The USS Enterprise-B effectively killed Kirk in Star Trek Generations, but despite this, the Excelsior-class became the backbone of Starfleet.
- Captain Harriman’s decisions on the USS Enterprise-B had disastrous consequences, including the apparent death of Captain Kirk. Despite his mistakes, the ship itself was an impressive example of the Excelsior-class design.
- The Excelsior-class starship, including the USS Enterprise-B, was renowned for its sleek and powerful design. It was considered an upgrade from previous Constitution-class ships, with stronger shields and improved defense capabilities.
- While the fate of the USS Enterprise-B after Star Trek Generations is unclear, the Excelsior-class remained a backbone of Starfleet well into the 24th century and even saw action in major battles like Wolf 359 and the Dominion War. Its reputation remained untarnished despite the tragic events surrounding Captain Kirk’s apparent death.
Introduced in Star Trek Generations, the USS Enterprise-B is a great starship with a terrible reputation. The Excelsior-class vessel made history for all the wrong reasons when a mission to save El-Aurian refugees resulted in the apparent death of the legendary Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner). Commanded by Captain John Harriman (Alan Ruck), the Enterprise-B was the Federation’s flagship, cementing the legacy of the Excelsior-class design. All of this was despite the tragedy that befell Harriman’s ship on its fateful shakedown cruise in 2293.
With a crew of invited guests including journalists and Starfleet legends, the USS Enterprise-B answered joint distress calls from the SS Lakul and SS Robert Fox. As the shakedown cruise was for publicity and not for active service, the new Enterprise lacked many of the facilities that would have aided such a rescue mission. The Robert Fox was destroyed, and not all the survivors of the Lakul were rescued by the Enterprise-B. To add insult to injury, Captain Kirk was blown into the Nexus, apparently killed in action. Despite all this tragedy, Star Trek Generations‘ other Enterprise left an impressive legacy.
Star Trek Generations’ USS Enterprise-B Is An Awesome Ship (Despite Its Captain)
It can’t have been easy to be Captain John Harriman, thrown into an impossible situation while three living legends watched and judged his every move. While it’s true that his refusal to ask Kirk for help caused far more harm than good, it’s still possible to sympathize with the unfortunate Captain Harriman for wanting to do things his own way. However, he ensured his own legacy as the man who effectively killed Captain Kirk when the Starfleet legend made the fateful decision to adjust the deflector array. Despite Harriman’s mistakes, the Enterprise-B was an excellent example of the Excelsior-class starship.
The script for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock gives a good description of why the Excelsior-class is so impressive, stating that:
“Her lines are similar to Enterprise, but she is clearly bigger, sleeker, and very new. She sits at her mooring like the new Queen of Space.”
So awesome was the USS Enterprise-B that even Star Trek‘s Scotty (James Doohan) was moved to call it a “damn fine ship”. It was a substantial upgrade from the previous Constitution-class in a number of ways, particularly in terms of defense capabilities. For example, their shields were stronger than their Constitution-class predecessors, able to withstand a direct strike from a photon torpedo.
What Happened To The USS Enterprise-B After Star Trek Generations
It’s unclear exactly what happened to the USS Enterprise-B after Star Trek Generations, beyond being replaced by the Ambassador-class USS Enterprise-C at some point prior to the year 2344. However, the fact that an Excelsior-class starship was the Federation flagship meant that the design became the backbone of Starfleet long into the 24th century. During the Star Trek: The Next Generation era, various Excelsior-class ships were engaged at the Battle of Wolf 359 and in various skirmishes during Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s Dominion War.
By the early 25th Century, Starfleet had rolled out an Excelsior II-class, as seen in Star Trek: Picard seasons 2 and 3. The Excelsior-class was so iconic that information about its design was retained in the files of 31st century temporal agent Daniels (Matt Winston) in Star Trek: Enterprise. It’s clear that the actions of Captain Harriman and the death of Kirk in Star Trek Generations did little to tarnish the reputation of the name Enterprise, nor the reputation of the Excelsior-class.