Roddenberry Mаde Sure Stаr Trek TNG’s Biɡɡest Conspirасy Wаs Dropped

Star Trek: The Next Generation season 1 introduced a vast conspiracy within Starfleet, but Gene Roddenberry quickly shut this plot down.



  • TNG season 1 introduced a Starfleet conspiracy that was quickly shut down by Gene Roddenberry, who didn’t want to portray Starfleet officers negatively.
  • The conspiracy plot resurfaced in “Conspiracy” where parasites controlled important Starfleet officers, aligning with Roddenberry’s vision of no conflict among the crew.
  • Star Trek: Picard season 3 featured a different conspiracy within Starfleet involving Changelings impersonating officers, highlighting Starfleet’s questionable behavior and the revenge-seeking nature of the Changelings.

Star Trek: The Next Generation season 1 introduced a vast Starfleet conspiracy, but Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry quickly shut down the idea. TNG had a notoriously rocky first season, both in terms of story quality and with writers and producers behind the scenes. Although most TNG episodes were stand-alone stories, TNG season 1, episode 19, “Coming of Age,” not only referenced previous episodes, but also introduced two separate plot threads that would be followed up on in later episodes. The main story of “Coming of Age” follows Ensign Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) as he takes the Starfleet entrance exam for the first time, and this would be followed up on in TNG season 2, episode 17, “Samaritan Snare.”

The second plot thread in Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s “Coming of Age” focuses on Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and the USS Enterprise-D as Starfleet Admiral Gregor Quinn (Ward Costello) and Lt. Commander Dexter Remmick (Robert Schenkkan) investigate the ship and her crew. After a thorough investigation of Captain Picard, Admiral Quinn reveals to Jean-Luc that he believes there to be a dangerous conspiracy within Starfleet. This story would be revisited a few episodes later, in “Conspiracy,” when it’s revealed that parasites had taken over the minds of several important Starfleet officers.

Why Roddenberry Dropped TNG’s Starfleet Conspiracy After 2 Episodes

According to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, the conspiracy introduced in “Coming of Age” was meant to be a faction of officers within Starfleet who rebelled against the Prime Directive. Gene Roddenberry rejected this idea, not wanting to paint Starfleet and its officers in a negative light. Despite the fact that his health had begun to decline, Roddenberry remained involved in TNG‘s writing process throughout much of season 1. Maurice Hurley had taken over as TNG‘s showrunner before “Coming of Age,” and Roddenberry took a step back from production. Still, Gene continued to contribute to the stories and strongly opposed a Starfleet conspiracy.

Because of Roddenberry’s opposition to the idea of Starfleet officers betraying their own, “Conspiracy” revealed that certain Starfleet officers were being controlled by intelligent parasites. These parasites had attached to the brains of several officers, including Admiral Quinn and Lt. Commander Remmick. Roddenberry famously wanted there to be no conflict among the Enterprise crew and his opposition to a human conspiracy likely stemmed from this very idea. In his mind, the people of the future would have moved past the need for conflict, and they would all truly believe in Starfleet’s ideals.

Somewhat ironically, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country would later feature a human conspiracy within Starfleet that sought to sabotage peace talks with the Klingons.

Star Trek: Picard Season 3 Did A Different Starfleet Conspiracy Story

Picard season 3 vadic jean luc

Although the parasites from Star Trek: The Next Generation season 1 were never mentioned again, Star Trek: Picard season 3 did revisit the idea of a conspiracy within Starfleet. This time, the Changelings, working for the Borg Queen (Alice Krige) were responsible for infiltrating Starfleet and impersonating high-ranking officers. Since their time on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Changelings had adapted and were now indistinguishable from humans both to the naked eye and to Starfleet technology. Admiral Picard and the reunited TNG crew eventually did stop the Changeling/Borg plot, but not before the Borg attacked Earth and hundreds of Federation ships at the Frontier Day celebration.

Commander Ro Laren (Michelle Forbes) reached out to Admiral Picard in an attempt to warn him about this conspiracy, and she was apparently killed for her trouble.

While the conspiracy plot of Star Trek: Picard season 3 did involve alien interference rather than rogue Starfleet officers, it was still partly a result of Starfleet’s questionable behavior. For one thing, it was Starfleet’s own hubris that led them to believe it was a good idea to gather all of their most important ships in one place and integrate them together. Plus, the Changelings had been horribly mistreated by Section 31 during the Dominion War, which led them to seek revenge. Starfleet may not be as perfect as Gene Roddenberry envisioned it in Star Trek: The Next Generation season 1, but it remains an organization full of people who embody Roddenberry’s ideals, and it will take more than a few Changelings, parasites, or even corrupt officers to change that.

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