Star Trek Traitor Ro Laren Has a Dark New Role in the Franchise’s God War

Ro Laren, a traitor to Starfleet, has a dark new role in Star Trek’s upcoming god war. A powerful force is slaughtering the godlike beings of the Star Trek universe, and while Starfleet and Captain Sisko deal with the problem in IDW’s forthcoming Star Trek comic, Worf will lead a rag-tag team of renegades and outcasts, including Spock, Lore, and Ro Laren in Star Trek: Defiant.

Ensign Ro Laren first appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation’s fifth season, played by Michelle Forbes. Ensign Ro was unlike any other officer aboard the Enterprise. Hailing from the planet Bajor, Ro had lived under the planet’s brutal occupation by the Cardassians, which gave her a much different outlook on life than her Starfleet colleagues. Ro would go on to become a recurring character, appearing in multiple episodes throughout the remainder of the show’s run. In the seventh season episode “Preemptive Strike,” Ro defected from Starfleet, joining the terrorist organization the Maquis. It was a shocking betrayal, and Ro Laren has not been seen on screen since. The Maquis were purged in Deep Space Nine’s fifth season, which raised questions over whether Ro was killed as well. Now, Star Trek: Defiant brings Ro back, pairing her with the most motley crew in Starfleet history.

Star Trek: Defiant, written by Christopher Cantwell and drawn by Angel Unzueta, spins out of IDW’s flagship Star Trek comic. Something is killing the godlike beings of the universe, and while Sisko and his crew try to discover who is behind it, Worf leads a crew that will handle the crisis on a more personal level, protecting the people on the ground. IDW’s initial press releases did not specifically mention Ro Laren was part of the crew, but she is featured prominently in advance art, posing questions about her current status in the Star Trek universe and what role she will play in the forthcoming god war.

Ensign Ro Laren injected some much-needed drama and conflict into Star Trek: The Next Generation. Living under the Cardassian occupation of Bajor gave her a harder-edged outlook, one that brought her into conflict with the Enterprise crew occasionally. As the show, and Ro, progressed, she learned to get along with her crew mates, and grew into being a Starfleet officer. Then, she betrayed the ship to join the Maquis; on the surface, it may seem like a gross betrayal of everything Ro had sworn to uphold, but in light of her childhood, the decision made sense.

However, fans never got to see the ramifications of Ro’s decision – until now. The crew of the Defiant is made up of hard-edged characters, some of which come from outside Starfleet, and Ro is no exception. Fans will learn what happened to Ro in the years since she defected, and given what the Maquis were subjected to, she may be even more abrasive. However, Ro proved herself a competent officer during her time on the Enterprise, and she will bring those skills to the Defiant as well. How Ro will gel with her Defiant crewmates, including her former friend Worf, remains to be seen.

Ro is a deeply spiritual person who venerates the Prophets – godlike beings who reside in the Celestial Temple – which gives her an individual stake in the god war as well. Although Ro has not been seen on screen since Star Trek: The Next Generation’s final season, there is a possibility she could come back for Picard’s final season, as a number of legacy characters are rumored to return – if so, this story is likely to be essential to understanding her journey. Either way, fans eager to see the Starfleet defector one more time will have their wishes granted when Star Trek: Defiant debuts next year.

Star Trek: Defiant #1 is coming from IDW Publishing March 2023.