In the latest episode of Star Trek: Prodigy, "Crossroads," the young U.S.S. Protostar crew leave behind their starship, hidden beneath a frozen ice planet, as they seek another way to make contact with Starfleet. However, at the Denaxi Depot, as they're trying to secure transport, they unwittingly cross paths with Barnus Frex as well as Vice Admiral Janeway who is hunting them.
As they attempt to flee, the transport station security personnel — The Xindi — begins their hot pursuit in order to apprehend them. As the militant of the group, the Reptilian subspecies of the Xindi are the only ones seen at the depot.
With their returning presence, it's only fitting that we revisit their first appearance in the third season episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, "The Xindi," which first aired on September 10, 2003. Here are six facts about "The Xindi."
One of Three
"The Xindi" was the premiere episode of Enterprise's third season, which kicked off the Xindi arc. Allan Kroeker, a veteran Trek helmer, directed the installment, which was written by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga.
In the special features for the third season's home entertainment release, Braga stated, "I always wonder, 'What would Earth have been like if dinosaurs had evolved to become intelligent? And not only that but insects, birds...," pondering an environment that hosted "simultaneous evolution" of several intelligent lifeforms that cohabitated among each other.
Scott Bakula, who played Enterprise Captain Archer, reflected on the nature of the Xindi presence of the series to Star Trek Magazine, stating, "There's something wonderfully complex about the whole Xindi situation and the various species and their own in-fighting racial issues, that ... is relevant and makes for great storytelling."
The Xindi Council
The Xindi Council is an alliance of five species from the Delphic Expanse — the Primates (who look like your average humanoid), the Arboreals (sloth-like humans), the Aquatics (underwater mammals that resemble mosasaurus), the Reptilians (lizard-like humans), and the Insectoids (an amalgam of ant- and fly-like beings). The panel consists of two representatives from each of the five surviving, dispersed races, meeting at a secret chamber to plan the destruction of Earth before that would could destroy their own in 400 years, according to the Guardians' self-serving lies.
Although they all originate from the same planet and have the same goals, they differ in not-so-subtle ways when they have to decide on a plan of action. The Primates and Aboreals lean toward peace and diplomacy, the Reptilians and Insectoids believe in fighting for what they want, and the highly intelligent Aquatics tend to ponder issues for a long time.
The Avians were the sixth Xindi species, but their subspecies was eradicated when Xindus imploded following the Xindi Civil War.
Do those Reptilian Xindi uniforms seem familiar to you?
If so, that's because the Enterprise costume department tweaked some old Reman costumes from Star Trek Nemesis by introducing some metal coils to the shoulders.
Building the Xindi on the Fly
In most instances, the talent joining the Trek universe have working knowledge and backstories for the species or aliens they play. However, the Xindi came into play as they were developing the series. While they were first mentioned in "The Expanse," who they were would not take shape until the break between the second and third season of the series.
The talent playing the Xindi Council, including Scott MacDonald (Xindi-Reptilian, Dolim), Rick Worthy (the Xindi-Arboreal, Jannar), Randy Oglesby (the Xindi-Primate, Degra), and Tucker Smallwood (Xindi-Primate councilor), spent a lot of time with each other as their scenes were removed from the series cast. It was there where they collaborated amongst each other to find the Xindi's motivations as well as each subspecies' differences.
In an interview with StarTrek.com back in 2015, Smallwood shared, "Generally in the Star Trek franchise, there is a bible for every species. However, there was no bible for the Xindi. So, we wiled away our time on set creating our culture. We had some spirited discussions, in that we had six species in the Xindi, one of which is extinct, two of which are CGI, and it took a lot of imagination. But, as I said, we had a great group of guys, so it was an exciting, challenging experience. They original called us, Randy and I, the humanoid Xindi. I said, 'No, that’s a racial term. I’d never refer to myself by using another species to identify myself.' So I said, 'We are the Primate-Xindi.' So, as I say, our culture was evolving as we were filming."
Meet the MACOs
Enterprise fans made the acquaintance of several Military Assault Command Operations — MACOs — soldiers, and the recurring actors who portrayed them. Several of those actors had played or went on to play assorted characters in other Trek projects.
Daniel Dae Kim, who portrayed Corporal D. Chang, was Gotana-Retz in the Voyager hour, "Blink of an Eye," while Marco Sanchez was Corporal M. Romero in "The Xindi" and a torpedo security officer in Star Trek Into Darkness. Then there's Nathan Anderson, who made the leap from guest starring as Namon in the Voyager entry "Nemesis" to recurring as MACO Sergeant N. Kemper. And, lastly, Steven Culp had his scenes from Star Trek Nemesis cut, but he made the grade as Major Hayes in "The Xindi" and four other Enterprise episodes.
In the previous episode, the second season finale, "The Expanse," a deadly probe from an unknown species unleashed an assault upon Earth, carving a swath from Florida to Venezuela, and killing 7 million. Determined to learn anything about the mysterious perpetrators, Captain Archer received a tip to explore the Delphic Expanse to find those responsible for sending the probe to Earth. Not only that, the Xindi are believed to be building a far more powerful weapon that will destroy Earth in its entirety; such a device had the potential to contaminate the timeline.
The Xindi conflict was directly inspired by the attacks on 9/11; in the special features of the third season home entertainment release, David Livingston revealed, "The Xindi were destroying parts of Earth. So, it was reflective of what was going on at the time."
Last year, Scott Bakula joined Bob Saget's Here For You podcast to talk about his time on the series and how 9/11 impacted the story being told, as the series first premiered in September 2001. "From the beginning from until today, the Star Trek stories have relevance. We haven’t achieved the vision by any shape or form. Of course, our series was colored by 9/11 happening. We were shooting then and that eventually took over the direction of our show in terms of mirroring that event and casting it into the studio and painting it with the Star Trek brush. All of a sudden, we had the last two and a half seasons were all basically finding the people that had attacked Earth and chasing them down and where that led us in the universe."
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Star Trek: Prodigy currently streams exclusively on Paramount+ in U.S., Latin America, Australia, South Korea, Italy and the U.K. and is coming soon to Paramount+ in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France as well as to Nickelodeon international channels, which are available in 180 countries globally. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave. Star Trek: Prodigy is distributed by Paramount Global Content Distribution.