10 Star Trek Characters More Important Than You Realised
Not everyone is a Kirk or a Picard, but these characters made more of an impact than you think.
The likes of Janeway, Sisko, Spock, Archer, and company surely have an entire wing at the Starfleet Museum and a collection of bubble baths in their effigy by now – Voyager itself was a museum in an alternate timeline, and even Janeway’s addiction to coffee was etched into the annals of ready room fragrances. The NX-01, if we believe the holodeck, was preserved for posterity as Archer laid the groundwork for the Federation, Sisko is basically a god, and Spock and “live long and prosper” have entered common parlance.
Not every character in Star Trek can come in shining brightly as a warp core explosion, however. Sometimes, achievements (and even dastardly deeds) go unnoticed, or that person’s true significance (either in- or out-of-universe) is only realised later down the line. The whole premise of the series Lower Decks is a testament to that idea; some of us really are just natural Boimlers. Of course, his name lives on for centuries in the Boimler Effect, although he would, no doubt, have chosen a less infamous legacy than “the laziest, most corner-cutting officer in Starfleet history”. Then sometimes, just sometimes, it takes a list to realise the importance of certain characters.
To quote Zefram Cochrane, "Don’t try to be a great man. Just be a man, and let history make its own judgements". With that in mind, and with the benefit of a little hindsight, these are ten Star Trek characters who could do with a little more (dis/)credit.
10. Lieutenant Hawk
At the start of Star Trek: First Contact, this blue-eyed, square-jawed lieutenant can be found at the helm of the Enterprise-E as it flies through the vortex created by the Borg sphere. By the film’s end, however, we are left wondering if he is still drifting alone in his EV suit above 21st-century Earth.
About mid-way through the film, we learn that the Borg are attempting to use the Enterprise’s main deflector dish to send a message to the Delta Quadrant. Hawk is instrumental in the mission mounted to stop them, but is assimilated and attacks Picard. Worf arrives just in time to shoot Hawk, who flies off into the abyss, and the Borg’s inter-quadrantal phone call is permanently hung up. Let’s hope they did at least recover his body before the return trip to the 24th century!
Yet, this zero-g sacrifice is not why our hero is cited here; he is far more important than you realise for other reasons. Before filming began, it was rumoured (and widely publicised in contemporary press), that there were plans to make the character of Hawk gay.
This would have been of groundbreaking importance at the time. It would have made Hawk the first openly gay character in Star Trek history in an era when LGBT+ representation in mainstream film and television was practically non-existent. In various apocrypha, such as the excellent novel Taking Wing of the Titan series, it is confirmed that Hawk was indeed gay and married to Trill Starfleet officer Ranul Keru.