We go through our top choices for Star Trek characters who need to be promoted to captain.
On a starship, like in so many other situations, someone’s got to give the orders and there are a lot more people who have to take them. That means with as many heroic Star Trek captains we’ve met over the years, there are many more heroes in the franchise who have never had the chance to command their own ships on a longterm basis. Here are some of those lower ranking champions who we think deserve their own command.
Geordi La Forge
In Star Trek: Picard we find out Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) has risen higher than any captains, having reached the rank of commodore. As far as we know, he actually did have a longterm captain spot at some point between 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis and Picard, but if so we never got to see it.
Regardless, it’s clear while Geordi will always be an engineer first, his time aboard the Enterprise helped forge him into someone able to take command. The fact that he’s able to take command of the Enterprise-D in the Picard series finale is proof enough of that.
We haven’t gotten to know Una Chin-Riley (Rebecca Romijn) as well as a lot of other potential Star Trek captains, but what we have seen on Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds shows her to be more than capable of taking over for Captain Pike (Anson Mount) when the need arises. She’s proven more than willing to whatever it takes to save her crew, including revealing her Illyrian background in spite of the consequences.
In Star Trek: The Original Series Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nicholds) didn’t display a lot of captain material, but mainly because in that show women mostly just did either a lot of swooning, a lot of screaming, or both. But the films that followed and the character’s return in Strange New Worlds (played by Celia Rose Gooding) added a lot more dimension to the character.
Sinece the first series we’ve learned Uhura is a language prodigy with as firm a backbone of any of her male colleagues.
It’s instructive to remember that while we don’t get to see much of her on screen in 1984’s Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, that’s because she arguably had the most difficult task of anyone in the Enterprise crew. She had to help her old friends steal the Enterprise, she had to get herself to Vulcan, she had to do it all while being hunted by Starfleet and — unlike all the heroes who went to Genesis — she had to do it alone. If that doesn’t show what one of Star Trek captains would need to do their job, what does?
The fact that Ensign Harry Kim (Garrett Wang) never managed to earn a promotion during his time on Star Trek: Voyager became an in-joke in the fandom, but in real life it was a source of frustration for Wang, who felt pushed into the background. The truth is, as green as he is when he begins, Kim is more than ready to take the big chair by the time Voyager is over.
Tilly (Mary Wiseman) actually has spent some time in the captain’s chair and not just in one universe, but two. In the Mirror Universe she masqueraded as her evil counterpart, who had taken command of the I.S.S. Discovery by killing her former captain. While she started off as a cadet on Star Trek: Discovery, her destiny as one of Star Trek’s captains seems to be just a matter of time.
You’d be forgiven if you questioned whether or not Data (Brent Spiner) was really captain material, but not if you’ve seen the Season 5 Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Redemption II.” He’s temporarily assigned as captain of the U.S.S. Sutherland in the episode and, in spite of a combative first officer with no trust in the android, manages to save the day.
We don’t know if the future in which we saw Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) as a captain still exists as an alternate timeline, but in the TNG series finale “All Good Things…” she became one of Star Trek captains — specifically, the captain of the U.S.S. Pasteur, a medical ship. Now we just need her to get the position in the Prime universe.