Why Star Trek Should Resurrect Trip (& Ignore Enterprise’s Finale)
Killing off Trip Tucker (Connor Trinneer) in Star Trek: Enterprise’s finale remains a sore spot, but Trip’s death can be fixed, and the Chief Engineer can even return in the current Star Trek series on Paramount+. Trip died in « These Are The Voyages… » after he and Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) saved Talla (Jasmine Anthony), the daughter of Shran (Jeffrey Combs), their Andorian ally. Trip sacrificed himself by rigging an explosion to kill Talla’s abductors and save Captain Archer’s life, but his death happened so late in the episode, there was little time to mourn Commander Tucker.
Trip’s death in Star Trek: Enterprise’s series finale is canon, but there is actually wriggle room to change or even reverse it. The events of Enterprise’s finale as depicted was a holodeck program used by Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) during the Star Trek: The Next Generation season 7 episode, « The Pegasus. » Riker’s Holodeck placed him aboard Captain Archer’s NX-01 Enterprise 200 years in the past so that Will could sort out what to do about his current moral dilemma. While Trip is certainly dead by TNG’s 24th-century era, the way his death played out in « These Are The Voyages… » may not be entirely accurate since it was a holodeck simulation. The details could have been wrong, and Trip may not have perished as Riker’s fantasy depicted. As such, there are ways to resurrect Trip or change his fate by simply ignoring the Enterprise finale.
Why Enterprise Finale Killing Trip Was So Wrong
Among the many poor decisions surrounding Star Trek: Enterprise’s series finale, Trip’s death is one of the biggest. To mark the end of his 18-year run of Star Trek shows that started with TNG in 1987, executive producer Rick Berman decided to make the Enterprise series ender about Riker looking at Enterprise in the past. But both the audience and the cast of Star Trek: Enterprise were outraged by the end result, which reduced the series’ characters to non-entities in their own finale. After all, those weren’t the real Captain Archer, Trip, T’Pol (Jolene Blalock), and the other Enterprise crew, in the episode, they were merely holograms in Riker’s role-playing game.
Killing Trip in the manner they did only made Enterprise’s series finale worse. True, he sacrificed his life to save his best friend, Captain Archer. But the time jump between the penultimate Star Trek: Enterprise episode, « Terra Prime, » and « These Are The Voyages… » means Trip’s story, and his romance with T’Pol, wasn’t satisfactorily resolved. The ‘real’ Trip was last seen in « Terra Prime » and then the audience had to watch Tucker’s abrupt death, which happened 6 years later. Killing Trip, a beloved Enterprise character, was played for a series finale shock value that backfired.
How Star Trek Could Easily Bring Back Trip Tucker
Given that the Star Trek: Enterprise scenes in the series finale are just Riker’s hologram, it’s a simple matter for any of the current Star Trek shows to say that the details of Trip’s death were incorrect and what Riker saw on the holodeck was not actually canon. Of course, Trip is long dead in Star Trek: The Next Generation’s era, but he could have had a better demise, or he preferably retired and lived to a ripe old age after his pioneering career of space adventure. Trip could also be recognized as an even greater hero by Starfleet and given fitting honorariums like making the USS Tucker in Star Trek Online a canonical starship named after Trip.
But the best way to honor Trip would be for Star Trek: Lower Decks or Star Trek: Prodigy to bring Commander Tucker back as a holodeck character, through a time travel crossover adventure, or some other sci-fi means. Star Trek: Enterprise is now the only series that has yet to have its cast appear in the current Star Trek shows on Paramount+, and it’s time to give the Scott Bakula-led series its laurels. Strange New Worlds, set a century after Enterprise, could also recognize Trip, but Lower Decks and Prodigy could easily have him appear in animation with Connor Trinneer reprising his role. Any of these solutions would remedy the unfortunate way Star Trek: Enterprise killed Trip Tucker.