Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 3 has proven to be a fitting and emotionally satisfying conclusion to one of the best trilogies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Still, while the film does conclude many character arcs it surprisingly presented us with new directions for these characters and the larger MCU that are worth speculating about. WARNING: Spoilers will follow about the film.
The Legendary Star-Lord
One of the biggest surprises from Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 3 was the final post-credits scene. After a rather mundane scene with Peter Quill aka Star-Lord settling down to life on Earth with his grandfather, a title card pops up announcing that “The Legendary Star-Lord will return”. This was rather stunning. Throughout the film, there was a sense that Quill was approaching an emotional end to his time as the space-faring Star-Lord. He was first seen moping and drinking over the loss of his lover, Gamora (who was killed during Avengers: Infinity War), and his fellow Guardians pointed out that he still had family on Earth. During the film, he tries to rekindle his romance with an alternate version of Gamora (displaced from another timeline into the “regular” timeline), but she did not reciprocate the love because in her timeline she never knew him.
Throughout the film, Peter had to come to terms that his Gamora was gone and that it was pointless to continue his wooing her doppelganger. Frankly, it was refreshing that writer and director James Gunn did not try to put them back together since that development would have felt empty. Doing so also would have robbed the emotional impact of the original Gamora’s death. Peter’s acceptance that the current Gamora was not his lover reborn showed a level of growth and maturity for him. This was welcomed by fans because there have been complaints that while he is a goofy and endearing superhero, he came off as immature in some of his appearances. In reality, in this film he demonstrated that he was very crafty and mature during unexpected moments, such as when he and the team infiltrated that weird organic medical facility in space.
After nearly dying during the film’s final act, Peter decides to essentially retire as Star-Lord. He appoints Rocket Raccoon as leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and returns to Earth. But the implication that Star-Lord will return opens up lots of speculation about how this will come about. Chris Pratt, who plays Peter Quill, has stated he is willing to reprise the role at some point in the future. Most likely he will turn up in the upcoming Avengers films or he could wind up starring in a TV show or special that would be about his adventures on Earth. After all, the legendary Star-Lord cannot just spend the rest of his life eating cereal with his grandfather in Missouri. Maybe he will find a new love. Perhaps this person could be Kitty Pride, who was involved with him in the comic books—this could also be a way to bring in more mutants into the MCU. Or he could wind up being some kind of advisor or mercenary for the Earth-based forces that protect Earth from aliens. Or he could finally find a way to reunite with his Gamora in Soulworld, a realm where her spirit exists in, which was seen in Avengers: Infinity War. This would echo a development in the Marvel comics where at one point a deceased Gamora resided in this realm.
Fans are still swooning over season three of Star Trek: Picard and for good reason. Not only did it feature the long-awaited reunion of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG), but it was bursting at the screen’s seams with Easter eggs and references to most of the previous incarnations of Star Trek TV shows and films. More importantly, instead of wallowing in Member Berries, the third season actually set up a potential spinoff—Star Trek: Legacy. *Warning for those who have not seen season three of Star Trek: Picard, there will be spoilers from here on out.
During the third season of Star Trek: Picard, we were introduced to Jack Crusher, who turned out to be the son of Jean-Luc Picard. In many ways he was a lot like his father but with a rakish bent as he seemed more comfortable acting independently and living a pirate-like lifestyle. Perhaps this is how Picard was like in his younger days. In some ways, Jack had more of the swashbuckling demeanor of James T. Kirk (more on him soon). Yet he had an intellectual and empathic side that echoed his father. In a sense he came off as an authentic child, who has elements of both his parents with unique personality traits gained from experiences the parents never had. Jack quickly became a fan favorite and has enough personality and development to return in future Star Trek spinoffs. This was very clear at the end of the final episode of Star Trek: Picard when he joined Starfleet and was posted on the Enterprise-G as special counselor to the captain.
The third season also introduced several other characters, some of which were bridge officers of the Titan-A (later rechristened the Enterprise-G). The one standout was Sidney La Forge, the Titan-A’s helm officer and daughter of Geordi La Forge. She soon formed a friendship with Jack with hints of something more to develop. It was fun seeing the two scions interacting with each other, which foretold great adventures to come if the powers that be at Paramount Pictures greenlight a Star Trek: Legacy. Obviously the two characters would be some of the central characters of this show.
Two other characters that could headline the show would be Captain Seven of Nine a.ka. Annika Hansen, and her first officer Rafaella “Raffi” Musiker. Most fans know that Seven debuted on Star Trek: Voyager before becoming a regular on Star Trek: Picard. Raffi is the only remaining original character from Star Trek: Picard to remain a part of the show after the other original characters were written out after the second season of the show. Even though they are not the children of past Star Trek characters they in a sense would carry on the legacy of Star Trek: Picard. Perhaps other past Star Trek: Picard characters like Sohji Asha (Data’s daughter) could return and continue the theme of legacy.
Another character that could return is Captain Liam Shaw. Yes, he was killed off in the penultimate Star Trek: Picard episode “Vox”, but he quickly became a fan favorite. While he was very surly and dismissive towards our favorite TNG characters especially Picard and Will Riker, he was actually the voice of reason. He was more cautious when it came to his ship, the Titan-A, and the safety of his crew, which conflicted with the daring decisions made by Picard and Riker that threatened the Titan-A and crew. More often than not he was willing to call out Picard on his decisions and his arguments usually had merit. What made him more dimensional was the revelation that he was a survivor of the Battle of Wolf 359. He clearly was still suffering from that incident where the cybernetic race called the Borg decimated a Starfleet armada. This also explained his animosity towards Picard since Picard was assimilated by the Borg and helped them defeat Starfleet. In as sense this also explains his antagonistic relationship with Seven since she is a former Borg. Shaw was a great character and it was too bad he was killed off. However, Terry Matalas, the showrunner of the third season, has hinted that there is a way for Shaw to return in the Star Trek: Legacy show. Being that this is Star Trek, there are dozens of ways to do this: clones, time travel, cold storage, Seven’s Borg nanoprobes, even Q could easily bring Shaw back.
The third and final season of Star Trek: Picard just streamed its last episode, titled appropriately enough “The Last Generation”, and it was a brilliant finale to an exceptional season for the TV show. *Warning: Spoilers will follow.
Star Trek: Picard as a series has been a mixed bag of a Star Trek show. While it was great to see Patrick Stewart reprise his role as retired Admiral Jean-Luc Picard, some of the episodes in the first season were not as well executed as they should have been. Meanwhile, the second season started strong but soon fell apart and became a big disappointment. So, in the final season of Star Trek: Picard, the showrunners, led by Terry Matalas, pulled out all stops to make this a worthy swan song to the legacy of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG). This included reuniting the core cast of that beloved TV show and numerous Member Berries recalling not just Star Trek: The Next Generation, but the original Star Trek, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and even other media like Star Trek Online. And you know what? It worked!
The third season of Star Trek: Picard quickly engaged viewers with reunions and beguiling mysteries that threatened the United Federation of Planets and Starfleet. Picard received a plea for help from Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden), who he has not spoken to in decades. She and her young adult companion Jack (Ed Speleers) operate independent of the Federation and deliver medical aid to those that need it. They are also pursued by mercenaries led by the mysterious Vadic (Amanda Plummer). The problem is that Crusher is located just outside Federation space and Picard needs to find a way to get to her.
Picard enlists the help of his best friend and former first officer of the Enterprise-D, Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes), along with Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), who is the first officer of the Titan-A (a nice nod to Riker’s offscreen adventures as captain of the previous Titan). Together, they commandeer her ship to the edge of Federation space to rescue Crusher and Jack, who turns out to be Picard’s son. Their efforts unveil a vast conspiracy against Starfleet and the Federation itself involving Changelings (last seen in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) and their unknown partner.
Everyone involved with the third season was at the top of their game and it was clear they were determined to turn the season into a love letter for fans. It is incredible that they succeeded as the TV show was exciting, full of emotion and great character moments. Some aspects of Star Trek: Picard evoked previous StarTrek tropes and plot points, but they were executed in a respectful and invigorating fashion that felt fresh. The best example of this were with the early episodes where Picard and the crew of the Titan-A played a cat-and-mouse game with Vadic and her ship the Shrike in a nebula that was clearly inspired by Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Then there was the major subplot of Picard getting to know Jack, which was similar to Kirk’s relationship with his son David in that film. But it worked because these moments were not exact duplicates of the famous Trek film but added new wrinkles. Of course, what sold it was the execution with memorable acting and topnotch production values.
Sure, this title seems like your typical Aprl Fool’s Joke on Trekkers, but the possibility in official Star Trek canon was raised last week with the recent Star Trek: Picard episode, “The Bounty”. Spoiler warning for anyone who has not seen the episode.
During the episode Worf, Riker and Raffi raid the clandestine Daystrom Station. Unlike the noble, scientific think tanks named after Daystom shown and mentioned in other Star Treks, this orbital facility was the 25th century version of Area 51. The station stored many of Starfleet Intelligence’s top secret technology, weapons and alien contraband. The Daystrom Station was littered with many Star Trek Easter eggs and call backs, but the one that raised the most eyebrows among fans was the revelation that the station had the remains of Captain James T. Kirk.
The last time Kirk was seen onscreen, as played by William Shatner, was in the 1994 film Star Trek Generations. The late, great captain of the starship Enterprise met his end anticlimatically when he fell off a bridge while aiding Captain Jean-Luc Picard. To many fans this was an unsatisfying way to kill off the beloved Enterprise captain as they felt he warranted a more heroic death. Of course, this was not the last fans saw of James Kirk as he was portrayed by other actors, notably Chris Pine and Paul Wesley. But Shatner’s version of Kirk remains the definitive Kirk that is beloved by fans and many hoped that the actor would someday reprise the role. The closest we got to that was in Star Trek: Enterprise where there were plans for Shatner to reprise the Mirror Universe version of Kirk, and Shatner was slated to cameo in the Star Trek reboot film, but these plans never came to be.
Shatner himself expressed his dissatofaction with the way his character died on screen and went as far as to co-author a series of books with Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens where Kirk was resurrected. The first of these post-Star Trek Generations books was The Return and its plot revolved around Kirk being revived by Romulans using Borg technology to use him against the United Federation of Planets. Kirk with the aid of many Star Trek heroes overcame this plot and went on to live a full life in the 24th century. The books, called the Shatnerverse, are considered an alternate reality for obvious reasons, Still, they were popular with Kirk fans.
Getting back to Star Trek: Picard, which is official Star Trek canon, when Raffi passed by a containment unit in the Daystrom Station, a holographic display showed an image of a skeleton with the signage “James T. Kirk”. This image also had some biographical data and what was interesting was that the display revealed that Kirk was “critically injured” in the events of Star Trek: Generations. It does not say that he died in the film even though Picard was clearly seen standing over Kirk’s grave. So what gives?
Technology will be much more advanced in the far future, especially when it comes to medicine. For all we know a critical injury like falling off a bridge and being clinically dead as we know it today may not be the actual end of a person’s life. It can be possible to revive a person hours after death in the future and it’s possible this could be top-secret technology in the Federation that is reserved for very important people. Or perhaps Kirk remained dead but Starfleet Intelligence and its black-ops offshoot Section 31 may be trying to clone James T. Kirk for their own reasons. This is not far fetched since the Romulans cloned Picard in the film Star Trek Nemesis.
Most likely nothing will come of this, but this Easter egg is fertile ground for future screenwriters. It is also unlikely that Shatner, who is in his early nineties, will reprise his role one last time. However, this tantalizing Easter egg gives fans of the legendary James T. Kirk some hope that he can somehow return someday for one last, great adventure, at least in their imaginations. After all, legends never die.
We’ve celebrated Star Trek’s legendary starship captains, but for every Kirk, Picard or Sisko there are some truly horrendous captains that appeared in the Star Trek television shows and films. Here are the worst Star Trek captains in the history of Starfleet.
10. Captain Liam Shaw (Star Trek: Picard Season Three)
Command: U.S.S. Titan-A, NCC-80102-A
This guy is certainly the best of the worst. Shaw is abrasive, rude, risk-averse and an all-around jerk. But what cements Liam Shaw’s place on this list was how he dumped command of his ship, the Titan A, onto Will Riker, instead of acting like a real captain and getting the Titan out of danger. Still, many times during Star Trek: Picard, Shaw was the voice of reason and he was not afraid to say “Wait a minute, should we be doing this?” whenever our heroes ran off to danger. Also, he often was a scene stealer thanks to Todd Stashwick’s acting skills, especially once we learned he was a survivor of the Battle of Wolf 359.
9. Captain J.T. Esteban (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)
Command: U.S.S. Grissom, NCC-638
The list has many risk-averse commanding officers and J.T. Esteban is great example of this trait. During his brief appearance in the film, Esteban came off as an unyielding, by-the-book type who refused to listen to reason. What was even worse with Esteban was that he was too slow to react to sudden developments and this cost him his life, along with the crew of the Grissom when the Klingons destroyed his ship.
8. Captain John Harriman (Star Trek Generations)
Command: U.S.S. Enterprise-B, NCC-1701-B
“It won’t be installed until Tuesday!” was the infamous catchphrase from this hapless captain. Harriman had the unenviable task of following up the legendary James T. Kirk as he assumed command of the Enterprise B during the opening scenes of Star Trek Generations. Right away, Harriman was in over his head and was frozen with indecision as he tried to command the Enterprise literally under the shadow of Kirk.
7. Captain Lawrence Styles (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)
Command: U.S.S. Excelsior, NX-2000
Styles was a pompous, egotistical jerk who had the audacity to think his shiny new Excelsior was superior to the original Enterprise. Yes, the Excelsior was new with the latest tech, but that does not mean it becomes a legend. The minute he was introduced in the film and displayed a dismissive attitude towards the Enterprise and the original crew, fans instantly disliked him and for good reason. One of the best moments in the film was when he saw his beloved ship suffer an epic malfunction as it tried to pursue the Enterprise as it took off on its last voyage.
6. Captain Gabriel Lorca (Star Trek: Discovery Season One)
Command: U.S.S. Discovery, NCC-1031
The captain of the Discovery was popular when he was first introduced due to his no-nonsense and stern attitude that was a more realistic portrayal of a commanding officer. He even gave the disgraced Michael Burnham a chance to redeem herself by posting her on the ship. However, once it was revealed that Lorca was actually a manipulative wannabe despot from the Mirror Universe, he earned a permanent spot on this list. It’s too bad Lorca turned out to be such a dick, for a while, he was the best character on the show.
5. Captain Ben Maxwell (Star Trek: The Next Generation “The Wounded”)
Command: U.S.S. Phoenix, NCC-65420
The ends clearly do not justify the means with this starship captain. He has a tragic backstory where his family was killed by Cardassians during a war. In the episode “The Wounded”, Maxwell took it upon himself to launch preemptive attacks on Cardassians with his starship, the Phoenix, because he was convinced the Cardassians violated a treaty with the United Federation of Planets and were rearming themselves against the Federation. Even though in the end he was correct, his actions nearly sparked a war between the Federation and the Cardassians that the Federation was not in the condition to fight after Starfleet was decimated by the Borg earlier in the season.
4. Captain Ronald Tracey (Star Trek “The Omega Glory”)
Command: U.S.S. Exeter, NCC-1672
How this lunatic ever passed Starfleet Academy is anyone’s guess. First, he got his crew killed when he led a landing party on one of those parallel worlds and contracted a virus that killed everyone on his ship, the Exeter. Then, he openly violated the Prime Directive by taking sides in a local war on the planet. This he did to supposedly provide immortality to humanity. Finally, he tried to get the locals to kill Kirk, Spock and McCoy by exploiting their superstitious beliefs. Great job there, Tracey.
3. Captain Rudy Ransom (Star Trek: Voyager “Equinox, Part I and II”)
Command: U.S.S. Equinox, NCC-72381
Here is another fallen Starfleet captain who flagrantly violated the Prime Directive. Stranded in the distant Delta Quadrant, Ransom and his ship, the Equinox, had suffered numerous calamities. Desperate for fuel to get home faster, Ransom’s crew discovered that dimensional beings generated a power source for the Equinox, but the beings had to be murdered for the fuel. This led to a disastrous conflict with the Voyager and its crew. Special dishonor also has to go to Ransom’s first officer, Maxwell Burke, for taking command of the Equinox from Ransom after the captain began to see the error of his ways.
2. “Captain” Tim Watters (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine “Valiant”)
Command: U.S.S. Valiant, NCC-74210
This insufferable snot-nosed punk deserved to be killed for his arrogance. He gets the title of captain in quotes because he was just an elite cadet who wound up in command of the Valiant when the ship’s crew was killed. So, he doesn’t even deserve to be called a captain. Anyway, during his dictatorial command he refused to listen to reason, threw people who disagreed with him in the brig, and let his arrogance kill the remaining crew of the Valiant when he foolishly led a doomed attack on a Jem’Hadar battlecruiser. In the words of Nog, who was one of the few survivors, “in the end, he was a bad captain.”
1. Captain Edward Jellico (Star Trek: The Next Generation “Chain of Command, Part I and II”)
Command: U.S.S. Cairo, NCC-42136 and U.S.S. Enterprise-D, NCC-1701-D
Man, was this guy a raging A-hole! Super strict, authoritarian, obtuse, antagonistic, unwilling to listen to others, Jellico just rubbed people the wrong way. After taking command of the Enterprise D from Jean-Luc Picard, Jellico quickly alienated the ship’s command officers with his brusque, My-Way-Or-The-Highway style of command. Sure, his manner of running things was effective, and arguably realistic according to those with military experience, but he had everyone so wound up that morale plummeted badly on the ship. It was no wonder that we cheered when Riker finally told him off. Unfortunately, this jerkwad was eventually promoted to an admiral as seen in Star Trek: Prodigy, and he has not changed a bit.
Anyone has a different list of captains that should be mentioned? Feel free to leave a comment!