The Return Of TNG’s Jellico Sets Him Up As A Great Star Trek Villain

The Star Trek panels at New York Comic Con 2022 revealed that Ronny Cox will reprise his role as Edward Jellico for upcoming episodes of Star Trek: Prodigy, setting him up as the show’s ideal villain. Airing on Nickelodeon, Prodigy is a Star Trek show aimed at a younger audience which also serves as a sequel to Star Trek: Voyager. Returning to the Delta Quadrant, it follows a group of enslaved teenagers who discover an abandoned Starfleet ship, the Protostar, and use it to escape their captors. Prodigy‘s midseason finale revealed that Admiral Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) was leading the search for this stolen vessel and her former first officer, Chakotay (Robert Beltran). However, the addition of Edward Jellico suggests that Janeway won’t be the primary antagonist of Prodigy season 1, part 2.

Prodigy has contained several deep-cut references to wider franchise lore, including a massive Star Trek crossover unachievable in live-action, which featured Odo, Uhura, Spock, and Doctor Crusher stand together on the bridge of the Enterprise. The inclusion of Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Edward Jellico in the second half continues this tradition of deep-cuts that makes Prodigy of equal interest to the older Star Trek audience. Given Jellico’s formal, no-nonsense approach to command, he’s a stern authority figure who is actually the perfect villain for the child-friendly Star Trek: Prodigy.

Jellico’s Return Means That Admiral Janeway Isn’t Prodigy’s Villain

It’s likely that Jellico will be spearheading the mission to find the Protostar. It’s clear from the Prodigy midseason finale that Janeway has assigned herself to the mission in order to rescue Chakotay, and return to the Delta Quadrant. Janeway has a history of going rogue, going back in time to bring Voyager back to the Alpha Quadrant, thus changing the course of the crew’s personal histories. This unorthodox approach won’t have escaped the attention of the controversial former TNG captain Edward Jellico.

Edward Jellico only appeared in two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but made a big impression – for all the wrong reasons – after assuming command of the Enterprise-D in season 6 in episodes 10 and 11. Jellico’s approach to command made him some enemies, as he demanded that Deanna Troi wear the standard-issue uniform, and clashed with Will Riker so badly that he replaced him as First Officer with Data. Jellico’s stern approach and Janeway’s admiration for the kids will likely see the pair clash as she tries to recapture the Protostar.

Jellico Is The Perfect Villain For A Star Trek Kid’s Show

There’s a history of stern authority figures in children’s fiction, from Cinderella’s wicked stepmother all the way to Severus Snape in the Harry Potter novels. With his love of efficiency and the Starfleet rulebook, Admiral Edward Jellico perfectly fulfills this role in Prodigy. The characters in Prodigy aren’t the average Starfleet high-achievers – they’re scrappy and resourceful kids who have been torn away from their friends and family. However, they’ve also found themselves in charge of Starfleet’s most advanced starship.

The idea of reckless kids at the helm of a highly advanced starship will be anathema to Jellico. He had a difficult enough time believing that Will Riker had earned the right to be first officer on the Enterprise, so it’s highly unlikely that he’d have any time for the Protostar’s commander, the orphaned grifter Dal. Given that the Protostar has been infected with a virus that could bring down all of Starfleet, Jellico’s obsession with bringing it back could destroy everything he holds dear. It’s a fascinating dynamic for Star Trek: Prodigy to explore, and one that proves it’s a far more interesting show than mere Star Trek for kids.

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