Published Sep 21, 2021
Enterprise’s Legacy, From There to Here
It's been a long road...
By Jay Stobie
As Star Trek’s first prequel series, Enterprise explored Starfleet’s early years and depicted events that took place over a century before Captain Kirk’s five-year mission. The series portrayed several first contacts with notable species and showcased technology that served as precursors to 23rd and 24th-century items, but it also introduced new characters, species, and story elements that had not been discussed previously in other Trek shows.
While Star Trek: Nemesis featured a display graphic listing a U.S.S. Archer and Enterprise’s finale “These Are the Voyages…” retroactively inserted a simulation of Captain Archer’s crew into the plot of The Next Generation’s “The Pegasus,” Enterprise did not truly have the opportunity to have its exploits incorporated into later time periods until production began on the Kelvin Timeline films, Discovery, Picard, and Lower Decks. Let’s look at some prominent examples of the way Enterprise’s legacy has been enshrined in Star Trek lore.
When James T. Kirk and Prime Spock first encountered Montgomery Scott in the Kelvin Universe, the talented engineer found himself working in a remote outpost on Delta Vega. In Scotty’s mind, the unfortunate assignment traced its origins back to the Scotsman’s failed transwarp beaming experiment which caused the disappearance of Admiral Archer’s prized beagle. On Enterprise, Archer’s love for canines was represented by Porthos, the beagle who accompanied the starship during its many missions and shared the captain’s quarters. While it is very unlikely that the missing dog was Porthos himself, Scotty’s dialogue surely referred to a member of the breed who stood by Archer’s side during the latter portion of the admiral’s life.
Star Trek Into Darkness
Still reeling from Admiral Pike’s death, Kirk and Spock visited Admiral Marcus to discuss the fact that Pike’s murderer, John Harrison, had utilized Scotty’s transwarp beaming tech to transport himself to Qo’noS. As the group analyzed the situation, a selection of aviation and starship models appeared on a desk in Marcus’s office, a group which included the familiar hull design of the Enterprise NX-01. Since the NX-01 sat beside a model of the U.S.S. Kelvin, it can be assumed that Archer’s vessel acted as one of the fleet’s direct predecessors to the ship George Kirk used to engage the Romulan mining behemoth Narada.
Star Trek Beyond
The third Kelvin film heavily featured Enterprise connections revolving around Captain Edison, the former Starfleet officer who took on the name Krall and became a devoted foe of the Federation. Edison’s file noted that the captain had previously been a MACO during the Xindi wars, alluding to the military unit that guarded the NX-01’s hallways, the Xindi species introduced in the series, and the conflict between Earth and the Xindi that occupied the show’s narrative in its third season. Considering Enterprise was the only starship dispatched to locate the Xindi, it is very likely that Edison even served under Archer aboard the NX-01. On top of all this, two shuttlepods reminiscent of those carried aboard Enterprise also appeared in a recording of Edison’s crew from the 2160s.
“Battle at the Binary Stars,” Star Trek: Discovery; “Calypso,” Star Trek: Short Treks
Although Earth’s relationship with the Andorians got off to a rough start, Archer eventually came to consider his antennaed counterpart Shran as a friend and an ally. As founding members of the Federation, Andorians wished to celebrate their planet’s early explorers as much as humans and other cultures did, so a vessel was named the U.S.S. Shran in honor of the Imperial Guardsman. Unfortunately, the Shran became a casualty during the Battle of the Binaries after succumbing to weapons fire from Klingon starships. However, the vessel continued to be honored in U.S.S. Discovery’s mess hall, where a glowing tribute hung upon one of the walls in multiple episodes, including the Short Trek, “Calypso.”
“Choose Your Pain,” Star Trek: Discovery
Considering we only recently learned of Archer’s deeds on Enterprise (as it was the last series to air), it had been impossible to adequately depict his rightful place among the pantheon of Starfleet’s heroes, at least until Discovery’s first season. With Captain Lorca imprisoned by the Klingons, Saru took temporary command of the Crossfield-class starship. Unsure of the capabilities that he held within himself, the Kelpien consulted Discovery’s computer about the traits exhibited by the best officers who had ever worn a Starfleet uniform. When the computer listed Starfleet’s most decorated captains, Archer’s name appeared emblazoned alongside The Original Series favorites Christopher Pike and Matthew Decker, as well as the U.S.S. Enterprise’s Robert April and the U.S.S. Shenzhou’s Philippa Georgiou.
“The War Without, The War Within,” Star Trek: Discovery
Moments before jumping to Qo’noS on a mission to identify military targets, Admiral Cornwell addressed Discovery’s crew and mentioned that they would be the first vessel to visit the Klingon homeworld since Captain Archer and the NX-01 nearly a century before. This bold speech provided Cornwell with the opportunity to underscore the unknown dangers that might be faced during this trip and introduce Emperor Georgiou as the acting captain. As a bonus, the monologue also offered a much-needed nod to Archer’s crew and placed their 22nd century travels in context for Discovery’s 23rd century officers.
“The Impossible Box,” Star Trek: Picard
Hoping to rescue Soji Asha from the Borg cube known as The Artifact, Raffi Musiker contacted her Starfleet compatriot Emmy to acquire diplomatic credentials that would allow Jean-Luc Picard to enter restricted Romulan space. Emmy hesitated to assist, claiming that the Romulans were in a 250-year bad mood. Although humanity’s 22nd Century war with the Romulans was first mentioned in The Original Series episode “Balance of Terror,” Starfleet’s initial contact with the Star Empire occurred in Enterprise’s “Minefield.” Given Picard’s setting of 2499 and assuming the 250-year figure was an approximation, Emmy obviously estimated Archer’s encounter with two Romulan vessels in 2252 to be the beginning of the sour relations between Earth and Romulus.
“That Hope Is You, Part 1” and “Die Trying,” Star Trek: Discovery
On Michael Burnham’s first day in the 32nd Century, Cleveland “Book” Booker helped the science officer acclimate to her new setting and filled in some historical details. Once he realized Burnham was a time traveler, Book explained that all time travel technology had been destroyed and outlawed after the temporal wars. Admiral Vance later added more specifics, such as the fact that the Federation spent most of the 30th century fighting a war to uphold the Temporal Accords. This information lined up with the Temporal Cold War that 31st-century temporal agent Daniels recruited Archer to participate in during Enterprise’s maiden voyage. According to Daniels, Archer ended that conflict when he foiled a scheme that took place in an altered version of Earth’s Second World War.
“Terra Firma, Part 2,” Star Trek: Discovery
Imprisoned by Emperor Georgiou in a scenario crafted by the Guardian of Forever, Mirror Michael Burnham argued that her mother had become so weak that the Terran Empire was vulnerable to a new alliance being formed by the Romulans, Andorians, Tellarites, and Klingons. Burnham anticipated that the Denobulans, Rigelians (not to be confused with The Motion Picture’s Rigellians), and Coridanites would eventually join this coalition. A popular species introduced in Enterprise, the Denobulans were well-represented on the series by NX-01’s chief physician, Doctor Phlox. Although references to Rigelians and Coridanites existed in The Original Series, both species made their official on-screen debuts in Enterprise. As an added bonus, Coridanites also showed up in “Far From Home,” the second episode in Discovery’s third season.
“No Small Parts,” Star Trek: Lower Decks
After being assigned to the U.S.S. Titan, Brad Boimler sat at his station, ready for action. Captain Riker entered the bridge and mentioned he had been spending time watching Archer and the first Enterprise on the holodeck, a past time that tied in with Riker’s previous use of the NX-01 holoprogram in the Enterprise series finale. Riker quipped that Archer’s crew had, “a long road getting from there to here.” The NX-01’s legendary journey, combined with the scientific advancements made since the 22nd Century, proved to be the in-universe reasons behind the comment, but the dialogue itself supplied a hilarious in-joke that referred to the lyrics of Enterprise’s theme song, “Where My Heart Will Take Me.”
Jay Stobie (he/him) is a freelance writer who has contributed articles to the Star Trek website and Star Trek Magazine, as well as to Star Wars Insider and the Star Wars website. Jay has appeared as a guest on Engage: The Official Star Trek Podcast, and his work has been featured on the Star Trek and Star Wars YouTube channels. Jay also serves as a remote assistant and consultant advising many actors and creatives who work on notable sci-fi productions. Jay can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @StobiesGalaxy.
Star Trek: Picard streams on Paramount+ in the United States, in Canada on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave, and on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories.
Star Trek: Discovery streams on Paramount+ in the United States, airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave in Canada, and on Netflix in 190 countries.
Star Trek: Short Treks streams exclusively in the United States on Paramount+ and in Canada on Bell Media's CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.
Star Trek: Lower Decks streams exclusively in the United States and Latin America on Paramount+, on Amazon Prime Video in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Japan, India and more, and in Canada, airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.