The six best Star Trek starship swan songs


With the likes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine taking out starships by the dozen, there’s no shortage of great starships biting the dust in Star Trek.

But here’s what I think are the most memorable six…

USS Enterprise 1701 in Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock

It had been 18 years since Star Trek had first graced people’s screens, so when Kirk initiated the self destruct on the Enterprise in the third movie he really was calling time on the face of Star Trek.

Seeing this icon’s hull gradually peel away in flames, before blowing up and plunging into the atmosphere is very moving – particularly with Kirk looking on, knowing he brought an end to his trusty ship.

This really marked the end of an era for Star Trek. RIP Enterprise.


USS Enterprise 1701-D in Star Trek: Generations

At the time, the Enterprise D’s passing in Star Trek: Generations was nothing short of awesome for me. I’d grown up with TNG, and just the whole concept of watching my favourite crew on the big screen then seeing the TNG technical manual’s saucer separ crash landing actually happen… well, it was a fan boy’s dream.

The excitement of the big screen and Dolby sound of it all made it a very memorable end for what is still one of my favourite ships.

It’s just marred slightly with the retrospect of an adult knowing they took out this noble ship just because they needed to build some new big-screen worthy sets and get rid of a TV-born Enterprise.


USS Enterprise 1701-D in Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “Cause and Effect”

Definitely one of the best of TNG’s season five, and one of my all-time favourite TNGs.

TNG rarely dropped you straight in at the deep end, normally taking time to explain what the crew was doing before softly taking into you into that week’s story. But not with “Cause and Effect”.

The episode starts with the Enterprise biting the dust then leaves the viewer wondering what on earth has gone on. You have to wait via the credits, and potentially ads too, just to be deposited back on the Enterprise like nothing has happened.

Seeing the Enterprise’s nacelle destroyed, followed by the crew’s failed efforts to save themselves, was a stunning change of pace for TNG. And not only that, you got to see it happen again and again and again…


USS Voyager in Star Trek Voyager’s “Year of Hell Part II”

Janeway always had a slight air of nutty about her, and in “Year of Hell” we get to see how far she can be pushed.

As it turns out, it’s quite lot actually. She and the Voyager endure a lot over the course of a year.

It may be reset-buttontastic, but I totally forgive it because of the amazing conclusion to the episode.

Janeway takes the Voyager and does exactly what you expect to do with a starship: ram it into the side of the other ship, destroying you both in the process.


USS Odyssey in Star Trek Deep Space Nine’s “The Jem’Hadar”

It was with this episode that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine got serious. The Dominion, hinted at through season 2, finally makes its appearance. And it’s not pretty.

There could have been financial issues that led to the Odyssey being a Galaxy class starship, so they could reuse the ship’s model.

However I think the writers had a very deliberate message to send, in particular to fans of TNG. We’d been led for years to think that the Enterprise was pretty infallible, with Picard and crew always saving the day.

But here they sent a stark message: “The Dominion doesn’t fight like the races you already know, and look how they took out The Odyssey like child’s play. TNG fans, that could have been your beloved Picard – and no one is safe from the Dominion.”


USS Defiant in Star Trek Deep Space Nine’s “The Changing Face of Evil”

It’s hard for a DS9 fan to not get emotional when it comes to the Defiant’s demise.

It’d been in the show since season 3, and with it came a change in DS9’s direction. It was the trusty battleship, designed to battle the Borg and then it became an integral part of the war with the Dominion.

But the Breen decided to shake things up, and with that came a high cost for Sisko and his crew.

We all know they had a Defiant-class ship back in no time, and it’s the same sets as before… but we fans knew that the Defiant was gone.

I may have even mourned the Defiant’s passing more than Jadzia… that was how powerful this little ship was.


What do you think?

These are by no means exhaustive articles, and are the personal opinions of AntonyF. Share your favorite moments in the comments sections.

AntonyF has been a Trek fan since 1987, and has ran his own websites, written for TrekToday an is the technical admin at TrekBBS. He’s going to write some new articles for TrekToday – unashamed love letters to Star Trek. They will be sporadic, and as he’s not seen most of TOS so apologizes for any inbalance.

Image thanks: Memory Alpha, Memory Beta,

What do you think? Chat with other fans in the at The Trek BBS.





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