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William T. Riker

Universe : Prime Timeline
Name : William T. Riker1
Species : Humans
Associated with : The Next Generation

Commander William Riker is a slightly unconventional character. He has a somewhat relaxed command style, and often indulges in humour with both senior and subordinate officers.2 He prefers to lead by example rather than simply sit back and order others forward; off duty he is happy to socialise with subordinates, and has acquired something of a reputation as a "party animal" among the crew of the Enterprise-D.3 Some have mistaken this style for a lack of professionalism,2 but when it comes to getting results Riker has been described by Captain Picard as one of the best officers in the fleet.4

Riker graduated 8th in his class at Starfleet Academy and was considered a high flyer.4 However, he turned down captaincy of the USS Drake in order to serve on the Enterprise.5 He rapidly began to establish himself as a force to be reckoned with; in 2364 one of his greatest personal tests came when he was offered near-unlimited personal power by Q. Riker initially refused to accept these abilities, but soon gave into the temptation. Despite this, he quickly saw the error of his ways and relinquished his powers.6

In 2365 Riker became the first Federation officer to serve on board a Klingon vessel when he became First Officer of the Pagh under an officer exchange programme. Riker served with distinction during his brief time on the Pagh, managing to simultaneously uphold his Starfleet loyalties and his oath to serve the Pagh even when hostilities threatened to erupt between the two.7

In 2365 Riker was again offered his own command, this time the USS Aries. He refused again, preferring to continue aboard the Enterprise.8 When offered the USS Melbourne in 2366, Riker once more refused to accept his own command. Some took this to be a sign that he was unwilling to take the responsibility of a captaincy, but Riker showed this to be demonstratably false when he was forced to take command of the Enterprise after Captain Picard was captured by the Borg. Riker personally devised the plan which succeeded in recovering the Captain from the Borg vessel, ultimately allowing them to be destroyed in Earth orbit. Once Picard was restored to health Riker refused to consider remaining a ships captain, instead returning to his post as First Officer of the Enterprise-D.9

In 2371 Riker was in temporary command of the Enterprise-D when it was attacked by a Klingon Bird of Prey. The warship had found a way to penetrate the shields of the Galaxy class ship; despite this colossal disadvantage Riker was able to defeat the Klingons, although the engineering hull of the Enterprise took fatal damage in doing so.10

After Captain Picard was assigned as Captain of the Enterprise-E, Riker accepted the post of First Officer. Perhaps one of his most notable achievements came when that ship went back in time to 2063 to prevent the Borg from stopping the first warp flight by Humans. Cut off from the Enterprise, Riker commanded the effort to repair and launch the Phoenix and was actually a member of the crew alongside Zefram Cochrane himself!11

Riker continued in the first officer position on the Enterprise-E until 2378, when he accepted command of the USS Titan. He married Commander Deanna Troi shortly before going to the Titan, where his first mission was to re-establish relations with the new Romulan government after the temporary rise to power of Shinzon.12 Riker's service number is SC 231-427.4

Colour key

Canon source Backstage source Novel source DITL speculation

Played by

SeriesSeasonActorFilm / Episode Title
TNG1,2,3,4,5,6,7Jonathan Frakes
ENT4Jonathan FrakesThese Are The Voyages...
Jonathan FrakesGenerations
Jonathan FrakesFirst Contact
Jonathan FrakesInsurrection


# Series Season Source Comment
1 TNG 1 Encounter at Farpoint
2 TNG 2 Peak Performance
3 Various Next Generation episodes
4 TNG 6 Chain of Command, Part 1
5 TNG 1 The Arsenal of Freedom
6 TNG 1 Hide and Q
7 TNG 2 A Matter of Honor
8 TNG 2 The Icarus Factor
9 TNG 4 The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2
10 Star Trek : Generations
11 Star Trek : First Contact
12 Star Trek : Nemesis
Series : TNG Season 1 (Disc 1)
Episode : Encounter at Farpoint
Series : TNG Season 2 (Disc 5)
Episode : Peak Performance
Series : TNG Season (Disc )
Episode : Various Next Generation episodes
Series : TNG Season 6 (Disc 3)
Episode : Chain of Command, Part 1
Series : TNG Season 1 (Disc 5)
Episode : The Arsenal of Freedom
Series : TNG Season 1 (Disc 3)
Episode : Hide and Q
Series : TNG Season 2 (Disc 2)
Episode : A Matter of Honor
Series : TNG Season 2 (Disc 3)
Episode : The Icarus Factor
Series : TNG Season 4 (Disc 1)
Episode : The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2
Film: Star Trek : Generations
Film: Star Trek : First Contact
Film: Star Trek : Nemesis

© Graham & Ian Kennedy Page views : 40,772 Last updated : 2 Apr 2014