The Captains of Star Trek

Television shows have always created certain perceptions and influences on the minds of their viewers. Over the past many years, television shows have become much more famous than films being released in Hollywood. Much of this has happened due to the exceptional work done in the 20th century for American television that is still accounted for today. One of the best series in the American television which made it through the Guinness World Records was the Star Trek television series. Find out more about the different captains of the Star Trek series in the article below.

What is Star Trek?

Star Trek is one of the oldest television shows and the largest media franchise which is dedicated to science fiction in the whole world. It started off with the first series that was called Star Trek: The Original Series. Since then, a normal television series turned into a huge franchise due to the public success of Star Trek. Despite initial problems, the show turned out to be successful later.

It was created by Gene Roddenberry who was a war veteran. Today, the Star Trek Franchise comprises television shows, films, animated movies and shows, toys, games, books, music, theme parks, exhibitions, magazines, and comics as well. The fans of the famous show are called “Trekkies”. Being a global cult phenomenon, Star Trek has been an influence on global pop culture, especially the American one.

Story line of Star Trek

Although each of the Star Trek series or shows is having a relatively different story line, one thing is common among all which is that it is completely focused on outer space and science fiction. The story begins with a crew going to the place “where no man has boldly gone before”. The crew goes out to outer space in the future year 2250. The series explained a range of concepts related to exploring space, newer civilizations, and seeking out new life on outer space.

During this journey, the crew comes upon different types of problems such as an attack by a Romulan commander, Nero, who threatens the whole of mankind by threatening to destroy the Earth. The Star Trek  Series’ are focused on the element of outer space combined with adventure and problems.

The three main roles of Star Trek include Captain James Kirk which is played by William Shatner, Commander Spock which is played by Leonard Nimoy, and Bones McCoy which is played by DeForest Kelley. The crew travels on a Spacecraft constructed by the United Federation of Planets. The upcoming series and television shows had the same roles but by different casts.

The upcoming series of Star Trek also showed improvements in terms of better technology and evolving human beings. The lead influential role in Star Trek has always been of the Captain of the spaceship. There have been 5 major Captains of the Star Trek series each of which is distinctive than the other one.

Captain James T. Kirk

The first series of Star Trek was the Star Trek : The Original Series which was not successful despite being aired for three seasons and 79 episodes. The Captain of the ship in this series was James Kirk. Kirk holds a high place for Trekkies because he was one of the first one with whom the series began.

James Kirk was a captain which was having a testosterone-fueled and aggressive approach to work which was quite interesting for the audience that was involved. Commander Spock was always beside James Kirk and together the two of them turned up to become the best crew in the Star Trek series. Fans and critics have said that it is due to William Shatner playing the role of Captain Kirk in such a manner that it has been a grace for the series.

William Shatner in the role of Captain James T. Kirk

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

The all-time famous actor Patrick Steward has played the role of Jean Luc Picard who was the captain of the ship in the second series, Star Trek : The Next Generation which was aired between 1987 and 1994. As this series was much more successful compared to Star Trek : The Original Series, the role of captain became much of an influence on the audience watching it.

Since the first series was a bit of a failure, the personality of the captain was changed in this series. Picard was a much more sophisticated captain, a master diplomat, and was an expert tactician in all the matters of space as well. He is considered as a much more intelligent leader who is able to command the whole crew no matter it is leading towards their deaths.

Captain Benjamin Sisko

The third captain which came in the third series of the television show by the name of Star Trek : Deep Space Nine was one of the most popular captains of all time and was aired between 1993 and 1999. The role of Captain Benjamin Sisko was played by Avery Brooks.  Since the television show had now become a commercial success with rising global popularity, the role of a captain was also changed to be a more glorified dock manager than being a sophisticated captain.

This series was a bit distinctive one as the captain was shackled to the space station which is why he did not have much of a role as much as his contemporaries did. However, his role of contending the issues and facing off against the advances of dominion still stays important. Avery Brooks played the role of Benjamin Sisko with exceptional acting. Many admire how he used to shout during the series to add more to the intensity of the situation.

Avery Brooks as Benjamin Sisko

Captain Kathryn Janeway

The first ever female captain in the Star Trek series was Captain Kathryn Janeway whose role was played by Kate Mulgrew. Captain Kathryn Janeway was the Captain of “The Voyager” which was also the name of this Star Trek series. This was one of the most interesting roles as she had a tough time as being an active captain and wanting to navigate back to Earth without having interruptions at the Delta Quadrant.

Although, this series was not as spectacular as the other series and received a range of different negative reviews by the critics as well, the role played by Kate Mulgrew as Captain Janeway was the best examples of a captain leading in difficult situations. Captain Kathryn Janeway was the Captain for 7 seasons during 1995 and 2001 in over 170 episodes.

Captain Kathryn Janeway

Captain Jonathan Archer

Scott Bakula was the last Captain in the long-drawn series of Star Trek because he was in the final series called as Star Trek : The Enterprise. He played the role of Captain Jonathan Archer. Captain Archer was set in the role of being the first captain in the entire mission since this series was shot in the period of 100 years before The Original Series. This meant that the famous tagline of Star Trek “to boldly go where no man had gone before”  was a title for Captain Archer.

However, his role fluctuated many times from being an explorer, to a commanding officer, and then to a captain of the ship.However, his role was considered important because it was the role in one of the most interesting series, the prequel of The Original Series.

Scott Bakula as Captain Archer


The tweaks that were brought upon in the roles and personalities of the captains were quite influential and were one of the most important reasons as to why Star Trek series became popular each time a new series was introduced. If the role of the captain was fixed in one particular manner, it would have become boring for the audience that was watching the show.

The first captain of the show, William Shatner, is considered the pioneers which is why many regards him as being the best captain and playing the role of James Kirk in the ideal manner. If Shatner did not perform the role well, there would have been a chance that the audience may not have seen the other series right after they were disappointed from the first one. In the future, many more Star Trek series are expected which means many new captains will come up too.