Star Trek’s Enterprise Has A New Captain, Here Are The Most Likely Candidates
With the Enterprise-F on its way to Star Trek: Picard, we make our guesses on who might be sitting in the Captain's chair.
Only four more episodes of Star Trek: Picard are left and one of them will give us a look at the Enterprise-F. We know the names of all the iconic ship’s captains — from Archer’s NX-01 through the Enterprise-E — except for this one, and it would seem sacrilegious for the series to not reveal who her newest captain is. So I thought I’d give you my best guesses on who we might find in command on the bridge.
Of course, this is assuming that Star Trek: Picard will reveal the Enterprise-F captain to be a character we’ve already met rather than a brand new one. Considering the nostalgia in which the final season has already indulged, however, I think it’s a fairly safe bet we’re not going to get a stranger. Here are my guesses, starting from the least likely to the most.
Reginald Barclay (Dwight Schultz)
Star Trek: Picard‘s final season revealing that Dwight Schultz’s Reginald Barclay has made it all the way to the Captain’s chair of the Enterprise could be a wonderful fan-service moment. It would be a huge stretch to imagine Barclay as a captain of any ship, much less the Enterprise, but not completely out of the question. With a recurring role in Star Trek: The Next Generation that he reprised in both Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: First Contact, Schultz became a fan favorite and over time grew much more confident and capable.
I will say that while I hope we get a Barclay appearance before Star Trek: Picard concludes, I hope it isn’t as the Enterprise-F captain. It would be a wonderful fan-service moment, but that’s all it would be. Whether or not Barclay would ever be capable of captaining a starship, he’s never seemed like someone who would want to be in that chair.
Chief Engineer? That I could see. Not Captain.
Miles O’Brien (Colm Meaney)
The beloved Miles O’Brien (Colm Meaney) — who was tortured on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine far more than Picard ever was while being interviewed about lights — could very well find himself in the Captain’s chair of the Enterprise-F. If for no other reason, there’s always the reveal in Season 1 of Star Trek: Lower Decks that he’s one of the most important figures in the history of Starfleet. Last we heard in the Deep Space Nine series finale, O’Brien had accepted a teaching job at Starfleet Academy and was on his way back to Earth, but a lot can happen in a couple of decades.
While I think this is slightly more likely than the reveal of a Captain Barclay, I still wouldn’t bet too much money on a Captain O’Brien. Unlike the case of Barclay, O’Brien would undoubtedly be more than capable of commanding a starship. But the “union man” would no doubt despise the very idea of captaining a ship rather than keeping it running from engineering.
There’s also Meaney’s 2021 interview with Looper, when he said he would gladly appear in Picard but that he had yet to be approached about the possibility.
Shelby (Elizabeth Dennehy)
If Star Trek: Picard wants someone in the Captain’s chair of the Enterprise, why not someone who’s already sat there? Elizabeth Dennehy, daughter of the late Brian Dennehy, starred in the game-changing two-part TNG episode “The Best of Both Worlds” as Commander Shelby — an officer who starts off as something of an arrogant foil to Riker (Jonathan Frakes) but proves to be one of the heroes’ greatest assets in their battle against the Borg.
Shelby would be a great choice as the Enterprise-F’s captain, and there are two reasons I think there’s a decent chance she’s one of the most likely choices. First, it would be a wonderful callback to a promising character who fans remember. Second, she’s already made a brief return and, because of that return, the timing makes sense.
Shelby makes a brief, wordless appearance in “An Embarrassment of Dooplers” in Season 2 of Lower Decks, when Boimler (voice by Jack Quaid) refers to her as “Captain Shelby.” So we know that by 2380, Shelby had achieved her goal of becoming captain of her own starship. That ship couldn’t have been the Enterprise — at least not yet — because the official records of the Enterprise-F says the ship didn’t launch until 2386, but it’s tough to imagine Shelby wouldn’t go for the flagship chair if the opportunity arose.
Harry Kim (Garrett Wang)
Harry Kim (Garrett Wang) is, I believe, the most likely choice for Star Trek: Picard‘s reveal as Enterprise-F captain. Unlike either Barclay or Shelby, he was a regular in a Trek series (Voyager), and unlike O’Brien he would actually make sense in that position. I also think there’s a decent chance of this because of the justice the series has given to LeVar Burton‘s Geordi La Forge.
Harry Kim’s failure to secure a promotion on Voyager became something of a recurring joke to fans, just like La Forge’s lack of luck with women was a running gag on TNG — a gag Burton would later call racist. Star Trek: Picard fittingly reintroduced Geordi as a husband and father of two grown daughters (which clearly takes some luck with women), and making Kim the Enterprise-F captain would serve as a similar redemption for Wang’s hero.
Whether or not I’m right, we should know within a month. The last four episodes of Star Trek: Picard release on Thursdays of the next four weeks on Paramount+.