I Think Picard Should Have Given Riker Kirk’s Star Trek Generations Advice


Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) gave Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) important advice in Star Trek Generations, and I think Jean-Luc should have passed Kirk’s advice on to Captain William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes) in Star Trek: Nemesis. Kirk met Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation’s first feature film. That historic Star Trek event saw the two Captains of the USS Enterprise team up to stop a madman named Dr. Tolian Soran (Malcolm McDowell) from destroying the Veridian star system. Tragically, Kirk died stopping Soran, but not before he imparted words of wisdom to the Captain of the Enterprise.

Following the USS Enterprise’s historic five-year mission in Star Trek: The Original Series, Captain Kirk was promoted to Rear Admiral in 2270. Kirk was named Chief of Starfleet Operations, but he was ill-suited to sitting behind a desk. Kirk yearned to be back in command of his beloved Starship Enterprise, and he used his pull to do just that in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Admiral Kirk was demoted back to Captain, but it was really what Jim wanted all along. Captain Kirk commanded the USS Enterprise-A for seven more years before it was truly time for him to give up the center seat. Time travel via the interdimensional Nexus allowed Kirk to join Picard for one last heroic mission in Star Trek Generations, where Jim gave Jean-Luc his personal career advice.

Captain Kirk’s Advice Should Have Been Passed By Picard To Riker

Riker became Captain in Star Trek: Nemesis

In Star Trek Generations, Captain Kirk urged Captain Picard, “Don’t let them promote you. Don’t let them transfer you. Don’t let them do *anything* that takes you off the bridge of that ship, because while you’re there… you can make a difference.” I believe Captain Picard should have told Commander Will Riker the same when he became Captain of the USS Titan in Star Trek: Nemesis. Although Riker didn’t get to succeed Picard as Captain of the Enterprise, I think it would have been fitting and resonant if Jean-Luc evoked Kirk’s memory by advising Will not to give up being Captain easily if Starfleet comes calling with a promotion to flag officer.

Kirk’s career advice to Picard should have become a kind of heirloom that gets passed down.

Giving up the Captaincy of the Starship Enterprise was Kirk’s biggest career regret, and Jim would have preferred to spend his life seeking out new worlds and new civilizations. Picard was very much like Kirk in terms of his devotion to his Starship Enterprise. Picard was Captain of the USS Enterprise-D and E for a total of 17 continuous years, with Riker serving as his First Officer for 15 of those years. Clearly, Picard did take Kirk’s advice to heart, perhaps to Riker’s regret, considering how long he waited to take over for Picard as Captain of the Enterprise. But Kirk’s career advice to Picard should have become a kind of heirloom that gets passed down, with Kirk to Picard to Riker as a natural progression.

Picard Ignored Kirk’s Advice And Became An Admiral Anyway (But Riker Is Still Waiting)

Jean-Luc Picard had his own problems as a Starfleet Admiral

Jean-Luc Picard could not remain Captain of the Enterprise forever. Picard finally accepted a promotion to Admiral in 2381 when Starfleet assigned him to lead the United Federation of Planets’ evacuation of the Romulan people as their sun went supernova. Four years later, Picard resigned in protest when the Federation prematurely ended their rescue mission after rogue synths attacked Mars and dealt Starfleet a crippling blow. A bitter Picard would spend the next 14 years in self-imposed retirement before returning to action and prominence in 2399, as seen in Star Trek: Picard’s 3 seasons. Unlike Kirk, however, Picard did not yearn to be Captain of the Enterprise again.

Despite his successful stint in command of the USS Titan, Captain Will Riker is still waiting for his promotion to Admiral. Surprisingly, the extra pips did not arrive despite Riker’s heroics in Star Trek: Picard season 3. However, both Picard and Riker were able to adjust to life away from being Captain of a starship more successfully than James T. Kirk did. In his ideal world, Kirk would have been Captain of the Enterprise until his dying breath, and his advice to Picard reflected that wish. I feel Picard passing Kirk’s words on to Riker would have formed a fitting chain, and perhaps Riker could have then shared Kirk’s words with Captain Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), thematically tying Kirk’s ideals through Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Star Trek: Picard.