Star Trek Is Not Returning To One Time Period And Possibly Never Again

Jonathan Frakes says he doesn't think Star Trek's narrative will ever return to the 32nd-century setting of Discovery's Seasons 3-5.

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

star trek 32nd century

Star Trek fans recently got the mixed news that Star Trek: Discovery was coming to an end. Discovery was a mixed bag from the very beginning, but many fans still gave it props for both relaunching the Star Trek franchise for modern audiences and boldly going into the 32nd century. Unfortunately, Riker actor and veteran Trek director Jonathan Frakes recently confided to CinemaBlend that he didn’t think Trek would ever be returning to that time period. 

News that no Star Trek show is likely to return to the 32nd century is particularly sad because, arguably, Discovery never made proper use of this time period. Originally, that show was a prequel to Star Trek: The Original Series, and it helped to introduce us to new versions of Pike and Spock that are now headlining the much-more popular show Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. But at the end of the second season, the Discovery and her crew were catapulted into the far future, letting us see what Starfleet, the Federation, and other familiar entities looked like many millennia into the future.

Unfortunately, Star Trek: Discovery taking everyone to the 32nd century isn’t the same as making the best possible use of that time period. Online, fans repeatedly expressed hopes that we’d get a better look at things like future starship design or what once-familiar races and empires were like in the far future. But the show just seemed to use the future setting as a palate cleanser and a way to hold off criticisms of how technology like the spore drive would break the Trek timeline, and taking the crew to a new century didn’t change the show’s nearly-religious adherence to building entire seasons out of mysteries that are simultaneously major threats to the galaxy and majorly, majorly boring.

star trek discovery season 5
Star Trek: Discovery

News that Star Trek won’t likely return to the 32nd century is likely to hit fans of the show Enterprise the hardest. That show introduced the idea of a Temporal Cold War that began in the 29th century and involved characters traveling backward in time in order to change the future. But unless the fifth and final season of Star Trek: Discovery brings the temporal agent Daniels back, we may never get to see or otherwise learn more about how Captain Archer’s actions in the past ended up creating a better future (which may be for the best, since Discovery really leaned into the NuTrek idea of showing the future as being truly bleak and miserable).

Ultimately, though, we would recommend Star Trek fans not lose any sleep over the news that the franchise isn’t likely to ever explore the 32nd century again. Once upon a time, things like the return of Captain Picard and his faithful crew would have seemed impossible, and yet Star Trek: Picard is enjoying its best season yet (admittedly a low bar to clear). In other words, Jonathan Frakes may be telling you it’s a no-win scenario to hope Trek returns to the far future, but we know fans of the franchise made famous by William Shatner’s Captain Kirk simply don’t believe in the no-win scenario.