Star Trek Just Rebooted A Mysterious Alien From The Next Generation

The character Murf from Star Trek: Prodigy was just revealed to be of a species that was mentioned, but never seen, on The Next Generation.

By Michileen Martin | Published

The first season of Star Trek: Prodigy just returned with a new episode, and in it we learn that the heroes’ gelatinous and seemingly indestructible companion Murf (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker), is a Mellanoid slime worm; a species that was last canonically mentioned 34 years ago, and was never seen before Prodigy. Specifically, as noted by Inverse, the only other mention of the species in the franchise is in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 1 episode “Coming of Age.”

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Murf in Star Trek: Prodigy – Season 1, Episode 7 “First Con-Tact”

In Star Trek: Prodigy‘s latest episode, “Asylum,” the crew of the USS Protostar arrives at the Starfleet’s closest relay station from their origin point in the Delta Quadrant, and the station’s only occupant Barniss Frex (voiced by Eric Bauza) welcomes them and scans each of them to confirm their species. That’s when we learn that Murf is a Mellanoid slime worm, along with getting to see Jankom Pog (voiced by Jason Mantzoukas) discover that he’s a Tellarite; one of the Federation’s founding races. Frex also apparently knows Dal’s (voiced by Brett Gray) mysterious species, but everything goes sideways before he can reveal it.

Before the new Star Trek: Prodigy episode, the only other mention of Mellanoid slime worms comes in the form of an insult. In TNG‘s “Coming of Age,” Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) endures some tests — both conventional and less so — in hopes of entering Starfleet Academy. In a confrontation that later proves to be staged, an officer named Rondon (Daniel Riordan) aims a number of insults at Crusher, including calling him a “Mellanoid slime worm.”

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Robert Ito, Wil Wheaton, John Putch, and Daniel Riordan in Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 1, Episode 19 “Coming of Age”

Wesley Crusher at first tries to apologizes to Rondon before noticing his webbed hands and recognizing him as a Zaldan–a people who traditionally despise courtesy. After meeting Rondon’s insults with his own, the larger alien relents and leaves Wesley in peace.

It seems like both the writers for Star Trek: Prodigy and Star Trek: Lower Decks had watched “Coming of Age” recently. The Zaldan had their own rare appearance recently. A Zaldan named Cor’Dee, voiced by Carl Tart, showed up in the Lower Decks Season 3 episode “Mining the Mind’s Mines.” At the very least, you can’t say the people behind Trek’s animated series don’t know their franchise history.

Actually, the animated shows have been on a roll lately when it comes to bringing long-dormant Trek aliens back. Lower Decks recently saw the returns of both the Breen and the minor Dominion race the Karemma, and the mid-season teaser for Star Trek: Prodigy reveals the Borg are on their way to the series. One of the advantages in dealing with animation rather than live-action is likely not having to deal with questions of makeup and prosthetics when it comes to aliens.

We have 9 more episodes of Star Trek: Prodigy to enjoy until the end of its inaugural season. With Season 3 of Lower Decks concluding last week, the current Prodigy season is bound to be the last new Trek we get until the third and final season of Star Trek: Picard streams in February.