Star Trek: Picard Needs To Fix Worf’s Biggest Plot Hole

Star Trek: Picard Season 3 needs to finally reveal what happened to Worf's ambassadorship.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

star trek worf

There is a stupid little nerdy detail that bugs me about the continuity of Star Trek’s Worf, and with Michael Dorn‘s return to the franchise in Star Trek: Picard‘s third and final season, I pray to Kahless it’s finally resolved so this particular itch can get the hell out of my brain. Namely, I need to do know what happened to Worf’s ambassadorship.

As fans who followed the Klingon’s career through its continuation in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine will remember, that series ends with Worf being named the United Federation of Planets’s Ambassador to the Klingon Empire. Yet when we see him again in 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis, Worf is once again part of the Enterprise’s senior crew with no mention of his ambassadorship.

If you were around when those shows and movies were coming out, then you no doubt remember that once Michael Dorn became a part of the cast of Deep Space Nine, the movie writers kept needing to make use of what I like to call “The Worf Shove.” With the Klingon canonically no longer aboard the Enterprise, they had to narratively shove just a little bit harder to justify his presence in the movies. Star Trek: Picard will thankfully not be burdened with the need of such a device.

Worf Michael Dorn Star Trek
Michael Dorn as Worf commanding the U.S.S. Defiant in Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

In 1996’s Star Trek: First Contact Worf winds up commanding DS9’s own pet starship, the Defiant, during the defense of Earth against the Borg (along with Adam Scott of Parks & Recreation and Severance fame). DS9 is weeks away from Earth so the notion that it would be there for its defense is kind of thin, but hey–whatever gets Worf more screen time. For 1998’s Star Trek: Insurrection they just straight up messed with us; they have Worf show up while Picard (Patrick Stewart) is welcoming a new group of aliens into the Federation, and the cameras cleverly cut away as the Klingon begins his explanation for being in the area.

When it came time for Nemesis, the writers — presumably because Deep Space Nine had concluded in 1999 — apparently didn’t feel the need for The Worf Shove. In spite of Nemesis being set only a few years after the end of Deep Space Nine, there’s no mention of Worf’s ambassadorship. With Star Trek: Picard featuring the return of Worf, the time is here to finally learn what happened.

And it isn’t like this is a particularly difficult ask either. Off the top of my head I could come up with any number of explanations that Star Trek: Picard showrunner Terry Matalas could use to explain this Worf mystery.

Right at the top of the list: Star Trek: Picard could reveal that Worf was, in fact, the Federation ambassador to the Klingon Empire during the events of Nemesis. When we first see the old Enterprise crew, it’s at the wedding reception of William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis). Picard could explain Worf was a guest at the wedding, the Enterprise was his transportation to and from the event, and with Worf being Worf he would naturally refuse to merely be a passenger aboard the ship but would insist on working for his passage.

Then Picard could point out that once the Enterprise was summoned to Romulus, it was too important to make a detour to drop Worf off, so he came along.

Now, that might be a little bit too involved to explain on Star Trek: Picard, so they might need a simpler story to explain Worf’s presence in Nemesis. The good news is that by his very nature Worf offers plenty of explanations. Actually, one of the more surprising things we know about the character in his upcoming return could be the answer.

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Jonathan Frakes and Michael Dorn in the trailer for Season 3 of Star Trek: Picard

In the most recent trailer for Season 3 of Star Trek: Picard, Worf says, “You should know that I now prefer pacifism to combat.” What could have inspired this radical change?

How about, just spitballing here, we could learn that while Worf was an ambassador, some Klingon called him a “petaQ” (which according to the Klingon Wiki, means something along the lines of “weirdo”) which resulted in Worf removing their head from their shoulders. This, in turn, could’ve resulted in his dismissal from his position, thereby opening up his schedule once again for Enterprise duty.

And perhaps it would be the consequences of Worf’s unorthodox ambassadorship that might inspire a more Gandhi-like existence.

Yes, this is an annoying nerd request of mine and yes, you can make all the references to that famous Shatner “Get a life” SNL sketch. But I won’t back down from one thing — it’s important for Worf’s character.

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The death of Gowron in “Tacking Into the Wind”, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine S7, E22

Worf’s ambassadorship is a direct result of one of the most shocking things — and in terms of the overall Trek mythos, arguably the most consequential thing — he’s ever done. In Deep Space Nine‘s “Tacking Into the Wind,” in the middle of a massive interstellar war in which the Federation is fighting alongside the Klingon Empire, Worf challenges the Klingon Chancellor Gowron (Robert O’Reilly) to combat and kills him. Killing Gowron gives Worf the right to claim the Chancellorship for himself, but instead he insists Martok (J.G. Hertzler) is the man for the job.

Martok hesitatingly accepts but he isn’t happy about it, and in the series finale when he asks Worf be made the Federation ambassador to the Klingon Empire it is in part payback for the responsibility that was thrust upon him (and partly, no doubt, to keep Martok’s best friend close to him). So the absence of any explanation of what happened to the ambassadorship is long overdue, and Star Trek: Picard has the perfect opportunity to sate the inane criticisms of Worf fans like myself.

Will this long complaint of mine make any difference? No, Star Trek: Picard‘s second and third seasons were filmed back-to-back and Worf has long since said whatever he did or didn’t say about his ambassadorship. But I swear to the Klingon’s dead gods that if they don’t fix this in Picard I’ll… I don’t know.

I guess write a second one? That’ll show ’em.

P.S. Oh yeah, maybe also make it so he found his brother and reversed that memory wipe? That was messed up.