Star Trek: Prodigy’s season 1 finale bid farewell to Hologram Janeway with beautifully subtle references to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Prodigy’s Season 1 Finale – “Supernova, Part 2”The season 1 finale of Star Trek: Prodigy contained homages to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan that were perfect in their subtlety. The young crew of the USS Protostar gave up their ship and destroyed it to save Starfleet. By destabilizing the Proto-Core as the Protostar jumped into warp, the Living Construct was destroyed, thereby stopping the signal that was causing Starfleet’s ships to attack and annihilate each other. But this required a noble sacrifice by Hologram Janeway (Kate Mulgrew).
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is arguably the most revered Star Trek movie, and it’s certainly the one that has been remade the most. The Wrath of Khan saw Spock (Leonard Nimoy) sacrifice his life to save the Starship Enterprise and his friends from Khan (Ricardo Montalbán). Spock’s death was perhaps the most heartbreaking moment in Star Trek up to that point. Star Trek: Nemesis outright duplicated The Wrath of Khan‘s story beats, especially in its climactic battle where Data (Brent Spiner) gave up his life to save the USS Enterprise-E. J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness then remade The Wrath of Khan yet again but reversed key moments so that Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) died (temporarily) instead of Spock (Zachary Quinto).
Star Trek: Prodigy Finale’s Perfect Wrath Of Khan References
Star Trek: Prodigy season 1’s finale, “Supernova, Part 2,” beautifully echoed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in subtle ways. When Hologram Janeway realized her evolved program was too big to fit on a data chip, she knew her life was at an end. But to keep her young proteges’ spirits up, and to stop them from stopping her sacrifice, she lied that the data file contained her full program. The Protostar crew’s final image of Hologram Janeway was the bay doors to the bridge closing, and it was a perfect reversal of Admiral James T. Kirk’s (William Shatner) heroic entrance into Star Trek II‘s Kobayashi Maru simulation room.
Hologram Janeway’s death also nicely echoed Spock’s in The Wrath of Khan. By choosing to stay behind to ensure the Protostar’s destruction would save the galaxy, Janeway acted as selfishly as the Vulcan did when he entered the radioactive warp core so that the Starship Enterprise could jump to warp and escape the explosion of Khan’s stolen Genesis Device. Hologram Janeway’s farewell message to Dal R’El (Brett Gray), Gwyn (Ella Purnell), and the others was as poignant as Kirk and Spock’s final goodbyes, although the older Admiral was even more emotional than the teenagers at the loss of their mentor.
Prodigy Showed The Right Way To Homage Wrath Of Khan Without Ripping It Off
Star Trek: Prodigy‘s season 1 finale wasn’t designed as yet another remake of Star Trek II, but the animated series showed the right way to tip its cap to The Wrath of Khan without ripping the movie off outright. After two remakes that were met with less enthusiasm from audiences than the filmmakers hoped for, Star Trek fans are understandably wary of further replications of Star Trek II‘s most famous story beats.
But Hologram Janeway’s sacrifice for the kids was logical, and it was earned. It also graduated the Protostar’s young heroes to their new mentor, Vice Admiral Janeway (Kate Mulgrew). And Star Trek: Prodigy reversing Admiral Kirk’s Wrath of Khan hero entrance with Hologram Janeway was tastefully done, doesn’t draw attention to itself, and it was just a cool way to give Hologram Janeway a lasting final memory.
Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1 is streaming on Paramount+.