Star Trek: Every Captain of the Enterprise

Star Trek: Every Captain of the Enterprise

Here is a breakdown of all USS Enterprise Captains across the various Star Trek movies, live-action series, comics, and books. Beginning with Star Trek: The Original Series, the U.S.S. Enterprise has been at the very heart of the enduring sci-fi franchise created by Gene Roddenberry in 1966. Altogether, the Enterprise has been the focal point of three TV shows and all 13 Star Trek movies starring the crews of TOS and Star Trek: The Next Generation. A fourth series centering on the Enterprise, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, launched on CBS All-Access in 2021. Of course, the two most famous Captains of the Enterprise are James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), who shared the big screen together in 1994’s Star Trek Generations.


In 2001, the prequel series Enterprise (later renamed Star Trek: Enterprise) introduced Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula), who commanded the original starship bearing the fabled name in the 22nd century, a hundred years before Kirk’s legendary voyages. In 2009, J.J. Abrams successfully rebooted the Star Trek movies and cast Chris Pine as a younger James T. Kirk, who led the Enterprise in a trilogy of films set in the alternate Kelvin timeline, separate from Star Trek’s Prime reality. But there have also been numerous other versions of the legendary starship seen throughout the franchise, bearing even more alphabetical designations than “bloody A, B, C, or D,” in the words of Kirk’s Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott (James Doohan). Notably, Abrams’ rebooted Enterprise adventures will continue in the upcoming Star Trek 4.

Related: Star Trek: Why The Original Enterprise Was Destroyed

Star Trek has introduced other successful spinoffs set on different starships like Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Discovery, as well as the space station-based Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. But, in the eyes of many fans, it isn’t truly Star Trek unless it’s about the Enterprise. The men and women who have commanded the Enterprise rank among the greatest heroes in Star Trek, because they know that when they sit in that chair, they can make a real difference. These are the accomplishments of all USS Enterprise Captains from every TV show, movie, and alternate reality.

The 22nd Century – U.S.S. Enterprise NX-01

A promotional shot for Star Trek: Enterprise featuring Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer

Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) –  Star Trek: Enterprise’s titular starship was the first United Earth starship that could travel at Warp 5. Captain Archer commanded it during its missions which created pivotal alliances that ultimately led to the founding of Star Trek’s United Federation of Planets, which Archer presided over in 2161 – marking him among the most important of all USS Enterprise Captains.

The 23rd Century – U.S.S. Enterprise NX-0002

ccStar Trek Enterprise Captain Charles Rasmussen 23rd century human admiral

Admiral/Captain Charles Rasmussen – A Federation Starfleet Admiral and instructor at Starfleet Academy, Charles Rasmussen captained the Constitution-class ship NX-0002, during which Rasmussen also sacrificed his life to save his crew. This occurs in an issue of the Star Trek: The Original Series comics called “Shakedown.” Notably, before Number One can sacrifice herself, it is Rasmussen who rams a shuttlecraft into a Klingon warship to save the day, ensuring that that the U.S.S. Enterprise continues on to its next mission. Spock, Decker, Sulu, and Chekov all served under Rasmussen before his demise.

The 23rd Century – U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701

Captain Pike and Kirk in Star Trek

Captain Robert April – Captain April appeared in the non-canon Star Trek: The Animated Series, where he was voiced by James Doohan. In the 23rd century, Robert April was the first Captain of the Constitution-class U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 deep space heavy cruiser. Christopher Pike was his First Officer during the starship’s first five-year mission.

Related: Star Trek Movie & TV Timeline: Original Series, Kelvin, & Discovery

Captain Christopher Pike (Jeffrey Hunter/Sean Kinney/Anson Mount) – Pike became Captain of the Enterprise in 2250 until 2265. Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy/Ethan Peck) served as his Science Officer while Number One (Majel Barrett/Rebecca Romijn) was his First Officer. Pike was later promoted to Fleet Admiral. Captain Pike’s voyages are cataloged in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

Vice Admiral/Captain Katrina Cornwell (Jayne Brook) – Starfleet Vice Admiral Katrina Cornwell temporarily assumed command of the U.S.S. Enterprise and then later transferred it back to Pike in 2258. This was part of the efforts to keep the Enterprise out of the war with the Klingons. At the Battle near Xahea, Cornwell ends up sacrificing her life in order to save the ship from an undetonated photon torpedo. Before that, in 2257, Cornwell also temporarily commanded the U.S.S. Discovery.

Captain/Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) – The most legendary Enterprise Captain of the 23rd century, Kirk’s five-year mission was seen in Star Trek: The Original Series. Spock held the dual role of the Enterprise’s First Officer and Science Officer. Kirk’s Enterprise engaged in numerous pivotal missions that resulted in Kirk’s promotion to Admiral at the end of his voyages. Outside of the main series and movies (and often even outside of the Star Trek universe), Captain James T. Kirk continues to be referenced in animated series such as Star Trek: Lower Decks and Star Trek: Prodigy.

Captain Zarlo – When Kirk gets assigned to take on a secret mission against the Klingons on the planet of Mobita, Captain Zarlo get assigned as his replacement on the Enterprise. In the Star Trek comic book series, Zarlo made his crew perform repeated nuke malfunction drills, setting new starship service drill records. After the crew gets a coded message about Kirk disappearing, Zarlo reveals to them Kirk’s real whereabouts, and when the crew threaten to mutiny if they don’t go to Mobita immediately, Zarlo and Spock are forced to try and help Kirk. They end up chasing away a Klingon warship, and when Zarlo and Kirk reunite in the comic book “One of Our Captains Is Missing,” Zarlo tells Kirk that he would trade six months of work leaves for a crew this loyal.

Related: Where Is Captain Kirk During Pike’s New Star Trek Series (And How He Could Appear)

Captain Willard Decker (Stephen Collins) – In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Captain Will Decker was in command of the retrofitted Starship Enterprise when Admiral Kirk demoted him to First Officer and took command on the mission to intercept V’Ger. Decker merged with V’Ger at the end of the film and was listed as “missing in action”.

Captain Spock (Leonard Nimoy) – Spock was promoted to Captain and commanded the Enterprise, which was primarily used as a training vessel. In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Admiral Kirk once again assumed command when Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalban) stole the Genesis Device, which resulted in Spock’s death.

Captain Lawrence H. Styles (James B. Sikking) – The arrogant and appropriately named Styles was actually the captain of the experimental Excelsior, which chased but failed to catch up to the Enterprise, ending up stolen and used in Kirk’s mission to resurrect Spock. In the Star Trek novel “Prime Directive,” Styles temporarily assumed command over the Enterprise during its refit after it was severely damaged. Styles has a similar attitude to Kirk, which is why they severely dislike each other (and mainly why their dynamic works).

The 23rd Century – U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-A

Star Trek VI Kirk

Captain James T. Kirk – After stealing the Enterprise to resurrect Spock, and subsequently saving Earth from a space probe seeking to communicate with humpback whales in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Admiral Kirk was demoted to Captain and given command of a new Enterprise, designated NCC-1701-A. Kirk led this Enterprise in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, after which the Enterprise-A was decommissioned.

Related: Star Trek Finished The One Mission Captain Kirk Never Did

The 23rd Century – U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-B

John Harriman Star Trek Captain

Captain John Harriman (Alan Ruck) – The Excelsior-class U.S.S. Enterprise-B was launched in 2293 under the command of Captain John Harriman. Their shakedown cruise is infamous for encountering the Nexus, which resulted in the presumed death of Captain Kirk, as seen in the prologue of Star Trek Generations.

The 24th Century – U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-C

Enterprise Captain Rachel Garrett

Captain Rachel Garrett (Tricia O’Neill) – The Ambassador-class Enterprise-C made only one appearance, in the TNG episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise”. The Enterprise-C was meant to be destroyed at Narendra III while defending a Klingon outpost from a Romulan attack, but it fell through a time vortex that altered the timeline. Captain Garrett died before the Enterprise-C could return to its proper era and set the timeline right.

The 24th Century – U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D

Star Trek TNG Picard Crew

Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) – Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Galaxy-class U.S.S. Enterprise-D was designated as the flagship of the United Federation of Planets. Under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the Enterprise-D’s numerous missions involved multiple first contacts with new species, diplomatic and military engagements, and scientific pursuits. The Enterprise-D was destroyed in Star Trek Generations, on Veridian III.

Acting Captain William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes) – In “The Best of Both Worlds” two-parter, Captain Picard was abducted by the Borg and turned into Locutus. Commander William Riker became the Enterprise-D’s Acting Captain and led the successful rescue of Picard and defeat of the Borg, after which Picard resumed his role as Captain of the Enterprise.

Related: Star Trek: Picard Reminds Fans The Enterprise Isn’t Starfleet’s Best Ship

Captain Edward Jellico (Ronny Cox) – Perhaps the most despised Captain of the Enterprise, Edward Jellico was assigned to take over the Federation flagship when Picard went on a secret mission and was captured and tortured by the Cardassians in the “Chain of Command” two-parter. After alienating the crew and clashing with Riker, Jellico returned the Enterprise-D back to Picard once he was rescued.

The 24th Century – U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-E


Captain Jean-Luc Picard – The Sovereign-class Enterprise-E was the most advanced starship in the Federation when it was assigned to Captain Picard prior to Star Trek: First Contact. Continuing as the Federation flagship, the Enterprise-E was the setting of three Star Trek: The Next Generation movies and the crew successfully faced the Borg, the Son’a, and the Remans led by Picard’s clone, Shinzon (Tom Hardy).

Captain Worf (Michael Dorn) – In the canonical novel Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hope, Jean-Luc gave up the Enterprise-E when he was promoted to Admiral and tasked with leading the Federation’s rescue fleet to save the Romulan people when their star went supernova. At Picard’s urging, his First Officer Worf became the new Captain of the Enterprise-E.

Alternate Reality Enterprise Captains

The 22nd Century Mirror Universe – I.S.S. Enterprise NX-01

Captain Forrest Star Trek Enterprise Mirror

Captain Maximilian Forrest (Vaughn Armstrong) – In the Mirror Universe, the NX-01 I.S.S. Enterprise was commanded by Captain Forrest. In the Star Trek: Enterprise “In a Mirror, Darkly” two-parter, Forrest engaged in a tug-of-war for control of the Enterprise to Archer until he was killed by Tholians. However, Archer took command of the DS9’s U.S.S. Defiant, a 23rd-century Constitution-class starship from the Prime Universe.

Related: Star Trek: How Worf Became Captain of the Enterprise (And Why Starfleet Didn’t Want Him)

The 23rd Century Mirror Universe – I.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701

Star Trek Kirk Spock Mirror

Captain Christopher Pike – The I.S.S. Enterprise’s original Captain was assassinated by James T. Kirk prior to the events of the TOS season 2 episode, “Mirror, Mirror”.

Captain James T. Kirk – After he killed Pike, Captain Kirk maintained his control over the Enterprise thanks to a device called the Tantalus Field, which allowed him to vaporize his enemies remotely. Kirk was briefly switched with his Prime Universe counterpart, who posed as the Mirror Kirk until they were switched back to their proper realities.

Captain Spock – When the Mirror Kirk returned to the I.S.S. Enterprise, Spock relieved him of command, took the Tantalus Field, and also Kirk’s mistress Marlena Moreau (Barbara Luna).

“All Good Things…” Timeline – U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D

Star Trek TNG Admiral Riker

Admiral William T. Riker – In the future reality seen in TNG’s series finale, “All Good Things…”, the refurbished Enterprise-D (which could reach Warp 13) was Riker’s personal flagship. TNG’s U.S.S. Titan was also captained by Riker.

Related: Star Trek Theory: Kirk Is The Reason Picard Stayed As Enterprise Captain

26th Century – U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-J

Captain Dax – In the Star Trek: Enterprise episode “Azati Prime”, Captain Archer was brought to a potential 26th-century timeline where the Universe-class U.S.S. Enterprise-J was under the command of Captain Dax, a Trill who hosts the Dax symbiote that once joined with Jadzia (Terry Farrell) and Ezri (Nicole de Boer) from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Kelvin Timeline – U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701

Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) – In the alternate Kevin timeline created by J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek 2009 reboot, Christopher Pike was Captain of the Enterprise, which was the Federation flagship, when Starfleet mobilized to save Vulcan from the time-traveling Romulan named Nero (Eric Bana).

Acting Captain Spock (Zachary Quinto) – After Pike was abducted by Nero, First Officer Spock became Acting Captain, which was challenged by cadet James T. Kirk, who later assumed command of the Enterprise as Acting Captain, leading to Nero’s defeat.

Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) – As thanks for saving the Earth from Nero, Kirk was promoted to Captain and given command of the Enterprise. Kirk remained Captain in Star Trek Into Darkness and then launched a five-year mission of exploration.

Kelvin Timeline – U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-A

McCoy, Kirk, and Spock in Star Trek Beyond

Captain James T. Kirk – Three years into their five-year mission, the Enterprise was destroyed by Krall (Idris Elba). After Kirk saved the Starbase U.S.S. Yorktown from Krall, he was given command of the newly-built Constitution-class U.S.S. Enterprise-A at the conclusion of Star Trek Beyond.

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John Orquiola
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John Orquiola is a Features staff writer and interviewer who has been with Screen Rant for five years. He began as a director’s assistant on various independent films. As a lover of film and film theory, John wrote humorous movie reviews on his blog, Back of the Head, which got him noticed by Screen Rant. John happily became the Star Trek guy at Screen Rant and he leads Feature coverage of the various Star Trek series, but he also writes about a wide range of subjects from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to Cobra Kai. His other great nerdy love is British TV series like The Crown, Downton Abbey, and Killing Eve. John can be found on Twitter @BackoftheHead if you want to see photos of the food he eats.

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