Earlier in the week, fans learned that the USS Enterprise-E would not be returning in the third and final season of Star Trek: Picard. However, just a few days later it showed up in Star Trek: Prodigy… if you looked really closely.
In “Supernova, Part 1,” the first part of the season finale of Star Trek: Prodigy, the USS Protostar was greeted by an armada of Starfleet vessels, there to intercept the ship and its hidden weapon. The fleet was comprised entirely of four ship types: Sovereign class, Akira class, Defiant class, and Centaur type. This included the actual USS Sovereign, USS Akira, USS Defiant, and USS Centaur.
This fleet first attacked the Protostar and at a couple of points during the battle, a different specific Sovereign class ship could be spotted… the USS Enterprise-E.
The Enterprise could be identified by the NCC-1701-E registration, which can be seen at a few different points in the battle.
None of the ships in the battle were ever noted in dialogue and these are blink-and-you-will-miss-it moments, but the Enterprise’s registration was also spotted by editors at Memory Alpha. The NCC-1701-E registry is distinctive and certainly different than the multiple shots of the USS Sovereign, with its NCC-73811.
After the deployment of the Vau N’Akat “Living Construct” weapon, the Starfleet ships were infected and began to fire at each other. Many of the ships could be seen taking heavy damage, including what appears to the Enterprise.
The last canon appearance of the USS Enterprise-E was in the 2002 film Star Trek: Nemesis, set in the year 2379. The ship was seen being repaired in drydock at the end of the film, indicating it would continue service. The Prodigy season finale is set five years later in 2384, by which time Jean-Luc Picard has been promoted to admiral, so it isn’t known who would be in command of the USS Enterprise-E.
Sometime later in the 24th century, the Enterprise-E was replaced by the Enterprise-F, which will be first seen in the third season of Star Trek: Picard, based on the trailer released at New York Comic Con. Picard showrunner Terry Matalas has confirmed the Enterprise-F was commissioned before the first season of Picard (set in 2399).
The Enterprise-E was launched in 2372, so some fans have wondered about the fate of the ship, which could theoretically have still been in service at the start of Picard. On Twitter, Matalas suggested that “flagships take a beating.” And it is certainly taking a beating in Prodigy. It’s possible that the Prodigy season finale battle led to the launch of the Enterprise-F. We may learn more in the season finale episode, “Supernova, Part 2.”
It’s not the years, it’s the mileage. Even the F is getting up there. Flagships take a beating. https://t.co/ieXDYzIfM6
— Terry Matalas (@TerryMatalas) December 19, 2022
A big caveat to all of this is how the use of the Enterprise-E model for the final Prodigy battle may have just been something the animators and editors chose and was not meant to be part of the story. It could just be an easter egg or even something they didn’t think would be seen. The USS Sovereign itself can be seen participating in the early battle and warping in later to join the battle, indicating the animators were reusing the same models for simplicity’s sake.
It is also possible this was a mistake. It may be that there is just one Sovereign model used throughout the battle, with the saucer section displaying “USS Sovereign,” but the nacelles use the Enterprise’s “NCC-1701-E” registry. For now, we prefer to think of the surprise appearance of the iconic USS Enterprise as a holiday miracle. Merry Christmas from TrekMovie.com.
New episodes of Prodigy debut on Thursdays exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., and on Fridays in Latin America and select countries in Europe. The series is also carried on SkyShowtime in the rest of Europe with the second half of season one expected to arrive in 2023.
Keep up with news about the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.