Star Trek timeline: Boldly go on a journey through the Trek universe

Image credit: Netflix

When Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek in the 1960s, little did he know how big his universe would become. The Star Trek timeline now stretches over hundreds of years, taking in everything from World War 3 (we don’t have too long to wait, apparently), to several attempted invasions by the Borg.

With hundreds of episodes of TV spread across seven different shows – there are at least three more in various stages of development, including a Jean-Luc Picard spin-off – and 13 movies, the Star Trek timeline has become a complex beast. So much so, in fact, that it’s hard to know how the current events unfolding in Star Trek Discovery season 2 fit in with the Original Series, or, say, where Voyager sits relative to The Next Generation crew movies. 

So we’ve assembled all the key events that shaped Federation history into one massive Star Trek timeline. We’ve even included the parallel “Kelvin” continuity of the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie and its sequels, an alternative sequence of events kickstarted when a rogue Romulan ship from the future destroyed the USS Kelvin – killing James T Kirk’s dad, George, and forever altering Kirk and Spock’s destinies. 

That said, because the numerous spin-off Trek comics and novels aren’t traditionally considered part of the official Star Trek timeline, we’ve left them out. We’ve also steered clear of the Mirror Universe, so there isn’t so much timey-wimey stuff going on that you’d have to be Spock or Data to understand it. But before we engage the warp drive and explore the history of the future, here’s an at-a-glance guide to how the various movies and TV shows fit into the Star Trek timeline:

The Prime Star Trek timeline

  • Star Trek: Enterprise (2001-2005)
  • Star Trek: The Cage (1965)
  • Star Trek Discovery (2017-)
  • Star Trek: The Original Series (1966-1969)
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973-1974)
  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
  • Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
  • Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock (1984)
  • Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home (1986)
  • Star Trek 5: The Final Frontier (1989)
  • Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994)
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-1999)
  • Star Trek: Generations (1994)
  • Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001)
  • Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
  • Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
  • Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)

The Kelvin Star Trek timeline

Star Trek timeline

Image credit: Paramount Pictures

Image credit: Paramount Pictures

1893 - The time-travelling crew of the USS Enterprise-D encounters The Adventures of Tom Sawyer author Mark Twain in San Francisco. (Time’s Arrow, Star Trek: The Next Generation)

1930 - Having been sent back to 20th century New York by the malevolent ring the Guardian of Forever, James T Kirk is forced to allow peace campaigner Edith Keeler to die in order to save millions of lives in World War 2. (The City on the Edge of Forever, Star Trek: The Original Series)

1947 - Ferengi Quark, Rom, and Nog crash land in 20th century Roswell, New Mexico, and are captured by US authorities who (correctly, to be fair) think they’re aliens. (Little Green Men, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)

1986 - Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the original Enterprise crew kidnap a pair of humpback whales to save the future from an alien probe. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

1996 - Genetically enhanced tyrant Khan Noonien Singh and 84 of his followers escape the Eugenics Wars on Earth (remember those?), going into suspended animation on the SS Botany Bay. (Space Seed, Star Trek: The Original Series)

2063 - In the wake of World War 3, Zefram Cochrane makes Earth’s first successful warp flight, attracting the attention of some passing Vulcans who subsequently introduce Earth into the interstellar community – all while the crew of the Enterprise-E fight to stop the Borg assimilating the planet. (Star Trek: First Contact)

2151 - Suliban fighting in a Temporal Cold War shoot down Klingon warrior Klaang over Broken Bow, Oklahoma – bringing about humanity’s first contact with a Klingon. The prototype USS Enterprise (NX-01) sets off on a mission to return him to Qo’noS – against the wishes of the Vulcans and their massive superiority complex. (Broken Bow, Star Trek: Enterprise)

Image credit: Paramount Pictures

Image credit: Paramount Pictures

2153 - An alien probe fires a massive energy beam at Earth’s surface, causing destruction across the American continent. The Enterprise is redeployed to the Delphic Expanse to fight back against the perpetrators, the Xindi. (The Expanse, Star Trek: Enterprise) A group of Borg who survived the attempted invasion of Earth in 2063 are accidentally thawed by a research team in the Arctic. It doesn’t end well. (Regeneration, Star Trek: Enterprise)

2164 - The USS Franklin, commanded by Captain Balthazar Edison, goes missing – that might just prove important later… (Star Trek Beyond)

2230 - Spock is born on Vulcan.

2233 - James T Kirk is born. 

2233 (KELVIN TIMELINE) - The USS Kelvin is destroyed by time-travelling 24th century Romulan ship Narada, kickstarting the so-called the Kelvin timeline. (Star Trek, 2009)

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2230s (exact date unknown) - After her parents are killed in a Klingon attack, Michael Burnham is adopted by Sarek and Amanda Grayson on Vulcan. Her adoptive brother, Spock, has his first sighting of a “Red Angel”. (Will You Take My Hand?, Star Trek: Discovery)

2254 - The USS Enterprise, captained by Christopher Pike, discovers the survivors of crashed survey ship SS Columbia on Talos IV – though it turns out they’re an illusion created by the telepathic Talosians. (Star Trek: The Cage)

2256 - The USS Shenzou’s first officer, Commander Michael Burnham, defies the orders of Captain Philippa Georgiou, and is charged with mutiny. The Federation/Klingon War begins at the Battle of the Binary Stars. (The Vulcan Hello/The Battle at the Binary Stars, Star Trek: Discovery)

2257 - The Federation/Klingon War ends, with the hydro bomb Section 31 plant at the heart of Qo’noS helping maintain peace between feuding Klingon houses. (Will You Take My Hand, Star Trek: Discovery) With the Enterprise under repair, Christopher Pike assumes command of the Discovery on a mission to understand the so-called “Red Angels” – and track down his AWOL science officer, Spock. (Brother, Star Trek: Discovery)

Image credit: Paramount Pictures

Image credit: Paramount Pictures

2258 (KELVIN TIMELINE) - The Narada reappears and destroys Vulcan, as an act of revenge on Spock. The Enterprise (commanded by Christopher Pike) engages the Romulan ship, but with Pike incapacitated, James T Kirk eventually assumes command of the ship – and defeats the Narada. In the wake of Vulcan’s destruction, Admiral Alexander Marcus tries to increase Starfleet’s military capabilities – and subsequently discovers the SS Botany Bay years earlier than in the Prime timeline. Khan Noonien Singh is revived and recruited by shadowy spy branch Section 31. (Star Trek Into Darkness)

2259 (KELVIN TIMELINE) - Going under the name John Harrison, Khan wages a one-man war on the Federation – all in the name of recovering his crew from suspended animation. The Enterprise crew eventually defeat him and put him back into stasis, but Kirk dies in the process. Luckily Dr McCoy is able to use some of Khan’s blood to revive his captain – phew! (Star Trek Into Darkness)

2260 (KELVIN TIMELINE) - The USS Enterprise begins its (other) famous five-year mission. (Star Trek Into Darkness)

2263 (KELVIN TIMELINE) - Three years into the five-year mission (with things starting to get boring), the Enterprise is destroyed by Krall’s swarm ships, marooning the crew on an alien planet. It turns out Krall was the captain of the aforementioned USS Franklin, who’s spent the last century using alien tech to keep himself alive – and developing a colossal grudge against the Federation. He’s eventually killed on new Federation starbase, the USS Yorktown. James T Kirk and crew are assigned to a new ship, the Enterprise-A. The original Spock Prime – the one who travelled back in time – passes away on New Vulcan (Star Trek Beyond).

2266 - The USS Enterprise’s five-year mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilisations, to boldly go where no one has gone before, begins under the command of Captain James T Kirk. (Star Trek: The Original Series)

2267 - After Spock mutinies, a gravely injured Christopher Pike is taken to the off-limits Talos 4, and lives out a “normal” life thanks to the illusions of the telepathic Talosians. (The Menagerie, Star Trek: The Original Series) The Enterprise discovers SS Botany Bay, and awakens Khan Noonien Singh from suspended animation. After he tries to take over the ship, Khan and his crew are exiled to Ceti Alpha 5. (Space Seed, Star Trek: The Original Series)

Image credit: Paramount Pictures

Image credit: Paramount Pictures

Early 2270s (exact year unknown) - The refitted USS Enterprise (commanded once again by Admiral James T Kirk) encounters V’Ger, a 20th century space probe (Voyager 6 under an alias) that has gained sentience and threatens to destroy planet Earth. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

2285 - While on a training mission, the USS Enterprise is critically damaged by Khan Noonien Singh, who has escaped exile on Ceti Alpha V and wants revenge on Kirk. The Genesis planet is created by detonation of the top secret Genesis torpedo, and Spock dies after sacrificing himself to save the Enterprise. (Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan) Kirk, McCoy and the rest of the surviving Enterprise crew defy Starfleet orders to commandeer the ship for a mission to the Genesis planet to recover Spock’s body. After they unexpectedly encounter a hostile Klingon Bird-of-Prey, Kirk self-destructs the Enterprise – but Spock is resurrected. (Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock)

2286 - A mysterious space probe appears in Earth orbit, attempting to make contact with now-extinct humpback whales. Kirk and co pilot their commandeered Bird-of-Prey back to 20th century Earth to find some whales. Admiral Kirk is demoted to captain as punishment for his insurrection, and the USS Enterprise-A goes into active service. (Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home)

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2287 - The new Enterprise is commandeered by Spock’s half-brother, Sybok, who plans to meet God (yes, really) at the centre of the galaxy. The question “What does God need with a starship?” has never felt so pertinent. (Star Trek 5: The Final Frontier)

2290 - Hikaru Sulu assumes command of the USS Excelsior, breaking up the Enterprise “dream team” – it was probably about time, to be fair.. (Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country)

2293 - Praxis, the Klingon moon responsible for most of the empire’s power production, explodes. With Kirk and the classic crew due for retirement, they set off on one last mission to escort the Klingon ambassador to peace negotiations with the Federation – and end up having to foil a complex plot to scupper the whole thing. (Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country) Captain James T Kirk is presumed dead when the Nexus energy ribbon has a close encounter with the newly launched Enterprise-B. Predictably, it’s not the end, though… (Star Trek: Generations)

2330s (exact year unknown) - Data is created by pioneering scientist Dr Noonian Soong. (Datalore, Star Trek: The Next Generation)

2344 - The USS Enterprise-C answers a distress call from a Klingon outpost on Narendra III. Surrounded by Romulan Warbirds, it faces certain destruction until it disappears into a mysterious temporal rift… (Yesterday’s Enterprise, Star Trek: The Next Generation)

2356 - Future Seven of Nine Annika Hansen is assimilated by the Borg, along with her parents on their ship, The Raven. (The Raven, Star Trek: Voyager)

2364 - Commander William T Riker joins the crew of the USS Enterprise-D, under the command of Jean-Luc Picard. Omnipotent being Q appears and puts humanity on trial. (Encounter At Farpoint, Star Trek: The Next Generation)

Image credit: Paramount Pictures

Image credit: Paramount Pictures

2365 - Q shows up again, and transports the Enterprise to uncharted space for Starfleet’s first encounter with the Borg. (Q Who, Star Trek: The Next Generation)

2366 - The Enterprise-C emerges from that aforementioned temporal rift and creates a new timeline where the Federation is at war with the Klingons. (Yesterday’s Enterprise, Star Trek: The Next Generation) The Borg show up in Federation space to start an invasion. Jean-Luc Picard is assimilated, becoming Locutus, and Starfleet is almost wiped out at the Battle of Wolf 359. (The Best of Both Worlds, Star Trek: The Next Generation)

2368 - Now an ambassador, Spock turns up on Romulus trying to reunify the Vulcan and Romulan races. (Unification, Star Trek: The Next Generation)

2369 - The Cardassians cease their occupation of Bajor and vacate their space station, Terok Nor. Starfleet moves in and renames it Deep Space Nine, with Benjamin Sisko taking command. It should be a relatively straightforward gig – until a wormhole opens to the Gamma Quadrant on the other side of the galaxy. (Emissary, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)

2370 - Starfleet makes first contact with the Dominion, an alliance of races led by shapeshifting Founders from the Gamma Quadrant. (The Search, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)

2371 - Turns out James T Kirk wasn’t dead after all – he was just living inside the Nexus energy ribbon where all your dreams come true. When El-Aurian scientist Dr Tolian Soran threatens to destroy entire worlds to get back inside the Nexus, Jean-Luc Picard enlists Kirk’s help to stop him – which doesn’t end well for Kirk, who ends up dead for the final time. The Enterprise-D also meets its end. (Star Trek: Generations) USS Voyager and a ship of Maquis freedom fighters are transported to the distant Delta Quadrant by an alien “caretaker”. The two crews become BFFs implausibly quickly – and for some reason, invite Neelix on board. (Caretaker, Star Trek: Voyager)

Image credit: Paramount Pictures

Image credit: Paramount Pictures

2373 - The Borg have another crack at invading Earth. Seemingly defeated, they launch a last ditch attempt to assimilate humanity in the past – so Jean-Luc Picard and crew take their shiny new Enterprise-E back in time to stop them. (Star Trek: First Contact) Meanwhile, back in the Borg’s home territory of the Delta Quadrant, Voyager forms an unlikely alliance with the Collective to battle Species 8472 from “fluidic space”. Borg drone Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01 (AKA, Seven of Nine) joins the Voyager crew. (Scorpion, Star Trek: Voyager) The Dominion War kicks off between the Dominion and the Federation. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)

2375 - The Dominion War ends. Benjamin Sisko, the Bajoran “emissary” moves into the wormhole to commune with its residents – aliens who have no sense of linear time. (What You Leave Behind, Deep Space Nine) The Enterprise crew uncovers a shady Federation plot to relocate the near-immortal inhabitants of a paradise planet, to harness its youth-giving properties. It’s difficult to care about any of it. (Star Trek: Insurrection)

2378 - USS Voyager finally makes it back to Federation space. After seven years away, Ensign Harry Kim is still an Ensign. (Endgame, Star Trek: Voyager)

2379 - Shinzon, a clone of Jean-Luc Picard, takes control of the Romulan senate – and his overtures towards peace with the Federation turn out to be a front for war. The Enterprise eventually stops him, but Data has to sacrifice himself to save the day… (Star Trek: Nemesis)

2387 - With a supernova threatening to destroy Romulus, Spock – still active after all these years, remarkably – attempts to save the planet by using “red matter” to create a black hole that will engulf the exploding star. He fails – and he, and Romulan ship the Narada, are sucked into the black hole, and back into the newly created parallel Kelvin timeline. (Star Trek, 2009) Some time in the 3000s (exact year unknown) - Temporal agent Daniels travels back to 2151 to infiltrate Captain Archer’s Enterprise, and overthrow the Suliban plot.

All caught up? Great, now come and discover the best Star Trek episodes that every Trekkie should watch right now, or watch the video below for a complete guide to the Star Wars timeline - that other sci-fi galaxy far, far, away...