This article discusses the fictional timeline of the Star Trek franchise. The franchise is primarily set in the future, ranging from the mid-22nd century (Star Trek: Enterprise) to the late 24th century (Star Trek: Picard), with the third season of Star Trek: Discovery jumping forward to the 32nd century. However the franchise has also outlined a fictional future history of Earth prior to this, and, primarily through time travel plots, explored both past and further-future settings.
The chronology is complicated by the presence of divergent timelines within the franchise's narrative, as well as internal contradictions and retcons. The original series generally avoided assigning real-world dates to its futuristic setting, instead using the stardate system. Series from Star Trek: The Next Generation onwards defined their temporal settings in conventional form.
This table shows each TV series and movie, its year of release or broadcast, the year it was set in according to the prevailing Okuda chronology (see below), and the stardate range for that year. The designation Enterprise-based series are the series that featured the various incarnations of the starship USS Enterprise. In universe timeline chronological order Star Trek Enterprise (ENT), Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS), Star Trek: The Animated Series (TAS), Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG), and all 13 of the Star Trek feature films, including the three newest J. J. Abrams "reboot" films, or "Kelvin Timeline" based on the original series.
|Year||Stardates||Enterprise, The Original Series, The Next Generation, Picard, original timeline films, major events||Animated series||Novels and comics||Deep Space Nine||Voyager||Discovery||Reboot films (Kelvin timeline)||Video games|
|Before the birth of the Universe||"Death Wish" (1996)|
|3.5 billion years ago||The Next Generation "All Good Things..." (1994) [primordial Earth]|
|~2840 BCE||Star Trek "All Our Yesterdays" (1969) [primary plotline]|
|1893 CE||The Next Generation "Time's Arrow" (1992) [primary plotline]|
|1930||Star Trek "The City on the Edge of Forever" (1967) [primary plotline]|
|1944||Enterprise "Storm Front" (2004) [primary plotline]|
|1947||"Little Green Men" (1995) [primary plotline]|
|1957||Enterprise "Carbon Creek" (2002) [primary plotline]|
|1968||Star Trek "Assignment: Earth" (1968) [primary plotline]|
|1969||Star Trek "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" (1967) [primary plotline]|
|1986||The Voyage Home (1986) [primary plotline]|
|1992–1996||Eugenics Wars||Khan [secondary plotline]||"Future's End" (1996) [primary plotline]|
|2000||"11:59" (1999) [primary plotline]|
|2004||Enterprise "Carpenter Street" (2003) [primary plotline]|
|2024||Picard season 2 (2022) [past timeline]||"Past Tense" (1995) [primary plotline]|
|2032||"One Small Step" (1999) [primary plotline]|
|2049–2053||World War III|
|2063||First Contact (1996) [primary plotline]|
|2151–2152||Enterprise season 1 (2001–2002)|
|2152–2153||Enterprise season 2 (2002–2003)|
|2153–2154||Enterprise season 3 (2003–2004)|
|2154–2155||Enterprise season 41 (2004–2005)|
|2161||Enterprise "These Are the Voyages..." (2005) holodeck simulation of the events2
Founding of the United Federation of Planets
|2164||2164 (Reboot Stardate)||USS Franklin goes missing: Star Trek Beyond (2016)|
|2233||2233 (Reboot Stardate)||Star Trek (2009)3 [prologue]|
|2233–2258||2233–2258 (Reboot Stardates)||Nero comics|
|2245–2250||The Constitution-class USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) is launched under the command of Captain Robert April and begins its first 5-year mission.|
|2254||Star Trek "The Cage" (1964)|
|2256–2257||1207||Discovery season 1 (2017–2018)|
|2258–2259||2258–2259 (Reboot Stardate)||Discovery season 2 (2018–2019)||Star Trek (2009)|
|2259||2259 (Reboot Stardate)||Khan [primary plotline]|
|2259–2260||2259–2260 (Reboot Stardate)||Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)|
|2262||2262 (Reboot Stardate)||Star Trek Beyond (2016)|
|2265||1000–1499||Star Trek "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (1965)|
|2266–2267||1500–3299||Star Trek season 1 (1966–1967)|
|2267–2268||3300–4799||Star Trek season 2 (1967–1968)||"Trials and Tribble-ations" (1996) [primary plotline taking place within "The Trouble with Tribbles"]|
|2268–2269||4800–5999||Star Trek season 3 (1968–1969)|
|2269–2270||5221–5683||The Animated Series season 1 (1973–1974)||Killing Time|
|2270||6000–6146||The Animated Series season 2 (1974)|
|2273||7410–7599||The Motion Picture (1979)|
|2278||7818||USS Bozeman launched: "Cause and Effect" (1992)|
|2285||8100–8299||The Wrath of Khan (1982)
The Search for Spock (1984)
|2286||8300–8399||The Voyage Home (1986)|
|2287||8400–8499||The Final Frontier (1989)|
|2293||9500–9999||The Undiscovered Country (1991)
Generations (1994) [prologue]
|"Flashback" (1996) [flashback taking place within The Undiscovered Country]|
|2298–2364||The Lost Era novels|
|2354–2381||31000–58999||New Frontier novels|
|2364||41000–41999||The Next Generation season 1 (1987–1988)
The Next Generation "All Good Things..." (1994) [past timeline]
|2365||42000–42999||The Next Generation season 2 (1988–1989)|
|2366||43000–43999||The Next Generation season 3 (1989–1990)|
|2367||44000–44999||The Next Generation season 4 (1990–1991)||"Emissary" (1993) [flashback to the Battle of Wolf 359]|
|2368||45000–45999||The Next Generation season 5 (1991–1992)|
|2369||46000–46999||The Next Generation season 6 (1992–1993)||Deep Space Nine season 1 (1993)|
|2370||47000–47999||The Next Generation season 7 (1993–1994)
Enterprise "These Are the Voyages..."4 (2005) [main timeline]
|Q-Squared||Deep Space Nine season 2 (1993–1994)|
|2371||48000–48999||Generations (1994)||Deep Space Nine season 3 (1994–1995)||Voyager season 1 (1995)|
|2372||49000–49999||Deep Space Nine season 4 (1995–1996)||Voyager season 2 (1995–1996)|
|2373||50000–50999||First Contact (1996)||Deep Space Nine season 5 (1996–1997)||Voyager season 3 (1996–1997)|
|2374||51000–51999||Dominion War||Deep Space Nine season 6 (1997–1998)||Voyager season 4 (1997–1998)|
|Deep Space Nine season 7 (1998–1999)||Voyager season 5 (1998–1999)|
|2376||53000–53999||A Stitch in Time||Voyager season 6 (1999–2000)|
|2377–2378||54000–55599||Voyager season 7 (2000–2001)|
|2378–2379||55600–56399||A Time to... novels|
|2380||57000–57999||Lower Decks season 1 (2020)|
|2381||58000–58999||Lower Decks season 2 (2021)|
|2379–2386||56900–63999||Utopia Planitia Shipyards, Picard season 1 (2020)||Titan novels|
|2383||Prodigy season 1 (2021)|
|2385||Utopia Planitia Shipyards Destruction, Picard Season 1, Episode 2 (2020)|
|2387||64000–64999||Star Trek (2009) [flashback]||Countdown|
|2390||"Timeless" (1998) [future timeline]|
|2395||72000–72999||The Next Generation "All Good Things..." (1994) [future timeline]|
|2399||76000–76999||Picard season 1 (2020)|
|2401||Picard season 2 (2022) [main timeline]|
|2404||"Endgame" (2001) [future timeline]|
|2409-2411||Star Trek Online (2010)|
|2450||"The Visitor" (1995) [future timeline]|
|2554||Enterprise "Azati Prime" (2004) [Battle of Procyon 5]|
|2875||"Relativity" (1999) [future timeline]|
|3052||Enterprise "Shockwave" (2002) [future timeline]|
|3069–3089||The Burn, followed by the collapse of most of the United Federation of Planets|
|3074||"Living Witness" (1998)|
|3186||"The Red Angel" (2019)|
|3188-89||Discovery season 3 (2020)|
|3190||Discovery season 4 (2021-22)|
Note: Many of these dates are rounded-off approximations, as the dialog from which they are derived often includes qualifiers such as "over," "more than," or "less than."
Several efforts have been made to develop a chronology for the events depicted by the Star Trek television series and its spin-offs. This matter has been complicated by the continued additions to the Star Trek canon, the existence of time travel and multiple concurrent timelines, and the scarcity of Gregorian calendar dates given in the show (stardates instead being used).
Not many references set the original series in an exact time frame, and those that exist are largely contradictory. In the episode "Tomorrow Is Yesterday", a 1960s military officer says that he's going to lock Captain Kirk up "for two hundred years", to which Kirk replies, with wry amusement: "That ought to be just about right." Likewise, in the episode "Space Seed", it is said that the 1996 warlord Khan Noonian Singh is from "two centuries" ago. Both these references place the show in the 22nd century. However, in the episode "Miri", it is said that 1960 was around 300 years ago, pushing the show into the 23rd century. Finally, the episode "The Squire of Gothos" implied that the light cone of 19th century Earth has expanded to 900 light years of radius, which seems to set the show in the 28th century, since light would take nine centuries to traverse that distance.
According to notes in The Making of Star Trek, the show is set in the 23rd century, and the Enterprise was supposed to be around 40 years old. Roddenberry says in this book that the stardate system was invented to avoid pinning down the show precisely in time frame. Roddenberry's original pitch for the series dated it "'somewhere in the future. It could be 1995, or maybe even 2995".
The Star Trek Spaceflight Chronology and FASA, a publisher of the first licensed Star Trek role-playing game, chose to take the "Space Seed figure", adding a few years to make sure the events of the Original Series were in the 23rd century. This dating system is followed by other spin-off works in the 1980s, including Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise. This timeline system gives the following dates
The Star Fleet Battles game was published in 1979, with a license only covering the original series. It has since diverged into an entirely separate fictional universe, new additions to which continue to be published. It does not tie into the Gregorian calendar, instead using a "Year 1" of the invention of Warp on Earth. Its version of the original series backstory is:
Press materials for The Next Generation suggested it was set in the 24th century, seventy-eight years after the existing Star Trek, although the exact time frame had not yet been set in stone. The pilot had dialogue stating Data was part of the Starfleet "class of '78". The pilot episode, "Encounter at Farpoint", also has a cameo appearance by Leonard "Bones" McCoy, who is said to be 137.
In the last episode of the first season, the year is firmly established by Data as 2364. This marked the first time an explicit future calendar date had been attached to a Star Trek storyline, and allowed fans and writers to extrapolate further dates. For example, the established date implies McCoy was born around 2227, ruling out the Spaceflight Chronology-derived dating of the original series to the early 23rd century (though the dating had already been effectively overruled by Star Trek IV, which primarily takes place in 1986, where Kirk tells Gillian Taylor that he is from the late 23rd Century, though he does not give an exact date).
A Star Trek Chronology was published in 1993, written by production staff members Denise Okuda and Michael Okuda. A second edition was issued in 1996. Okuda originally drew up a timeline for internal use by writers, based on his own research and assumptions provided by Richard Arnold. The dates in the Chronology are consistent with the earlier Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual.
It gives the following dates:
The gap between the 1986 film Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home (2286) and the 1987 first season of The Next Generation (2364) is 78 years by this timeline, matching early press materials.
A gap of 10 years passed between the broadcast of the last episode of Star Trek: The Original Series and the release of The Motion Picture. The film skirted around the fact the actors had aged, supposing that only two and a half years had passed since the events of the TV show. For Star Trek II, it was decided to acknowledge the reality of the aging actors, both by setting the film some 15 years after "Space Seed", and by having Kirk worry about getting old.
Within The Next Generation era, episodes and films are easier to date. Stardates correspond exactly with seasons, with the first two digits of the stardate representing the season number. Okuda assumes the start of a season is January 1 and the end of the season is December 31. The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager television series, as well as the movies, have roughly followed "real time", and are set around 377 years after their release.
Since the Chronology was published, it has been generally adhered-to by the producers of the show. The film Star Trek: First Contact and prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise both revisit the early era. In First Contact, Zephram Cochrane is confirmed as having invented warp drive on Earth, but the date is moved forward slightly to 2063, and it is revealed that Earth's official first contact with an alien species, the Vulcans, took place immediately afterwards as a result of this.
The dating of the final season of Star Trek: Voyager has presented controversy. The standard assumption about stardates, as well as the regular correspondence between seasons and in-universe years, would place the entire season in the year 2377; the season begins with stardate 54014.4 and ends with 54973.4. However, the episode "Homestead" features a celebration of the 315th anniversary of Zefram Cochrane's first contact with the Vulcans, which would set the episode on April 5, 2378. The fansite Memory Alpha thus places the final eight episodes of the season ("Human Error" through "Endgame") in 2378, with other sources following suit.
Enterprise is set in the 2150s, and ties into the Cochrane backstory. The show uses the Gregorian calendar instead of Stardates, making tracking the dating easier. Its pilot, "Broken Bow", depicts first contact with the Klingons occurring much earlier than the Okuda chronology anticipated (it suggested a date of 2218, based on a line in "Day of the Dove", noting that dialog in "First Contact" makes this problematic – though the actual line in the episode referred to hostilities between the two, and in Enterprise, Human-Klingon relations, while by no means friendly, clearly do not rise to the de facto state of war shown in TOS). It shows the opening of the Romulan war and the start of a coalition between Earth, Vulcan, Andor, and Tellar in the 2150s. The date of the founding year of the Federation, 2161, was revealed in the fifth-season TNG episode "The Outcast," based on an early draft of the Okuda timeline. The final episode of Enterprise, "These Are the Voyages...", is consistent with the establishment of 2161 as the founding year for the Federation.
No version of the Chronology or the Encyclopedia has been published since 1999. A 2006 book by Jeff Ayers contains a timeline which attempts to date all of the many Star Trek novels. This timeline has The Motion Picture in 2273, to account for the two-and-a-half-year gap between the end-date of 2270 established in "Q2" and the events of the movie. The official website, StarTrek.com, still gives the date of that movie as 2271.
When the original series of Star Trek was produced, the 1990s were several decades away, and so various elements of the backstory to Star Trek are set in that era, particularly the Eugenics Wars. The references to the Eugenics Wars and to a nuclear war in the 21st century are somewhat contradictory.
The episode "Space Seed" establishes the Eugenics Wars, and has them lasting from 1992 to 1996. The Eugenics Wars are described as a global conflict in which the progeny of a human genetic engineering project, most notably Khan Noonien Singh, established themselves as supermen and attempted world domination. Spock calls them "the last of your so-called World Wars", and McCoy identifies this with the Eugenics Wars.
In the episode "Bread and Circuses", Spock gives a death toll for World War III of 37 million. The episode "The Savage Curtain" features a Colonel Phillip Green, who led a genocidal war in the 21st century. The TNG episode "Encounter at Farpoint" further establishes a "post-atomic horror" on Earth in 2079. However, the movie Star Trek: First Contact put the contact between Vulcans and humans at April 5, 2063.
The Star Trek Concordance identifies the "Bread and Circuses" figure as the death toll for a nuclear World War III, in the mid-21st century. Star Trek: First Contact firmly establishes World War III ended, after a nuclear exchange, in 2053, but with a body count of 600 million. The figure of Colonel Green is elaborated on in Star Trek: Enterprise. First Contact also deliberately describes the warring parties in World War III as "factions", not nations per se.
The Voyager episode "Future's End" saw the Voyager crew time-travel to Los Angeles in 1996, which, as the Encyclopedia notes, seems entirely unaffected by the Eugenics Wars, which ended that year. The episode acknowledges the issue only by featuring a model of Khan's DY-100-class ship on a 1996 desk. Khan's spaceship is another anomaly for the timeline, which has a variety of long-lost spaceships being launched between 1980 and 2100, with inconsistent levels of technology (caused by the increasing real lifetime and also decreased optimism about the pace of space exploration).
A reference in the Deep Space Nine episode "Doctor Bashir, I Presume?" suggests that the Eugenic Wars instead took place in the 22nd century. According to writer Ronald D. Moore, this was not an attempt at a retcon, but a mistake – when writing the episode, he recalled the already questionable "two centuries ago" line from "Space Seed" and forgot that DS9 takes place over 100 years later.
Season 4 of Star Trek: Enterprise involves a trilogy of episodes ("Borderland" "Cold Station 12", and "The Augments") related to scientist Doctor Arik Soong, ancestor of Doctor Noonien Soong, and his genetic augmentations of Humans. Numerous historical details of the devastating Eugenics Wars are discussed: the death of 35–37 million people; how Earth's governments could not decide on the fate of the 1,800 genetically enhanced embryos; and how Soong had infiltrated the complex and stolen and raised 19 embryos himself. Soong maintained that he himself and humanity in general had learned the lessons of the Eugenics Wars and should not continue to hide behind those events when there was progress to be made now that the technology had matured and was much more practicable. (The actions of his "children" convince him otherwise, and at the end of "The Augments" Soong declares his interest in cybernetics, beginning the work which would one day bring about Data.)
Greg Cox's two-book series The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh develops the idea of the Eugenics Wars in the context of real-life history by representing it as a secret history, and that the truth behind the various civil wars and conflicts in the 1990s was not generally known; Los Angeles, whose appearance in "Future's End" helped bring the war's existence into question, is portrayed as an EW "battlefront", the Rodney King riots being one such calamity.
The series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which first aired in the spring of 2022, complicates the timeline further by retconning certain dating aspects by explicitly dating the Eugenics Wars to the first half of the 21st century, following a second American Civil War and leading up to the full-scale World War III nuclear conflict described in earlier films and episodes. This differs from "Space Seed" asserting that not only did the Eugenics Wars take place in the mid-1990s but dialogue indicates that they were either concurrent with or simply were World War III.
In the episode "Metamorphosis", it is stated that Zefram Cochrane of Alpha Centauri, the discoverer of the space warp, disappeared 150 years ago, at the age of 87. Based on the 2207 to 2212 originally given this would have put Cochrane's disappearance between 2057 to 2062 and his birth between 1970 to 1975. However, Okuda's date of 2267 for that episode, puts Cochrane's disappearance in 2117 and birth in 2030. 1980s spin-off material such as the Star Trek Spaceflight Chronology posit that Cochrane was from Alpha Centauri originally, and that a sub-warp ship the UNSS Icarus arrived at Alpha Centauri in 2048 to find he had discovered the theory behind warp drive. The Icarus then relayed its findings back to Earth. The first prototype warp ship was launched in 2055.
The Star Trek Chronology does not hold with this theory, and asserts that Cochrane was an Earth native, who moved to Alpha Centauri later in life. (Even in "Metamorphosis", before Cochrane identifies himself to the landing party, Dr. McCoy had taken a tricorder scan and determined him to be human.) The first edition Chronology notes that Cochrane's invention of warp drive must have been at least 200 years before "Where No Man Has Gone Before", and suggests a date of 2061, noting that Cochrane would be 31 that year.
The film Star Trek: First Contact prominently features Cochrane's first successful warp flight. The film is set in 2063, two years after the Chronology suggestions, and therefore by the timeline Cochrane is 33. The actor who played Cochrane in that movie, James Cromwell, was 56 at the time of the film's release. The Encyclopedia notes the age issue, and claims that the Cromwell Cochrane had suffered from radiation poisoning, causing his aged appearance. Enterprise pins down Cochrane's disappearance to 2119, making Cochrane instead 31 at the time of First Contact.