the timeless home of the Prophets, basically becoming a god. He swears to his wife Kasidy (Penny Johnson Jerald) that he will return one day, but canonically speaking we have yet to see his return. With Star Trek seeming more than happy to revive old hits these days, the question becomes whether or not a DS9 revival will wind up on their to-do list.

Is Kirk’s death in the 24th century common knowledge?

star trek

In Generations we learn that while history recorded James T. Kirk (William Shatner) dying aboard the Enterprise-B, he was not dead but transported to the timeless Nexus. At the end of the film he does die while helping Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) defeat Soran (Malcolm McDowell). You would think the fact that Kirk sacrificed himself in the 24th century would become common knowledge to the people of the time, but a more recent Star Trek episode has us questioning that.

In the Picard episode “The Bounty,” we learn that Section 31 retrieved Kirk’s corpse from Veridian III and is keeping it in Daystrom Station. That the body would be retrieved makes sense, but the fact that it’s being kept in a Section 31 facility raises a lot of questions. If his death in the 24th century is generally known, why bother keeping his corpse in a secret facility?

What happened to the aliens of TNG’s “Conspiracy?”

Star Trek left us with one of its biggest question marks in what survives as arguably the most disturbing episode of TNG — Season 1’s “Conspiracy.” The Enterprise crew learns a species of insect-like parasites have body-snatched officers all over Starfleet, including from its highest ranks. They were teased as a new recurring villain at the end of the episode but, unlike the Borg, never made it back.

Will they return? Will we get to see another elderly admiral toss Riker (Jonathan Frakes) around a room like a rag doll? We can only hope.

How did Q die?

star trek picard q

While John de Lancie’s Q returns in a mid-credits scene for Season 3 of Picard, he dies at the end of Season 2. His comment to Jack Crusher (Ed Speleer) about thinking too “linear” hints that Q’s death is genuine in Season 2, but that time is of no constraint to someone like him. But Star Trek still left us with the question of exactly how Q died.

The franchise has shown that Q can die — though it’s only ever been accomplished by other Q. But Season 2 of Picard doesn’t even hazard a theory as to the entity’s death. It’s disappointing and honestly seems like the most unnecessary question on this list (unnecessary because it would not have been difficult for the Picard writers to provide an answer).

What happened to the Dominion?

star trek dominion

Season 3 of Star Trek: Picard brought with it the return of the Changelings, but strictly speaking not of the Dominion. As soon as the Changelings are revealed, we learn that they are a group of Founders who left the Great Link to wage their own private war on the Federation. So the fate of Star Trek’s Dominion remains a big question.

Does the Dominion still exist as it did? Do the Vorta and Jem’Hadar still serve them? How long will it be before they find their way back through the Bajoran wormhole?

What happened to Thomas Riker?

star trek riker

The last we see of Thomas Riker — Will Riker’s bizarrely conceived transporter double — he’s handed over to the Cardassians in the DS9 Season 3 episode “Defiant.” The most likely possibility is that Riker, along with the rest of the imprisoned Maquis members, was executed when the Dominion first occupied Cardassia. But something that happened recently in Star Trek has us questioning that.

Michelle Forbes’ Ro Laren was another Maquis member who, likely by many fans, was presumed executed by the Dominion, but she makes a surprise return in Picard‘s “Impostors.” We know she turned herself over to Starfleet before the Dominion’s occupation of Cardassia, which wouldn’t have been possible for Thomas Riker, but if one Maquis could survive another could survive as well.