Star Trek First Officer Guide
If there is one thing that every Starfleet Captain who has sat in the famous chair can count on it is having their first officer or “Number One” by their side. They often fill the necessary counterpoint to their respective captain. Where would Kirk be without Spock? Or Sisko without Kira? The first officer is a prestigious role in the Star Trek franchise.
Number One/ Una Chin-Riley (Star Trek, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds): When the legendary USS Enterprise first took to space it was under the command of Captain Christopher Pike with a first officer he dubbed Number One. Portrayed by Majel Rodenberry, the first Number One gelled incredibly well with Pike acting largely to ensure the business of the ship flow smoothly and his orders were carried out. Her character was fleshed out, and even given a proper name, in the Trek prequels Discovery and Strange New Worlds when Rebecca Romijn took over the role. It has also been revealed that is holding a secret that could forever alter her Starfleet career.
Spock (Star Trek, various films): Without a doubt one of the most iconic characters from Star Trek lore is the Vulcan science officer known as Spock. It is impossible, even for non-Trek fans, to imagine the action-oriented Kirk without his calculating first officer by his side. His logical approach to any situation proved to be the perfect counterpoint for the captain to play off of. Leonard Nimoy’s character was the only character brought over from the show’s initial pilot to the regular series. The epitome of everything expected from a Starfleet officer, he has been a key figure during various pivotal moments throughout the history of the franchise in both the Prime and Kelvin timelines.
Will Riker (Star Trek: The Next Generation, various films): He started as a clean shaven guy on a Star Trek spin-off that did not seem to be going anywhere. But he grew into a man with a famous beard and Star Trek: The Next Generation became an absolute smash hit. In a pseudo-swap on the Kirk/Spock dynamic, Riker was the charming and dashing hero to Captain Picard’s more intellectual leader. While he was definitely a ladies man, it was Counselor Troi who would eventually be able to get Number One to settle down. A bit of a wild card, Riker always held a deep respect for his captain and even delayed the appointment of captain of his own ship to remain on the Enterprise until the captain’s seat of the Titan proved inevitable.
Kira Nerys (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine): A veteran in the Bajoran war to gain independence from the Cardassians, Kira finds herself as the senior officer on the wormhole-adjacent Deep Space Nine. When Commander Benjamin Sisko is dispatched from the Federation to help run the space station, Kira finds herself as his main point of contact. While initially resistant and skeptical of Starfleet interfering with the affairs of Bajor, over time she advocated for her people to join the Federation. Without Kira by his side, it is doubtful Sisko would have been able to navigate the political intrigue and domestic troubles of running the space station, much less the Dominion War.
Chakotay (Star Trek: Voyager): In leading her crew through the uncharted space of the Delta Quadrant, Captain Janeway had to be courageous, confident, and tough which she succeeded at it spades. In this respect it made sense that her Number One was softer and more approachable enter Chakotay. For years fans have dismissed him as a vanilla character, but his solid and steady presence is a necessity in the predicament Voyager was in. In addition to this the acclaimed episode “Tattoo” truly added a great depth to the character.
T’Pol (Star Trek: Enterprise): Since the night Zefram Cochran made first contact, the Vulcans acted, often patronizingly, as humanity’s guide of sorts as we made our initial ventures into the stars. T’Pol embodied this as she was her doubtful people assigned her to observe Jonathan Archer as he set out in the Enterprise NX-01. While she was regarded with distrust or resentment onboard due to strained relations between humanity and Vulcans. But T’Pol put in the effort to fit in and over time became a key aspect of repairing the alliance between two worlds.
Michael Burnham (Star Trek Discovery): They say failure builds character, if that is the case the adopted daughter of famed Vulcan, Sarek, was introduced to audiences building herself a lot of character. As the first officer of the Shenzhou she, with the best of intentions, commits mutiny against Captain Georgiou during a confrontation with the Klingons. While this would have normally ended her career, Burnham found a chance of redemption under Captain Lorca aboard the Discovery. Throughout the run of Star Trek: Discovery Burnham’s growth and evolution as a character has been nothing short of compelling.
Saru (Star Trek: Discovery): Portrayed by genre icon Doug Jones, Saru was a fan favorite from his introduction as the chief science off on the Shenzhou. A refugee of the Kelpians, a race known for timidity and fleeing from potential danger, Saru renounced his former culture and embraced the ways of Starfleet. Finding a new home and surrogate family aboard the Discovery, he pours his heart and soul into his work and tends to see the best in those he serves with.
Jack Ransom (Star Trek: Lower Decks): With no shortage of confidence, the second-in-command of the hijink-filled Cerritos built a career of leading ground missions that go horribly wrong. But his ability to kiss-up to Captain Carol Freeman ensures that everything will turnout alright in the end. While he tends to be dismissive to the four characters of the Lower Decks, he frequently clashes with Mariner which should prove interesting in this current season.