(covers information from several alternate timelines)
William Thomas "Will" Riker was a noted Starfleet officer, perhaps best known for his long assignment as first officer under Captain Jean-Luc Picard aboard the USS Enterprise-D and later the USS Enterprise-E. In 2379, he finally accepted a promotion as captain of the USS Titan. (Star Trek: The Next Generation; Star Trek: First Contact; Star Trek Nemesis)
In 2361, a transporter accident resulted in two Rikers, with each one being identical to the other as well as genetically indistinguishable. Their personalities and memories were the same up to the point of the duplication. The other Riker eventually decided to use his middle name and became known as Thomas Riker. (TNG: "Second Chances"; DS9: "Defiant")
Early life Edit
A descendant of Yankee forebears, William Thomas Riker was born in 2335 to Kyle and Betty Riker in Alaska on Earth. (TNG: "The Last Outpost", "The Icarus Factor", "Conundrum", "Second Chances") His distant ancestors included Thaddius Riker, a Union Army colonel who fought during the American Civil War of the mid-19th century, and a particularly rugged great-grandfather of note. (VOY: "Death Wish"; TNG: "Shades of Gray")
Betty died when Will was only two years old, leaving his father to raise him alone. (TNG: "Interface", "Time Squared". The Rikers remained in Alaska at Betty's wish. The only thing which kept Kyle going was Will, but he did not feel as if he could discuss the situation with him, even when Will was older. The memories of Betty's presence at their Alaska home were also painful for both. This initial trauma created a rift between the two Rikers which lasted thirty years. (TNG: "The Icarus Factor")
When Will first started school, at the age of five, he told all of his new friends that his mother was still alive. Eventually, he told the story so often that he began to believe the lie. Soon, his teacher learned of this problem, and both she and Kyle had to talk to Will and make him realize that his mother was dead and was not coming back. Will cried the entire night following, but later realized it was an important step in accepting his mother's death. (TNG: "Interface")
He also practiced anbo-jyutsu with his father. By 2347, when Will was twelve, Kyle admitted that his son's skills at the sport were superior. Will did not know that the only reason he always lost was because his father used illegal hachidan kiritsu moves.
Starfleet Academy Edit
Will entered Starfleet Academy in 2353. Paul Rice was at the academy at the same time, and they were friends. Riker's superintendent was a Vulcan, who had taken the time to memorize the personnel files of each and every cadet. (TNG: "Chain of Command, Part I", "The Arsenal of Freedom", "The First Duty")
Upon graduation in 2357, Riker was ranked eighth in his class. He set lofty goals for himself, and hoped to reach captain before thirty-five years of age. (TNG: "Chain of Command, Part I", "Second Chances")
Early Starfleet career Edit
The Pegasus Edit
Seven months after graduation, Ensign William Riker's first posting was to the USS Pegasus under the command of Erik Pressman. He was the ship's conn officer, and his youthful appearance earned him the nickname "Ensign Babyface," coined by fellow crewmember Lieutenant Boylen. (TNG: "The Pegasus") Phil Wallace was another of Riker's friends aboard the Pegasus. (ENT: "These Are the Voyages...")
Fresh from the Academy, Riker was still somewhat serious about his work. Loyalty and obedience to his commanding officer were top priorities, with his ears still ringing with words like "Duty" and "Honor". This attitude caused him to behave against the principles of the Treaty of Algeron during a crisis on board the ship.
Captain Pressman had been illegally testing a prototype phasing cloaking device aboard the Pegasus. This top-secret project was in violation of the Treaty of Algeron, not to mention extremely dangerous to the crew, leading most of the Pegasus officers, such as the first officer and chief engineer, to mutiny against Pressman. Riker was the only bridge officer to defend the captain, picking up a phaser and instigating a running firefight all the way to the escape pods. Only a few other crew joined Riker and Pressman. Once safely away, Riker and the others watched as the Pegasus apparently exploded, killing the remaining seventy-one personnel.
Although Pressman commended Riker for his unquestioning loyalty, over the years Riker began to have doubts about whether he had made the right decision. The Starfleet Judge Advocate General investigated the Pegasus incident, but the survivors participated in a coverup. The Judge Advocate General discovered evidence of a mutiny aboard the Pegasus before its destruction. While further investigation was recommended, Starfleet Intelligence declared the entire incident classified and no followup was ever conducted. (TNG: "The Pegasus")
On Betazed Edit
Following the Pegasus incident, Riker was stationed on Betazed. While there, he met Deanna Troi. The two began a relationship which lasted several years. (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint", "Ménage à Troi", "Second Chances")
Sometime during his early career, Riker needed to wear a feathered costume while on a diplomatic mission to Armus IX. Similarly, he wore furs to meet with the leadership council on Kabatris. (TNG: "Angel One")
The Potemkin Edit
By 2361, Riker was promoted to lieutenant and served in the operations division aboard the USS Potemkin. Aboard the Potemkin, he developed a tactic which involved using a planet's magnetic pole and shutting down all ship's systems to confuse an enemy vessel's sensors. (TNG: "Peak Performance")
Later that year, Riker led an away team to Nervala IV to rescue researchers stranded at the outpost on that world. Riker was the last to beam out. Atmospheric distortions threatened to dissipate his pattern, so the Potemkin transporter chief compensated by creating a second confinement beam. Only one beam was needed for Riker to rematerialize, so the second beam was shut down. The Potemkin crew did not realize that the second beam had, in fact, been reflected back to the planet's surface. In an odd twist of fate, the second transporter beam, which had exactly the same phase differential as the distortion field, maintained its integrity and created a duplicate William T. Riker. The duplicate Riker remained stranded on the surface for the next eight years. Up until that moment, both Rikers were the same person. As a result, both had an equal claim to being the "real" William T. Riker. Later, Riker received a promotion to lieutenant commander for "exceptional valor" during the mission. He was quickly posted to the USS Hood as first officer. (TNG: "Second Chances")
The Hood Edit
Riker's commanding officer on the Hood was Captain Robert DeSoto. His service aboard the ship was exemplary, despite an incident where Riker, risking a court martial, refused to allow Captain DeSoto to transport into a hostile situation on planet Altair III. (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint", "The Pegasus")
Aboard the USS Enterprise Edit
The Enterprise-D Edit
First year Edit
William Riker was promoted to commander and first officer of the newly launched USS Enterprise-D in 2364. He was ferried to planet Deneb IV by the Hood, and met the Enterprise at the planet. The ship had undergone a saucer separation after being threatened by the entity known as Q. Riker reported aboard the stardrive section and was briefed about the current situation and was ordered to perform a difficult and unusual manual docking with the saucer module, which he conducted very well.
During the Farpoint mission, Riker led several away teams which discovered that Farpoint Station was a living entity, trapped by the Bandi for their own selfish purposes. (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint")
Q was intrigued with Riker, so much so that he believed Riker deserved to be empowered with the abilities of the Q Continuum. Q made a bet with the Continuum that Riker would accept the gift, and trapped the Enterprise while it was en route to a disaster on a mining colony on Quadra Sigma III. Most of its senior officers were then taken to a deadly illusion world. Riker used his new-found powers to save the crew from hostile aliens inhabiting the fantasy, bringing Lieutenant Worf and Wesley Crusher back to life in the process. Picard was concerned about these events, and requested that Riker not use his supernatural abilities. However, Riker changed his mind after he refused to save a young girl killed in the disaster. He became angry with Picard, feeling he had suppressed his abilities and caused the death of the girl.
Further temptation by Q led Riker to grant several wishes to the Enterprise crew: to Geordi La Forge, normal eyesight; to Worf, a Klingon female mate; to Wesley, full growth to adulthood. He nearly transformed Data into a Human, but Data refused the offer, feeling that it would be merely an illusion. As Picard predicted, the other crew also turned down Riker's gifts because of their inherent emptiness. Riker learned his lesson, and the powers were taken away once Q was recalled to the Continuum. (TNG: "Hide and Q")
The Enterprise was stolen from Starbase 74 by a race called the Bynars. Their computer-based society was on the verge of collapse after the star Beta Magellan went supernova and damaged their central computer. They required the Enterprise in order to repair it. The crew evacuated, but Riker and Picard remained on board, infatuated by a holodeck program created by the Bynars as a diversion. The two were successful in retaking the Enterprise and saving the Bynar homeworld from destruction. (TNG: "11001001")
Riker became involved with the alien conspiracy which infiltrated Starfleet Command in 2364. The possessed Admiral Gregory Quinn attempted to infest him with a parasitic being in order to have an alien operative aboard the Enterprise, but Riker resisted. He struggled with Quinn and was knocked out, but was able to alert other personnel to the situation. Dr. Beverly Crusher incapacitated Quinn with a phaser, then determined the nature of the neural parasites. She implanted a fake parasite on Riker, who then beamed down to Earth just in time to prevent the infested Starfleet officers from co-opting Captain Picard. He and Picard were able to find the mother creature, hosted in Lieutenant Commander Dexter Remmick, and destroy it before the alien conspiracy grew any further. (TNG: "Conspiracy")
Combat record Edit
Riker was an accomplished tactician, inventing several strategies while serving aboard various starships. He apparently acquired a reputation for using unorthodox solutions, as Enterprise Second Officer Data estimated he only used traditional tactics 21 percent of the time. In 2365, Riker was given temporary command of the outdated USS Hathaway during a combat exercise to ready for the Borg invasion. The Hathaway was to fight the Enterprise in a simulation designed to test the response of a crew when faced with a substantially superior enemy. Although Riker's crew managed to turn the poorly-maintained Hathaway into something flyable and score several hits against the Enterprise during the initial phases of battle, the test turned deadly when a Ferengi marauder intervened. The Enterprise believed that the Ferengi were a holographic trick designed to divert attention from the Hathaway, and therefore did not raise shields. The Ferengi opened fire, disabling the Enterprise's weapons and shields. The Ferengi demanded that the Enterprise hand over custody of the Hathaway, as they incorrectly assumed the Hathaway had valuable Federation secrets on board. In order to fool the Ferengi, Riker devised a plan to have the Enterprise fire photon torpedoes at the Hathaway, which would jump to warp just before they exploded, making it appear to the Ferengi as if the Hathaway had been destroyed. Worf then fooled the Ferengi sensors into believing that a Starfleet ship had entered the system, scaring them away. (TNG: "Peak Performance")
In 2366, the Borg launched their first invasion of the Federation. A Borg specialist, Commander Shelby, was assigned to the Enterprise. The two butted heads over protocol, and Riker felt that Shelby was trying to ingratiate herself to Captain Picard in order to prove her qualifications as a first officer, particularly since Riker had recently been offered command of the USS Melbourne and was having trouble deciding whether his reluctance to accept the post meant that he had become scared of his old ambitions to become a captain himself. Picard was eventually abducted by the Borg and assimilated, becoming Locutus of Borg. Riker was then left in command of the Enterprise and faced with the difficult decision of choosing to use a new deflector dish weapon against the Borg cube, which would destroy that ship along with Picard. When a rescue attempt failed, Riker gave the order to use the weapon. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds") However, the assimilated knowledge of Captain Picard gave the Borg an advantage, and they altered their shields to resist the weapon.
As the Borg continued on a direct course for Earth, Admiral Hanson field-promoted Riker to captain. Riker chose Shelby as his new first officer. Even though their relationship had a rocky start, Riker realized that they worked well together and Shelby had the knowledge necessary to mount a successful fight against the Borg. Riker was still reluctant to accept the responsibility in light of Picard's abduction, but Guinan, an old and close friend of Picard, was able to convince him that he needed to let Picard go not only to win against the Borg, but also to save Picard. The Enterprise was repaired after its use of the deflector weapon and warped to rendezvous with the fleet at Wolf 359. It arrived shortly after the devastating Battle of Wolf 359, where many ships, including the Melbourne, were destroyed. At this point, Riker formulated a plan to recover Captain Picard, in hopes that the Borg might halt their approach with Locutus gone. The Enterprise caught up to the Borg and used Shelby's plan of separating the saucer section. Picard had been briefed on this plan before he was assimilated, and knew that the stardrive section was the only threat. As the Borg focused their attack, the saucer launched a shuttlecraft carrying Data and Worf. They beamed aboard the cube and brought Picard back to the Enterprise. The Borg were temporarily confused, but continued on course. Data and Dr. Crusher later learned that the Borg interconnectedness gave them access to the entire Collective through Picard. Data linked himself to Locutus and accessed the Borg command structure as the cube entered Earth orbit. Initial attempts to deactivate the Borg were fruitless, and Riker prepared to ram the Borg cube with the Enterprise in hopes that the collision would disable the vessel. Picard was able to tell Data to instruct the Borg to regenerate, which was a low-priority command. The cycle ended up in a feedback loop, and the cube exploded, cutting Picard's link and restoring his Humanity. Riker returned to his post as Enterprise first officer following Picard's recovery, having proven to himself and others that he was capable of shouldering the burdens of command, but chose to remain on the Enterprise because he liked the friends and relationships he had formed on the ship rather than because he was frightened of reaching for more. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II")
During the Klingon Civil War of 2368, Riker was placed in temporary command of the USS Excalibur along with Geordi La Forge as his 1st officer. The ship was part of an armada led by the Enterprise-D and set up a tachyon detection grid using blockade tactics in order to reveal Romulan assistance to the House of Duras. (TNG: "Redemption II")
On stardate 46235.7, Riker was again left in temporary command of the Enterprise when Captain Picard and three other crew members were transformed into children. The ship was attacked by a pair of B'rel-class Bird-of-Prey ships under the command of Ferengi privateers. During the battle, the Enterprise was overwhelmed and subsequently boarded by the Ferengi. The Ferengi seized control of the ship, and it was only with the help of Captain Picard and the other transformed crewmen that control was regained. (TNG: "Rascals")
Riker was in command during the Enterprise-D's final battle in 2371. The ship had been attacked by the Duras sisters by order of Dr. Tolian Soran. The sisters were given an unfair advantage, as Soran had placed a visual transmitter in La Forge's VISOR, giving them access to the Enterprise shield modulation. Riker's quick thinking led to the identification of a plasma coil flaw on the sisters' old Bird-of-Prey, which was destroyed. Unfortunately, the Enterprise suffered catastrophic damage to its warp core. Riker ordered a saucer separation, and the saucer section maneuvered to safety before the engineering section exploded. The shock wave from the blast caused the saucer to plunge into the atmosphere of Veridian III, where it crash-landed. The entire crew survived, although Riker was disappointed that he would never have the chance to command the ship. (Star Trek Generations)
Diplomacy and cultural exchangeEdit
Riker participated in first contact with the Ferengi in the Delphi Ardu system in 2364. The Enterprise and a Ferengi marauder were trapped in orbit, paralyzed by a Tkon energy-dampening weapon. An away team commanded by Riker made contact with the Tkon portal. The portal sensed Riker's great courage and dignity, while it only found deception with the Ferengi, leading it to grant Riker's request and release both ships. (TNG: "The Last Outpost")
Riker conducted another diplomatic mission that year on the planet Angel I. Survivors from a Federation freighter, the Odin, were discovered on the matriarchal world and sentenced to death for advancing policies to grant equal rights for male members of the society. Riker successfully argued their case to Mistress Beata, Angel I's Elected One, convincing her that change was inevitable. She later allowed the Odin crew and their families from Angel I to be moved to an isolated continent so they could continue their lives without affecting mainstream culture. (TNG: "Angel One")
Riker was an early participant in the Officer Exchange Program, temporarily transferring to a Klingon Bird-of-Prey, the IKS Pagh, in 2365. To prepare for the assignment, he indulged in many different Klingon foods. Worf also gave him an emergency transponder shortly before his departure, just in case of an emergency situation. On board the Pagh, Riker had to quickly learn the Klingon way of doing things, physically fighting the second officer to prove his loyalty to Captain Kargan and enduring the abusive comments of the Klingon crew. At the same time, the Enterprise became infected with a hull-degrading bacterium, which it inadvertently transmitted from the Pagh. The Klingons believed that it was a new Federation weapon and returned to attack the Enterprise. Riker was able to relieve Kargan by giving him the transponder and sending him to the Enterprise, then staging a mock battle with the Starfleet vessel to maintain the honor of the Klingon crew. Riker returned to his post aboard the Enterprise following the incident. (TNG: "A Matter Of Honor")
In 2366, the Enterprise hosted negotiations for rights to the Barzan wormhole. The Federation representative, Mendoza, was poisoned by the Ferengi delegation, requiring Riker to take his place. The wormhole later turned out to be useless, as its terminus fluctuated between the Gamma and Delta Quadrants. (TNG: "The Price")
The Enterprise responded to sensor readings which indicated a Romulan outpost on Alpha Onias III in early 2367, on Riker's birthday. Riker led an away team to investigate, but was trapped by an alien named Barash. The alien had been hidden on the planet by his mother to keep him safe from their enemies, and was given technology to generate any type of fantasy. He became lonely, and hoped Riker would stay to keep him company. When Riker regained consciousness, he was confronted by an Enterprise sixteen years into the future. Dr. Crusher claimed that he was infected by Altarian encephalitis and had lost all memories since Alpha Onias III. He was a single parent with one slightly troublesome child, "Jean-Luc Riker." "Admiral" Picard then arrived on a Romulan warbird with a diplomatic delegation. Riker was to complete the final peace accords with the Romulans, which he had been working on ever since the Enterprise rescued a damaged Romulan ship. Although Riker began to accept his new circumstances and give "Jean-Luc" attention, the simulation quickly began to fall apart as the technology was not able to keep up with Riker. The Enterprise computer was much too slow and the senior staff were unable to answer Riker's questions about the previous sixteen years. Moreover, a recording of his wife revealed her to be Minuet, a holographic fantasy. This illusion gave way to another wherein Riker was imprisoned in a Romulan laboratory. Barash stayed in the form of the child, now called "Ethan." Riker and Ethan plotted an escape, but Riker figured out this second deception when Ethan accidentally called Tomalak "ambassador," a rank he only held in the first illusion. Barash then revealed his true nature to Riker. Will offered him safety and companionship aboard the Enterprise, and the two transported back to the ship. (TNG: "Future Imperfect")
The Enterprise was crippled after a defect caused its dilithium chamber hatch to explode. Initially the incident was blamed on Romulan espionage, but it was later determined to be a problem with the hatch, which had been replaced at Earth Station McKinley a few months previously. Riker participated in the initial questioning of a Klingon suspect named J'Dan. After Admiral Norah Satie came aboard and instigated a "witch hunt" with the intention of forcing out Romulan collaborators, Riker served as defense counsel for Crewman Simon Tarses. Tarses was singled out as a spy because his grandfather was Romulan. Satie's investigation was later canceled by Starfleet Command when it became apparent her accusations had very little factual support. (TNG: "The Drumhead")
Riker piloted Trill ambassador Odan to a meeting on Peliar Zel in 2367. En route, their shuttle was attacked and Odan's host body injured. The symbiont was removed, and later transplanted to Riker at his insistence. Human physiology was not totally compatible with the symbiont, but Odan survived in Riker's body long enough to complete negotiations between the two moons of the planet. Odan had been romantically involved with Dr. Beverly Crusher, and she was confused by Odan's change. She tried to avoid him as much as possible as she was uncomfortable with the Trill way of life. Eventually, Crusher realized that she was attracted to Odan's personality as much as his physical appearance, and made love to him in Will's body. When a new Trill host arrived, the symbiont was removed from Riker, and he recovered with no long-term effects. (TNG: "The Host")
Will was left in command of the Enterprise-D in 2368 while Captain Picard visited Romulus in search of Ambassador Spock. He was ordered to investigate the disappearance of the Vulcan ship T'Pau from Qualor II when the wreckage of its deflector array was found amongst the debris of a Ferengi cargo ship. The Enterprise discovered that a mercenary vessel had been stealing ship components from the surplus depot which orbited the planet. The mercenaries were killed when they attacked the Enterprise, (TNG: "Unification I") forcing Riker to turn to the planet for information. He found a Ferengi trader named Omag who revealed that the Vulcan parts were being sent to Galorndon Core. The Enterprise continued to investigate, and Sela attempted to divert the Enterprise by sending a fake distress signal from a Federation colony. Riker saw through the deception and the Enterprise went to intercept the stolen Vulcan ships at the Romulan Neutral Zone, but they were destroyed by a Romulan Warbird before entering Federation space. (TNG: "Unification II")
Undercover missions Edit
While serving on board the Enterprise-D, Riker participated in away missions in which he employed disguises to protect Starfleet's Prime Directive.
When a cultural observation post on Mintaka III was severely damaged in 2366, it was discovered by a Mintakan named Liko. Liko was severely injured after being startled by the structure's appearance, requiring his transport to the Enterprise for treatment. While there he briefly woke and saw Captain Picard, whom he believed to be a deity. Several members of the observation team were also injured and wandered from the post. Riker and Troi attempted to correct the damage done to their culture by masquerading as Mintakans. They tried to convince the Mintakans that Liko was merely delusional. Riker was able to retrieve one of the observers, Dr. Palmer, from the Mintakans, but Troi was left behind. The Mintakans, terrified that Picard was a god and would come to punish them, wanted to execute her as a sacrifice to Picard. Picard later transported their leader aboard the Enterprise and convinced her that he was not a god, and Troi was released. (TNG: "Who Watches The Watchers")
In 2367, Riker was injured while observing the Malcorians. In preparation for the mission, his face was surgically altered to look Malcorian. He posed as Rivas Jakara. After being injured, he was treated in the local hospital. A female Malcorian nurse, Lanel, who discovered that he was an alien, offered him help when he agreed to make love with her. Unfortunately, Riker was soon discovered by others and detained. Minister Krola, a government official who was frightened of the idea of alien visitors, attempted to kill himself with Riker's phaser. Riker was eventually rescued by Dr. Crusher and Worf. (TNG: "First Contact")
In 2369, he undertook an undercover mission to Tilonus IV to find and rescue a Federation research team on the planet. He was disguised as a Tilonian merchant but was eventually discovered, ambushed, and drugged. The Tilonians then tried to operate a neural drain on him in an attempt to learn secrets in his mind, but his mind kept fighting back with recent memories that included a play about an alien sanitarium. His mental defenses eventually allowed him to regain consciousness and fight his way to his concealed communicator, allowing the Enterprise to beam him away to safety. (TNG: "Frame of Mind")
Also in 2370, Riker and Ro Laren were sent on a mission to infiltrate the Maquis. Riker was disguised as a Bajoran and claimed to be a relative of Ro's. Ro eventually betrayed Riker and joined the Maquis, but she allowed him to leave. Riker wished her "good luck" as he returned to the Enterprise. (TNG: "Preemptive Strike")
Disciplinary actions Edit
The Enterprise left Riker and other personnel at the research station of Dr. Nel Apgar in 2366. They were to inspect his Krieger wave converter technology, as his research had been funded by Starfleet. While there, Apgar's wife, Manua, tried to seduce him. Dr. Apgar caught them kissing, and he and Riker fought nearly the entire visit. Tensions were at a breaking point when the Enterprise returned to pick up the crew. Shortly after Riker beamed out, the station exploded, killing Apgar. Riker was initially suspected of murder due to accusations by Apgar's widow and assistant, and he was placed under arrest by Tanugan authorities. The Enterprise crew began their own investigation using the holodeck. They determined that the station was not destroyed as a result of a phaser blast from Riker into the station's power core, but as a result of an energy beam directed at Riker by Apgar. Apgar had actually been developing the new technology into a weapon which he wished to sell to the Romulans, and he was worried that Riker had discovered his plan, which would terminate the research before the weapon could be created. The beam was intended to disperse Riker's pattern as he beamed off the station, but it unexpectedly deflected off the transporter beam and into the power core. Upon this revelation, chief investigator Krag dropped all charges. (TNG: "A Matter of Perspective")
Shortly after Cardassian withdrawal from the Bajor sector in 2369, Captain Picard was reassigned to a covert infiltration of a Cardassian outpost on Celtris III. Command of the Enterprise was transferred to Edward Jellico at the order of Admiral Alynna Nechayev. Riker tried to convince her that he was suited for the position, but she wanted an officer with experience in dealing with the Cardassians. The transition from Picard to Jellico was difficult for the entire crew. He reassigned many crew from engineering to security, placed overbearing demands on all departments, and instituted new duty shift cycles which led to personnel management problems. As first officer, Riker was the recipient of complaints. Jellico saw Riker as arrogant for questioning his changes and questioned Picard's high opinion of him. (TNG: "Chain of Command, Part I") Riker was present for the negotiations with the Cardassians and learned that Picard had been captured on Celtris III. Jellico deemed Picard lost and refused to attempt a rescue mission. He and Riker got into a verbal altercation in which Riker accused Jellico of sacrificing Picard's life and Jellico accusing Riker of challenging his authority. Riker was subsequently relieved of duty, with Data taking his place as first officer. The Enterprise later developed a plan to ambush a Cardassian invasion fleet in the McAllister C-5 Nebula, involving a shuttlecraft planting mines on the hulls of the Cardassian warships. Riker was the only pilot with the experience to fly the mission, and Jellico returned him to duty following a conversation wherein they both vowed not to let their opinions of one another affect their duties. (TNG: "Chain of Command, Part II")
Early in 2370, Captain Picard was believed killed on Dessica II. He was actually transported to a mercenary ship commanded by Arctus Baran and joined their crew with the name "Galen." The Enterprise pursued the mercenaries to the Barradas system, where Riker too was abducted. He worked with Captain Picard to learn more about the mission of the mercenaries and assumed the role of a rebellious and untrustworthy Starfleet officer, trying to gain the trust of Baran. He later attempted to deactivate the Enterprise's shields with his out-of-date command codes, giving a signal to Data to drop the shields. (TNG: "Gambit, Part I") Picard reconfigured the ship's weapons to a harmless setting, and the Enterprise pretended to be damaged. The mercenaries continued on their quest, and Picard eventually learned that they were planning to assemble an ancient Vulcan psionic weapon. The final component was aboard a shuttle piloted by a Klingon named Koral, who had been pulled over by the Enterprise. The mercenaries planned a raid on the Enterprise with Riker's help. Meanwhile, Baran instructed Riker to kill Picard, who had challenged Baran's authority. The group transported to the Enterprise and found the last component, but Picard then shot Riker before returning to the mercenary vessel. Riker was merely stunned, however, and reassumed command of the Enterprise. The ship went to Vulcan and stopped T'Paal, a Vulcan isolationist, from using the weapon. Back on the Enterprise, Picard jokingly suggested that Data place Riker under arrest for treason. Data did not understand the joke, and actually brought Riker to the brig. (TNG: "Gambit, Part II")
In 2370, the wreckage of the Pegasus was detected in the Devolin system. Erik Pressman, now an admiral, came aboard the Enterprise and the ship was sent to locate the Pegasus and to salvage it. Starfleet Security was interested in retrieving the phasing cloaking device, which also piqued Romulan interest. Pressman then told Riker that the the head of Starfleet Security had sent orders not to discuss the true mission of the Pegasus. The badly damaged Pegasus was found submerged deep within asteroid Gamma 601, but the phasing cloak was still intact. It was returned to the Enterprise, but the Enterprise was now trapped within the asteroid as a result of Romulan weapons fire. The phasing cloak was the ship's only hope of escape, and Riker revealed its existence to the Enterprise crew, to the ire of Pressman. La Forge and Data were able to connect and activate the cloak, letting the Enterprise escape. Picard informed the Romulans of what had happened, then took Pressman into custody. Riker was also arrested, at his own insistence, and appeared before a board of inquiry at Starbase 247. Riker, however, was allowed to return to duty despite this setback. (TNG: "The Pegasus")
Riker had only discussed the truth about the Pegasus with ship's counselor Deanna Troi, and had difficulty deciding whether or not to reveal the true circumstances of the Pegasus incident to Captain Picard. At Troi's suggestion, Riker recreated the final mission of Enterprise NX-01 on the holodeck in order to gain command insight and to try to learn from the relationship between Captain Jonathan Archer and his chief engineer, Commander Charles Tucker III. He interacted with several Enterprise crew members as chef, and as a MACO participated in the mission to rescue Shran's daughter. By observing Tucker's willingness to disobey orders during a critical moment, saving the life of Archer and ensuring the birth of the Federation, Riker realized that telling the truth and trusting Captain Picard's faith in him was much more important than obeying Pressman's orders. (ENT: "These Are the Voyages...")
Medical record Edit
While leading an away team to planet Minos in 2364, Riker was encased in a stasis field by one of the automated weapons drones reactivated by the USS Drake. Data was able to use a phaser to free him. (TNG: "The Arsenal of Freedom")
Later that year, Riker was "absorbed" by the malevolent entity Armus on Vagra II. He was later returned to the planet unharmed, although he was completely covered in a viscous black liquid. (TNG: "Skin of Evil")
While exploring Surata IV in 2365, Riker was stuck by the thorn of a native plant. The thorn contained an organism which began to attack Riker's central nervous system and caused him to fall into a coma. Dr. Katherine Pulaski was able to stimulate certain memory centers in Riker's brain. The emotional response provided resistance to the organism, which was suppressed. (TNG: "Shades of Gray")
Riker was part of a cultural observation team on Malcor III in 2367. The Malcorians were on the verge of warp capability, and the Federation planned to make first contact with the race. However, Riker was mugged and badly injured in a Malcorian city, and was brought to a Malcorian hospital for treatment. His different anatomy and physiology perplexed the Malcorian doctors, and rumors soon spread that Riker was indeed an alien. Despite his best efforts to escape, Riker was kept captive and his whereabouts left unknown to the Enterprise. Furthermore, the strong xenophobic tendencies of the Malcorians were demonstrated when Krola, a member of Malcorian leader Durken's staff, tried to make it look as if Riker assassinated him in order to make it appear as if the Federation was hostile and therefore discourage any contact. Riker was eventually rescued by a team from the Enterprise and treated by Dr. Crusher. However, the incident proved to Durken that the Malcorians were not ready for contact with other species, and he requested that the Federation leave the system until the culture was better prepared. (TNG: "First Contact")
Riker's arm was broken when the Enterprise investigated an apparent distress call from the USS Essex on Mab-Bu VI in 2368. His injury prevented one of the disembodied criminals trapped there from inhabiting his body. (TNG: "Power Play")
In 2368, Riker was one of three Enterprise officers mentally assaulted by a Ullian named Jev. Jev forced Riker to relive an accident in main engineering where he was forced to seal a crewmember, Ensign Keller, behind an isolation door, causing her death. Riker then fell into a coma, which was believed to be a side effect of Iresine syndrome. Investigation by Enterprise personnel revealed that Jev was the cause of the comas, and doctors from the Ullian homeworld helped with Riker's recovery. (TNG: "Violations")
Early in 2369, Commander La Forge made enhancements to the sensor array during a survey mission to the Amargosa Diaspora. The modifications involved channeling warp power through the main deflector. Unknown at the time, the energy signatures reached into a tertiary subspace domain and allowed a group of solanogen-based lifeforms from another universe to gain access to the Enterprise. They wanted to learn more about our universe and potentially discover a way to project their universe into ours. Riker and several other crewmembers were abducted and analyzed by the aliens, sometimes involving gory medical experiments. Riker's right arm was amputated and reattached at some point. The side effects from the experiments left him very fatigued and claustrophobic, and it was these symptoms which led him to speak to Counselor Troi. She brought Riker together with other Enterprise personnel who were experiencing similar feelings, and the group was able to create a holodeck simulation of the alien environment where they were taken. Later, Dr. Crusher found evidence of the medical experiments in all of the abductees. In order to close the link between the normal universe and the solanagen universe and seal a spatial rupture forming in the Enterprise cargo bay, Riker wore a homing beacon which was able to isolate the tetryon emissions emanating from the solanagen universe and allow La Forge to initiate a graviton beam to seal the breach. Dr. Crusher also gave him a counter-agent to ward off the sedative used by the aliens. Later that night, he was removed from the ship and taken to the alien laboratory, where the homing beacon allowed the Enterprise to seal the rupture shortly after Riker returned with another missing Enterprise crewmember. (TNG: "Schisms")
Also in 2369, the Enterprise stopped at the Remmler Array for a baryon sweep. While there, the Enterprise command crew was invited to a reception at Arkaria Base. A terrorist group took them hostage in order to secure trilithium resin from the Enterprise. Dr. Crusher devised a plan to use La Forge's VISOR as a way to knock their captors into unconsciousness, but needed a distraction to make the modifications. Riker went up to one of the terrorists and tried to punch him, but was hit in the jaw himself. (TNG: "Starship Mine")
Later in 2369, Riker was sent to Tilonus IV to track a Federation research team lost when the government collapsed into anarchy. During the mission, he was abducted and held captive in a facility run by Dr. Syrus. The doctor began experiments on Riker's mind which threatened his sanity. His mind resisted the torture by accessing memories of a play, Frame of Mind, which Riker had participated in as the main character shortly before the mission. He began shifting between practicing the play on the Enterprise and actually living the plot of the play, with the characters as Tilonians. He was committed to the hospital after being found guilty of murder and was threatened with synaptic reconstruction before resorting to a procedure called reflection therapy. In the end the two events merged, with Riker being rescued from the mental hospital by the Enterprise. Syrus was present throughout the hallucinations, allowing Riker to deduce that he was fantasizing and regain consciousness. He was rescued by the Enterprise before Syrus was able to inflict further damage, and he personally dismantled the Frame of Mind set as part of his therapy. (TNG: "Frame of Mind")
Riker hated cats, but was one of many Enterprise crewmembers who attempted to care for Data's cat, Spot. Riker was in charge of feeding Spot while Data was away at a conference in late 2369, and was scratched on the forehead as he attempted to set down a bowl of food. Riker later passed responsibility for Spot to Dr. Crusher and was somewhat wary of entering Data's quarters. (TNG: "Timescape")
In 2370, Dr. Beverly Crusher treated Reginald Barclay for a case of Urodelan flu and accidentally activated a dormant gene, mutating his T cells. The gene became airborne and began to affect the rest of the crew, causing them to "de-evolve" into more primitive forms of life. Riker devolved into an australopithecine and was found by Picard and Data attempting to break open Livingston's fish tank in the captain's ready room. He then tried to attack Picard and Data, but was stunned by a phaser and taken to sickbay. Data eventually discovered a way to reverse the effects, and the crew was returned to normal. (TNG: "Genesis")
The Enterprise-E Edit
First contact Edit
Riker transferred to the new USS Enterprise-E in 2372, along with most of the senior staff of the Enterprise-D. In 2373 the Enterprise took part in the Battle of Sector 001 against Starfleet orders. Thanks to the ship's intervention, the Borg cube was destroyed, but not before it launched a sphere which generated a temporal vortex and traveled to the year 2063. The Enterprise pursued and destroyed the sphere before it could prevent the first flight of Zefram Cochrane aboard the Phoenix warp ship. The Phoenix was damaged during the attack, and several Enterprise-E crewmembers assisted Cochrane in repairs. Riker also needed to convince Cochrane of the importance of his first warp flight, as Cochrane considered canceling it following the Borg attack. Riker, along with Geordi La Forge, was present on board the Phoenix for Cochrane's historic flight. (Star Trek: First Contact)
Fighting the Son'a Edit
In 2375 Riker, along with the Enterprise crew, defied Federation orders and rebelled against the plan to relocate the Ba'ku people from their homeworld in order to harvest the metaphasic radiation from their planet's ring system. While Picard and the rest of the senior staff protected the Ba'ku on the planet, Riker took the Enterprise out of the Briar Patch and alerted the Federation Council to the real issues surrounding the forced relocation. During the journey out of the Briar Patch, the Enterprise was engaged by two Son'a vessels. The ship was seriously damaged in the process and forced to eject its warp core to seal a subspace tear. Riker needed to invent a new tactic on the fly. Dubbed the "Riker maneuver" by chief engineer Geordi La Forge, it involved collecting metreon gas with the Bussard collectors and then venting the gas while the ship continued to move. The cloud left behind the ship reacted with the isolytic weapons of the Son'a ships, destroying one and crippling the other. Riker then returned with the Enterprise in time to disable Ru'afo's flagship and beam Picard off of the Son'a collector before it exploded. (Star Trek: Insurrection)
Battle with Shinzon Edit
Will Riker's last mission aboard the Enterprise-E was during its encounter with Praetor Shinzon in 2379. Although Riker was eager to begin his life aboard the Titan with Counselor Troi, he realized how important it was to stop Shinzon and was willing to sacrifice anything in order to prevent him from using his thalaron radiation weapon on Earth.
The Scimitar fought and weakened the Enterprise in the Battle of the Bassen Rift, sending several boarding parties to the ship. Riker and Worf took a security detail to fight off the invading Remans. The Reman Viceroy entered the Jefferies tubes in an attempt to reach the bridge and kidnap Captain Picard. Riker followed and they fought hand-to-hand, with Riker eventually killing the Viceroy by knocking him down an Enterprise maintenance shaft. (Star Trek Nemesis)
Command offers Edit
Riker was offered several commands during his tenure aboard the Enterprise. In addition to the aforementioned USS Drake, he was offered the USS Aries in 2365 and the USS Melbourne in 2366. (TNG: "The Icarus Factor", "The Best of Both Worlds") The Aries command was offered to Riker because of his exceptional abilities as an explorer and diplomat. He turned down the Aries posting because he felt he was not yet ready to leave the Enterprise and the distinction that the first officer post held. (TNG: "The Icarus Factor") Starfleet put a great amount of pressure on Riker to accept command of the Melbourne. Many admirals and even Captain Picard felt that he had remained too long on board the Enterprise and should have accepted a command by that point in his career, lest it seem like he was standing still in a sea of upstart officers like Shelby. Even Riker questioned why he remained as Enterprise first officer, and was unable to understand what kept him from leaving. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds")
- "She's a fine ship, Will."
- "Yes, but she's not the Enterprise."
- Picard and Riker (about the Melbourne)
Ultimately Riker did not need to make a choice, as he was field-promoted to captain during the encounter with the Borg and the Melbourne was subsequently destroyed at Wolf 359. Although it was believed Riker would have a pick of any command because his decisive leadership was a major factor in the defeat of the Borg, he still elected to remain Enterprise first officer. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II")
By 2379, Riker decided to accept promotion to captain of the USS Titan, assuming command of the ship that year. Troi also transferred to the Titan. The Titan was dispatched to the Romulan Neutral Zone to serve as the command ship for a diplomatic task force. (Star Trek Nemesis)
Personal interests Edit
Riker was a jazz aficionado, and his favorite musical instrument was the trombone. Although he was an accomplished player, his skills were not quite up to that of a professional musician (TNG: "11001001") and he had trouble with certain pieces, including "Night Bird". (TNG: "Second Chances")
Will first began playing poker as a junior officer aboard the Potemkin. (TNG: "Lower Decks") He became a notoriously good player aboard the Enterprise, participating in most of the ship's weekly poker games and even teaching master classes on the game. (TNG: "The Measure Of A Man", "The Price") He also knew several card tricks, one of which was used in a failed attempt to fool Data in 2367. (TNG: "Legacy") His poker skills were noted by Captain Picard, and their connection to diplomatic skills was one of the reasons he was selected to replace Mendoza as the Federation representative in the Barzan wormhole negotiations. (TNG: "The Price")
In an alternate timeline, Dr Crusher noted that Will raised his left eyebrow slightly while bluffing, although she later claimed to be kidding. (TNG: "Cause and Effect") In 2369 Riker, La Forge, and Worf made an unconventional wager with Dr. Crusher: if any of the men won the hand, she would become a brunette, and if Crusher won, the men would shave their beards. However, the senior staff were called to the bridge before the hand was over. (TNG: "The Quality of Life")
Riker was skilled in other forms of gambling and won large sums of latinum at the dabo tables in Quark's during an Enterprise visit to Deep Space 9. Quark claimed he was unable to pay Riker at the time, and later voided the winnings in exchange for information about the whereabouts of the Duras sisters Lursa and B'Etor. (TNG: "Firstborn") Riker met DS9 officer Jadzia Dax at Quark's about this time. (DS9: "Defiant")
Riker had several sports-related hobbies. Anbo-jyutsu was one such interest, (TNG: "The Icarus Factor") as were Parrises squares (TNG: "Future Imperfect", "Timescape") and handball. (ENT: "These Are the Voyages...") He had skills in the martial arts, tai chi chuan in particular (TNG: "Second Chances"), and took Worf's mok'bara classes. (TNG: "Clues") He also enjoyed fishing. One of his favorite fishing spots was Curtis Creek, which he recreated in a holoprogram. (TNG: "The Icarus Factor", "Second Chances", "Future Imperfect")
Other interests Edit
Riker was quite skilled at three-dimensional chess, as he used the Queen's gambit coupled with Aldabren Exchange to defeat the Ferengi Nibor during the closing reception of the biennial Trade Agreements Conference aboard the USS Enterprise-D. (TNG: "Ménage à Troi") Riker had an interest in cooking from when he had had to fend for himself as a child. (TNG: "Time Squared", "Remember Me") He was a member of Beverly Crusher's theater troupe aboard the Enterprise-D and played the lead in two plays, Something for Breakfast (TNG: "A Fistful of Datas") and Frame of Mind. (TNG: "Frame of Mind") His favorite vacation spot was Risa. (TNG: "Captain's Holiday", "The Game") Riker also enjoyed dabo, although the beckoning profits did not appear to be the motivating factor. At Quark's on Deep Space 9, Lt. Jadzia Dax staked Riker three strips of gold-pressed latinum when his winning-streak ran dry. He would later contact Quark and trade his unclaimed winnings for information on the Duras sisters. (TNG: "Firstborn"; DS9: "Defiant")
Personal relationships Edit
Will and Deanna were finally married in 2379, shortly before their transfer to the USS Titan. Their wedding party in Alaska included Captain Picard as best man, Dr. Crusher as bridesmaid, and Data, La Forge, Worf, and Wesley Crusher as groomsmen. Guinan was also present. Another ceremony, a traditional Betazoid wedding, was planned on Betazed shortly following. However, that ceremony was delayed when the Enterprise was diverted to Romulus. (Star Trek Nemesis)
Because of his fair and decisive command style and his easy-going, affable personality, Riker was popular amongst the Enterprise-D crew and had friendships with senior staff members as well as junior officers. (TNG: "Data's Day") Some junior officers, such as Sam Lavelle, found him less easy to get along with. Riker was slightly annoyed with Lavelle, claiming he was too eager to please. Later, Counselor Troi suggested that his adversity actually stemmed from the fact that Lavelle was very much like Riker when he himself had been a junior officer. (TNG: "Lower Decks")
Riker had known Geordi La Forge longer than any of the crew, but they didn't become friends until they served on the Enterprise together. (TNG: "The Next Phase") He counseled La Forge following the loss of his mother in 2370, although La Forge did not heed his advice at the time. (TNG: "Interface")
While Dr. Beverly Crusher was head of Starfleet Medical in 2365, Riker was one of the Enterprise officers who made sure Wesley Crusher kept up with his studies and responsibilities aboard the ship. (TNG: "The Child") Riker and Guinan tried to advise Wesley on his relationship with Salia, but their assistance rapidly went off track from its original intention. (TNG: "The Dauphin")
Jean-Luc Picard Edit
When choosing a first officer prior to the launch of the Enterprise in 2363, Captain Picard nearly passed over Riker's record. He stopped when he saw the incident with Captain DeSoto and Riker's refusal to allow the captain to beam down. This was a major factor in Picard's selection of Riker as his first officer. He was impressed that a first officer would challenge a captain's authority out of regard for the safety of the captain and the crew. (TNG: "The Pegasus") The trust Picard held in his first officer almost certainly saved the Federation. When the Enterprise encountered the Borg cube after the massacre at Wolf 359, Locutus of Borg, being reminded of that trust by Riker, would, though he knew perfectly well it was a lie, at least listen and respond to Riker's attempt to negotiate the circumstances of assimilation, distracting the Borg long enough to locate Locutus on the cube and effect a rescue, eventually using Picard's link to the Collective to destroy the ship in Earth orbit. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds", "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II")
Captain Picard was very cold towards Riker during their first meeting and ordered the manual docking as a test of Riker's abilities. When he performed the docking with great expertise and skill, Picard formally greeted Riker, requesting that his new first officer make sure that he not allow Picard to "make an ass of himself" in front of the many children aboard the ship. One year later, Picard felt as if he had not done a good job of congratulating Riker, so he did it once more, this time making his feelings clear. (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint", "The Icarus Factor")
Eventually, Riker and Picard became very good friends. With the best of intentions, Riker suggested that Picard vacation at Risa in 2366, asking him to return a horga'hn. Picard did not realize the history behind the statue and kept it with him after purchasing it for Riker, making it appear as if the captain was seeking jamaharon. (TNG: "Captain's Holiday")
The only time Riker and Picard ever verbally fought in front of the Enterprise crew was in 2366 while under the influence of emotions projected by Ambassador Sarek (whom Picard greatly respected), suffering from Bendii Syndrome. (TNG: "Sarek")
Picard tried to counsel Riker when he was offered command of the USS Melbourne in 2366, reminding him that the Enterprise would continue without his presence and that officers like Shelby were very much as he himself had been before he learned the lessons necessary for command of a starship. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds") Riker also came to Captain Picard for advice when Worf wanted his help with the hegh'bat and when he struggled with a decision involving Soren. (TNG: "Ethics", "The Outcast")
In early 2369, members of the Enterprise crew, including Picard, were turned into twelve-year-olds by the effects of a molecular reversion field. Unfortunately, a group of Ferengi commandeered the Enterprise about that time. Believing Picard to be a child, they confined him to a classroom aboard the ship while Riker was held in the observation lounge. Picard threw a tantrum and demanded to see his "father," Riker. They pretended to be father and son in order for Picard to plant a suggestive message to Riker, requesting access to the Enterprise main computer from the classroom. Picard, along with the other affected Enterprise crew members, was able to design a plan to retake the Enterprise from the Ferengi. (TNG: "Rascals")
During the Pegasus incident of 2370, Picard tried to investigate the circumstances surrounding the ship's disappearance. He ran into many dead-ends, as most records had been sealed, and had to use many favors in Starfleet Command to even get a look at the findings of the board convened to investigate the loss of the Pegasus. Riker would not divulge further information under the orders of Admiral Erik Pressman, and Picard reluctantly continued the search. He made it clear to Riker that he hoped he still considered the safety of the Enterprise his top priority, and said that if he found this to be untrue, he would re-evaluate his trust in Riker. After the crisis was resolved, Picard visited Riker in the brig and returned him to duty aboard the Enterprise, understanding Riker's mistake in the past and satisfied that he had made the correct decisions in the present. (TNG: "The Pegasus")
Picard served as Riker's best man during his wedding to Deanna Troi in 2379. He gave a toast to Riker, calling him his "trusted right arm" for the previous fifteen years and lamenting his loss of a fine first officer. (Star Trek Nemesis)
While aboard the Enterprise, Picard generally referred to Riker as "Number One", a nickname he used for his first officer. (TNG: "Disaster") Chillingly, Locutus of Borg also called Riker "Number One" while dealing with the Enterprise crew. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds", "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II")
Worf considered Riker one of his closest friends, despite their vastly different personalities. Riker was one of the only Humans who participated in Worf's brutally violent holodeck calisthenics program. (TNG: "Where Silence Has Lease") In 2365, Worf wanted to transfer to the USS Aries with Riker, concerned for his safety. (TNG: "The Icarus Factor") Riker also tried to convince Worf to donate his blood in order to save the Romulan Patahk, rescued from Galorndon Core in 2366. He tried to make Worf realize that this gesture of goodwill might be the first step toward healing the differences between their peoples. (TNG: "The Enemy")
Worf asked Riker to assist him in the hegh'bat, a Klingon ritual suicide, following his spinal cord injury in 2368. Riker was appalled by the request, feeling that Worf's life was still worth living and that suicide would be an insult to all of their comrades who had struggled for life up until their death. He researched the tradition before coming to Worf with his decision. He found that the hegh'bat was generally practiced with the oldest son, and then left it up to Worf to ask his young son Alexander Rozhenko to help. Worf was unable to ask Alexander to participate in the ritual, and later decided to attempt a risky surgery involving the genetronic replicator. (TNG: "Ethics")
Riker also liked to good-naturedly rib Worf, who was notorious for his lack of a sense of humor. This would be proven correct as Worf would only glare or growl in response to Riker's antics. During the Iyaaran visit in 2370, Riker jokingly chastised Worf for thinking the dress uniform was too feminine and weak-looking, later telling Worf he thought he looked good in a dress. (TNG: "Liaisons")
In late 2370, Worf began dating Deanna Troi, which placed some strain on his relationship with Riker despite Worf's best efforts to prevent it. (TNG: "Eye of the Beholder", "All Good Things...") Worf tried to ask Riker for his permission to date Troi, but the attempt came off as comic rather than serious. (TNG: "Eye of the Beholder")
Riker first met Data on the Enterprise holodeck in 2364. Data was trying to whistle "Pop Goes the Weasel," but could not finish the last few notes. Riker helped him finish, later giving Data the nickname "Pinocchio" in reference to Data's wish to become Human. Riker later recalled this incident fondly during Data's wake, although he was unable to remember the song Data was whistling. (Star Trek Nemesis) At first Riker was skeptical about Data's abilities as a machine, assuming that his rank of lieutenant commander was merely honorary, although Data had earned the rank as much as any other Starfleet officer of the same rank and above. (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint")
In 2365, Data's status as a sentient individual came into question. A trial was set on Starbase 173, but the base lacked a complete legal staff. As Enterprise first officer, Riker was forced to act as attorney for Bruce Maddox and was given the difficult task of convincing Judge Phillipa Louvois that as an android, Data was not sentient. He very nearly proved that Data was a simple machine by deactivating him, but Picard's defense later made Louvois grant Data complete rights as a sentient being. Riker was distressed over the incident and felt terrible that he nearly cost Data his rights. Data did not hold any ill will towards Riker, though, and was actually grateful that Riker participated, for if he had not, the ruling would have been a default in Maddox's favor. He assured Riker that he would not forget that the actions the commander found so upsetting had saved his life. (TNG: "The Measure Of A Man")
Riker was also well aware of the fondness the rest of the crew felt for Data. In 2366, after Data's apparent death in a shuttlecraft explosion (while ferrying hytritium, a compound too unstable for transporter use), upon seeing La Forge's furious refusal to accept that Data himself might have been responsible for the accident, Riker told Picard that, for someone incapable of feeling emotions, he was quite capable of bringing them out in others. Soon afterward he accidentally brought about Data's recovery, as it was Riker's suspicions – that since the hytritium, needed to purge tricyanate from the water on Beta Agni II, did so in seconds rather than hours, the water must have been poisoned – which launched an investigation of Kivas Fajo, who had provided the hytritium (in exactly the amount needed). Upon learning of Fajo's status as a collector, the crew, deducing that their friend's death had been faked, quickly tracked down Fajo's ship and returned Data to the Enterprise. (TNG: "The Most Toys")
Data sought Riker's help and advice on several occasions. One instance was when he asked for Riker's advice on friendship and betrayal following a mission involving Ishara Yar in 2367. (TNG: "Legacy") Data also asked for Riker's help when Keiko Ishikawa temporarily called off her wedding to Miles O'Brien in 2367. (TNG: "Data's Day") He also came to Riker for advice when he started to date Jenna D'Sora. (TNG: "In Theory")
Kyle Riker Edit
Will saw his father Kyle Riker for the first time in fifteen years when he came aboard the Enterprise to brief him on the USS Aries command. The two remained adversarial, despite Kyle's wish to heal any wounds before Riker departed on his mission. Dr. Pulaski, an old flame of Kyle's, told Will about Kyle's bravery following the Tholian attack and suggested that the time had come to resolve their conflict. Will and Kyle decided to settle their differences with a match of anbo-jytsu, at which time Will discovered that Kyle had been cheating since Will was twelve. The activity allowed them to vent the tension and have an actual conversation about their true feelings, which they had never done. Kyle finally told Will that he loved him before returning to Starbase Montgomery. (TNG: "The Icarus Factor") After this incident, Will was finally able to put their past difficulties behind him. (TNG: "Second Chances")
Thomas Riker Edit
The Enterprise was sent to Nervala IV in late 2369 when the atmospheric disturbances began to subside. Riker led an away team to the surface, and discovered his duplicate, later known as Thomas Riker. The two quickly clashed over various issues, including Tom's resistance to direct orders and his attempts to rekindle a relationship with Deanna Troi. Tom felt that Will was the one who had benefited from his misery of being stuck on the planet for eight years. After working together to retrieve log files from the station computers and saving one another's lives, they began to accept one another. Thomas transferred to the USS Gandhi, and Will gave him their trombone as a parting gift. (TNG: "Second Chances")
Riker spent the night with Mistress Beata during his mission to Angel I in 2364, presenting her with an Albeni meditation crystal. She was fascinated by his strength and power, traits which were not abundant in the males of her world. Riker donned the traditional clothing of the planet, drawing snickers from Counselor Troi and Lieutenant Natasha Yar. (TNG: "Angel One")
The Bynars created a holographic woman named Minuet to distract Riker while they hijacked the Enterprise-D in 2364. Riker found her convincingly real and was disappointed when her program was lost after the Bynars left the ship. (TNG: "11001001") Her image was used by Barash's holosimulators to create a wife for Riker in the illusory future he experienced in 2367, making Riker realize the deception. (TNG: "Future Imperfect")
Lwaxana Troi Edit
Ambassador Lwaxana Troi entered the Betazoid phase in 2365. When she visited the Enterprise, she set her sights on several male crewmembers as potential mates, including Riker. She announced their "wedding" on the bridge of the Enterprise shortly before moving on to Captain Picard. (TNG: "Manhunt")
Brenna Odell Edit
The Enterprise worked to reunite the Gatherers with their Acamarian home in 2366. Riker became involved with one of Sovereign Marouk's aides, Yuta. Yuta was actually a Tralesta who had been genetically altered to deliver a microvirus to members of another clan, the Lornak, which the Tralestas had fought centuries earlier. The last Lornak, Chorgan, was now leader of the Gatherers, and Yuta attempted to assassinate him. Data and Dr. Crusher later discovered Yuta's true nature, and Riker was forced to kill her in order to prevent Chorgan's death. (TNG: "The Vengeance Factor")
Riker returned from shore leave in late 2366 and saw Data's "daughter" Lal in Ten Forward. He did not realize that she was an android, and flirted with her. Lal immediately picked Riker up and planted a kiss on his lips, copying behavior she had observed earlier. When Data asked Riker what his intentions were with his daughter, Riker hastily left, embarrassed and confused. (TNG: "The Offspring")
While Riker was held captive in the Malcorian hospital in 2367, a nurse named Lanel approached him and offered to help him escape if he made love to her, as it had long been her dream to do so with an alien. Riker tried to maneuver his way out of the situation by claiming there were differences between their cultures, but Lanel was persistent. It is unclear just how far the two went with their relationship, but Lanel eventually helped Riker try to escape. When asked if she would ever see him again, Riker somewhat sarcastically responded he would look her up next time he passed through her star system. (TNG: "First Contact")
Carmen Davila Edit
Riker romanced Carmen Davila in early 2368 while some of the Enterprise crew helped establish a colony on Melona IV. However, Davila was killed when the Crystalline Entity ravaged that world. Riker wrote a brief letter to Davila's family when Starfleet informed them of her death. Riker believed that her death and the loss of countless other lives at the hands of the Entity were reason enough to destroy it rather than attempt communication. (TNG: "Silicon Avatar")
Etana Jol Edit
Riker visited Risa later that year and met a Ktarian female named Etana Jol. Jol was actually working for a Ktarian dissident movement which attempted to take over the Federation in 2368. She was able to get Riker addicted to the game they used in the mind control plot, which he then returned to the Enterprise. Fortunately, Data, Wesley Crusher and Robin Lefler were able to reverse the effects of the game and foil the Ktarian plot. (TNG: "The Game")
Ro Laren Edit
When the Enterprise was affected by a Satarran memory weapon in 2368, Riker and Ensign Ro Laren felt an attraction to one another. They spent several nights together before Dr. Crusher discovered a way to restore the memories of the entire crew. (TNG: "Conundrum") Later that year, Riker later wanted to say a few words about Ro at the funeral planned when it was believed she and La Forge were dead. Ro was frustrated because she and La Forge were rephased before Riker made his speech. (TNG: "The Next Phase")
In 2368 Riker helped the J'naii rescue the crew of one of their shuttlecraft trapped in a pocket of null space. During the planning stages of the mission he became close to one of their pilots, Soren. The two were attracted to one another, a relationship forbidden by the oppressive government of the J'naii. Their relationship was discovered and Soren was arrested. She was given psychological treatment to remove her inclinations to be female. With help from Worf, Riker mounted an illicit rescue mission, but it was too late. She refused to go along with him and did not wish to be returned to the way she was before treatment. (TNG: "The Outcast")
Amanda Rogers Edit
Amanda Rogers came aboard the Enterprise in 2369. She had a somewhat obvious crush on Commander Riker, which he found flattering but did not reciprocate. Q used her interest in him to discern whether or not she had the abilities of the Q, causing several cargo barrels to fall from a ledge onto Riker. Amanda deflected the barrels to Riker's side. Later, after Q had begun to tempt Amanda with her new-found abilities, she abducted Riker and brought him to a romantic fantasy environment. Will still turned down her advances, but Amanda then used her powers to cause him to fall in love with her. Ultimately, Amanda realized that the encounter was devoid of meaning and sent him back to the Enterprise. (TNG: "True Q")
Rebecca Smith Edit
Will dated a new tactical officer, Rebecca Smith, in 2370. They went for a walk in the arboretum and became intimate, but the mood was ruined when Riker rolled into Cypirion cactus and was stuck by several thorns. (TNG: "Genesis")
Deanna Troi Edit
Deanna Troi and Will Riker began an intense and close relationship shortly following his posting to Betazed. They referred to each other as imzadi, a Betazoid word for "beloved". Troi apparently taught Riker how to communicate telepathically, but he seemed to have lost the ability by 2364. (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint") Will later remarked that he knew Deanna better than anyone. (TNG: "Man of the People") One of their favorite and most special locations was Janaran Falls. After Riker was transferred to the Potemkin, the two stayed in touch and planned to meet at Risa in 2361, but Will was promoted shortly after the Nervala IV mission and forced to cancel their date. He made his career a priority over their relationship, and they gradually lost touch and did not see one another until they were both posted to the new USS Enterprise in 2364. (TNG: "Second Chances") It was difficult to see each other again, and Troi tried to speak to Riker alone during their mission to Farpoint Station. He maintained a distance, and she did not make another attempt. (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint") They eventually decided to keep a professional yet friendly relationship. They stayed close friends and confidants, often approaching each other either to talk or for support in times of crisis. (TNG: "Violations", "Second Chances") As first officer and counselor, they were required to manage crew evaluations every three months. (TNG: "Man of the People", "Lower Decks")
Will was dismayed to learn of Deanna's betrothal to Wyatt Miller in 2364. Deanna reassured him that he would always be a special part of her life and that she still cared for him greatly. Will was delighted when Deanna remained aboard the Enterprise after Wyatt left to help the Tarellians recover from a plague. (TNG: "Haven")
Troi was impregnated by an alien life form in early 2365. Riker had mixed feelings about the pregnancy and resultant child, but was with Deanna for the birth and supported her during the ordeal, especially after the child sacrificed himself to save the Enterprise. (TNG: "The Child")
When Riker was affected by the predatory plant microbe picked up on Surata IV, Deanna stayed with him through his convalescence. She was present during his treatment and relayed the emotions Will was experiencing to Dr. Pulaski, giving her indication of which memories to activate and which to suppress. (TNG: "Shades of Gray")
During the negotiations for the Barzan wormhole in 2366, Riker was challenged by the Chrysalian representative, Devinoni Ral, in more ways than one. Ral and Deanna began a romantic relationship, and Ral used this to intimidate Riker. However, the Barzan wormhole was later determined to be worthless and Riker gleefully withdrew the Federation bid in front of Ral, who had just secured rights for the Chrysalians through underhanded means. (TNG: "The Price")
Later that year, Troi backed off when Riker made his interest in Yuta known. (TNG: "The Vengeance Factor") She stood by him after he was accused of Dr. Nel Apgar's murder, even when it seemed he must be guilty. After he was exonerated, she squeezed his hand in affection. (TNG: "A Matter of Perspective")
The couple tried to take a romantic holiday on Betazed in 2366, but were interrupted by Lwaxana Troi. A Ferengi DaiMon, Tog, later arrived to kidnap Lwaxana, taking Troi and Riker with her. They later engineered an escape and were rescued by the Enterprise. (TNG: "Ménage à Troi")
The Enterprise became trapped by two-dimensional lifeforms in early 2367. They also suppressed Deanna's telepathic abilities and she found it difficult to deal with her loss. Will tried to help her cope with the trauma, but she resisted. He then called her "aristocratic" and thought she was upset because her empathic powers helped her feel superior to her shipmates. When the Enterprise was freed, her abilities were restored. She apologized to Will, but also made it clear that he was not to call her aristocratic again. (TNG: "The Loss")
Sometime prior to 2368, Riker and Troi had a romantic encounter following a poker night. Troi was reluctant to continue a relationship at the time and the incident remained isolated. (TNG: "Violations")
Both Riker and Troi were affected by the Satarran energy weapon, but Deanna still felt a connection to Will. Her suspicions were confirmed when Riker found a copy of Ode to Psyche given to him by Troi, with the inscription "To Will, all my love, Deanna". (TNG: "Conundrum")
When Riker expressed interest in Soren, he went to see Troi in order to gain her approval of the relationship. Once again, Deanna assured him that they would always be special to one another, even if they saw other people. (TNG: "The Outcast")
Ambassador Ves Alkar telepathically linked with Troi in 2369, using her as a receptacle for his "psychic waste". Deanna's behavior was drastically altered and she began to rapidly age due to the stress. She appeared for a crew evaluation meeting with Riker in a seductive outfit, then revealing that she had just slept with a male junior officer. Riker claimed that he felt her lovelife was none of his business, but Troi continued to press the issue, causing Riker to leave. Troi later tried to kiss Riker, then scratched him for no apparent reason. Riker reported this behavior to Dr. Crusher, who uncovered Alkar's plan and broke his link with Troi. Deanna thanked Will for his support, and he promised to love her even when she became old and gray. (TNG: "Man of the People")
The discovery of Riker's double on Nervala IV complicated his relationship with Deanna. That Riker had spent eight years pining for Deanna and was eager to resume their relationship. He tried to have her transferred to the Gandhi, but she refused, not wanting to give up the life she had spent so long building on the Enterprise. (TNG: "Second Chances")
Lwaxana Troi felt that Riker was partly the reason Deanna was still unmarried by 2370. While suffering from strain due to repeated telepathic contact with the Cairn, Lwaxana approached Will in Ten Forward and yelled at him, telling him to leave Deanna alone. She later had Deanna apologize for her behavior. (TNG: "Dark Page")
Troi attempted the Bridge Officer's test in 2370. Riker supervised the tests and did not show any favoritism towards Deanna. After she attempted the engineering qualification several times without much luck, he came to tell her the tests were canceled. However, by insisting to her that, despite their relationship, his loyalty was to the Enterprise, he gave her a hint which told her what the test was really about – her ability to send a crewmember to their death. Knowing that she would never simply give up, he entered the holodeck just in time to congratualte her on passing the test. (TNG: "Thine Own Self")
Worf began courting Deanna in 2370, thankful for all of the help she had provided in Alexander's care over the prior two years. (TNG: "Parallels") Worf was concerned that Riker might feel betrayed by their relationship, and wanted to discuss the issue with Riker late that year. (TNG: "All Good Things...")
Will and Deanna stayed friends into their early years aboard the Enterprise-E. He helped her through the outcome of an alcohol binge instigated by Zefram Cochrane while they were trying to convince him to conduct his warp flight in 2063 (though he made no attempt to hide his enjoyment of witnessing her drunken behavior). (Star Trek: First Contact) However, things changed when they encountered the radiation of the Ba'ku planet in 2375. They began to playfully flirt with one another and ended up taking a bubble bath together. Their rekindled romance continued after the Enterprise left the Briar Patch. (Star Trek: Insurrection)
The two were planning to vacation in 2377. Deanna arrived at the beach first; Will was going to meet her a few days later. They later decided to spend the rest of their vacation in Tiburon instead. They invited Reg Barclay to accompany them, wanting to introduce him to a mutual friend, Maril. (VOY: "Inside Man")
Alternate realities and timelines Edit
In 2366, the USS Enterprise-C emerged from a temporal rift. Its disappearance from the year 2344 caused an altered timeline, wherein the Federation was losing a war against the Klingons. Riker was still the ship's first officer, but he was much more toughened due to the horrors of war. He questioned the plan to send the Enterprise-C back to the past, especially after Captain Rachel Garrett was killed, but Captain Picard allowed Richard Castillo to assume command and return the Enterprise-C to 2344. Riker later worked the tactical station following Tasha Yar's transfer to the Enterprise-C but was killed in a subsequent Klingon attack. (TNG: "Yesterday's Enterprise")
In 2367, Beverly Crusher became trapped in a warp bubble. Her thoughts created a universe where people and objects rapidly began disappearing. Riker was one of the last Enterprise crewmembers to vanish. (TNG: "Remember Me")
Lieutenant Worf encountered a quantum fissure which caused him to begin shifting between quantum realities in 2370. In several universes, Riker was still Enterprise first officer, and planned a surprise birthday party for Worf even though Worf had made it expressly clear he did not want one. In others, he had been promoted to captain. In the final universe in which Worf arrived, Riker was the captain, as Captain Picard had been lost in the Borg encounter of 2367. In another reality, the Borg had invaded the Federation and the Enterprise was one of the few ships left. Riker was in command of that ship as well, and was desperate not to return to his universe once all of the Enterprises began spilling into a single universe. After attempting to get the attention of the present-reality Enterprise by firing lightly upon them, the Borg-damaged ship was destroyed by Capt. Riker with the alternate Riker on board to prevent further damage to his ship. The events following Worf's encounter were erased from the timeline once the fissure was sealed. (TNG: "Parallels")
In an unknown, alternate future timeframe, Riker had been promoted to admiral and was assigned to Starbase 247. The USS Enterprise-D, substantially refitted and upgraded, was his flagship. In this timeline, Deanna Troi had died twenty years previously, causing Worf and Will to become estranged, as each blamed the other for preventing a relationship with her.
Picard contacted him for help in investigating the anomaly, but Riker refused to allow him passage to the Neutral Zone, thinking Picard had been affected by Irumodic syndrome and was delusional. Later Picard convinced his ex-wife, Beverly Picard, to take her medical ship, the USS Pasteur, to investigate the anomaly. The Pasteur was attacked and destroyed by Klingon battleships, but the Enterprise arrived to rescue the crew and fight off the Klingons. Immediately Worf and Riker began to bicker. Picard once again pleaded with Riker to return to the Devron system, but he was then sedated and returned to quarters. Armed with new information gathered from the other two timeframes, Picard woke and went to talk to Riker and the other former Enterprise officers. He convinced them that the anomaly existed, and the Enterprise returned just in time to watch it form. Riker ordered the Enterprise into the anomaly, where it used a static warp shell in concert with the other Enterprises to collapse it.
After the anomaly was sealed, the timelines were erased and only Captain Picard retained memory of those events. Picard told his staff of his experiences in the future, in hopes that things such as the conflict between Worf and Riker would never happen. (TNG: "All Good Things...")
William Riker was holographically duplicated on a number of occasions.
- In 2366, on Stardate 43610.4, a series of holographic simulations, Deposition Program Riker One, Hypothetical Krag One, Manua Simulation One, Tayna Simulation Three, and La Forge One, were used by Krag in his investigation into the murder of Nel Apgar, of which Riker was suspected. (TNG: "A Matter of Perspective")
- Later that year, on Stardate 43807.4, at least two holographic recreations of Riker were created by Lieutenant Reginald Barclay when he suffered from holoaddiction. One was on a recreation of the Enterprise-D; the other was part of The Three Musketeers and was considerably shorter than the real Riker. Troi believed that the latter's short stature was due to the fact that Barclay found Riker's height intimidating. (TNG: "Hollow Pursuits")
- In 2368, on Stardate 45254.8, a hologram of Riker was used to fool Sela so Spock, Captain Picard and Data could escape from Romulus. Picard told Data that he did not get the hair quite right. (TNG: "Unification II")
- In 2369, on Stardate 46424.1, a hologram of Riker was used by James Moriarty to trick Picard into releasing his command codes. Another was used in turn by Picard to trick Moriarty into releasing his control over the Enterprise-D. (TNG: "Ship in a Bottle")
Miscellaneous information Edit
Riker's Starfleet serial number was SC 231-427. (TNG: "Gambit, Part I") His quarters on the Enterprise-D were on Deck 8, room 0912. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds", "Night Terrors", "Chain of Command, Part II")
Sometime in 2364 or 2365, Riker grew a beard because he was tired of people always telling him how young he looked. (TNG: "The Neutral Zone", "The Child", "The Pegasus") He also felt the beard was a proud, ancient tradition and a symbol of strength. However, he did not see it as an affectation and was not opposed to shaving it; he had just gotten used to it. (TNG: "The Quality of Life") He briefly shaved it in 2375 after he resumed his relationship with Deanna Troi. (Star Trek: Insurrection)
In Reg Barclay's holofantasies of the Enterprise crew programmed in 2366, Riker was a short toady who followed The Three Musketeers: Picard, Data, and La Forge. Riker was incensed to discover his holosimulation, which Troi believed Reg made short on purpose because Riker's height may have been intimidating. Riker then deleted the character. (TNG: "Hollow Pursuits")
Q "called" Riker to testify during the trial held to determine whether or not the Q later known as Quinn should be allowed to die. The trial was held in 2372 aboard the USS Voyager while it was still lost in the Delta Quadrant, and Q plucked Riker from a time period between 2366 and 2370. Riker explained the significance of a portrait of his ancestor, Thaddius "Iron Boots" Riker, colonel of the 102nd New York Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War, and later realized that Quinn was standing next to Thaddius, as he had saved Thaddius from death during the Battle of Pine Mountain. Q concluded by saying that had Quinn never existed, Q would have lost at least a dozen good opportunities to insult Riker over the years. Riker was then returned to his timeframe without any knowledge of being aboard Voyager. (VOY: "Death Wish")
- Arrives in past from year 2368 in San Francisco.
- Arrives in past from year 2373. Participates in the historic flight of the Phoenix as a crewmember of Zefram Cochrane, although history would not record this until 2373.
- Born in Alaska on Earth.
- Will's mother, Betty, dies.
- Fifteen-year old Will is abandoned by his father, Kyle Riker.
- Riker graduates from Starfleet Academy. Seven months later, he is assigned to the USS Pegasus under Erik Pressman.
- Participates in a countermutiny after the Pegasus senior staff rebel against Pressman and his use of an illegal phasing cloaking device. Is one of a few survivors after the loss of the ship.
- Sometime between 2357 and 2361
- Stationed on Betazed. Meets Deanna Troi and begins a serious romantic relationship.
- While aboard the USS Potemkin, a transporter accident on Nervala IV creates a duplicate of Riker, later known as Thomas Riker. Riker is promoted to lieutenant commander for his exceptional valor during the incident.
- Assumes the executive officer's position on the USS Hood.
- Eventually loses contact with Deanna Troi. They do not see each other until three years later.
- Turns down command of USS Drake to become the first officer of the new USS Enterprise-D.
- Reconciles with Kyle Riker after offered captaincy of USS Aries. Later turns down that command.
- Riker turns down another command, the USS Melbourne, shortly before the ship is destroyed at Wolf 359.
- Riker is temporarily promoted to Captain and briefly assumes command of the Enterprise-D until Captain Picard is rescued from the Borg.
- The transporter duplicate of Riker is rescued from Nervala IV. He assumes the name Thomas Riker.
- Events surrounding the disappearance of the Pegasus are revealed by Riker when the ship is found in the Devolin system. Riker faces legal trouble but remains posted to the Enterprise.
- Enterprise-D is destroyed.
- Transfers to the USS Enterprise-E.
- Resumes relationship with Deanna Troi.
- Marries Deanna Troi. Assumes command of the USS Titan.
Memorable quotes Edit
"Riker, W.T. reporting as ordered, sir."
"He calls that a little adventure?"
- - William T. Riker, on Picard's description of the Enterprise-D's journey to Deneb IV. (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint")
"Fate protects fools, little children, and ships named Enterprise."
"Mr. Worf... fire."
"So what did you wish for, Will?"
- - Deanna Troi and William T. Riker after he did not hit the right note on his trombone earlier. (TNG: "Future Imperfect")
"I'm going to miss this ship. She went before her time."
- - William T. Riker, on the Enterprise-D (Star Trek Generations)
"Smooth as an android's bottom, eh, Data?"
- - William T. Riker to Data, on his clean-shaven face. (Star Trek: Insurrection)
"Serving with you has been an honor."
"The honor was mine... Captain."
- - Wiliam T. Riker and Jean-Luc Picard, before Riker departs for the Titan. (Star Trek Nemesis)
Background information Edit
Riker was played by Jonathan Frakes in all of the character's film and television appearances. The young Riker seen in photographs, in the episode "The Icarus Factor", was portrayed by an unknown actor.
During the early production stages of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Riker's name was spelled "Ryker". According to Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 13), his description in the original casting call was as follows:
"NUMBER ONE (AKA WILLIAM RYKER) – A 30-35 year old Caucasian born in Alaska. He is a pleasant looking man with sex appeal, of medium height, very agile and strong, a natural psychologist. Number One, as he is usually called, is second in command of the Enterprise and has a very strong, solid relationship with the Captain."
Other background details which were eventually added to Riker's preproduction character bio claimed Riker "doesn't fully appreciate the female need to be needed" and that he is "privately called William by Picard and Bill by 'female friends'" (Deanna does refer to him as "Bill" in "The Naked Now" and "Haven", although this nickname was apparently dropped in favor of "Will").
The original concept of Will Riker had much in common with the Willard Decker character intended for Star Trek: Phase II; indeed, the background story of the love affair between Riker and Troi is somewhat similar to that of Decker and Ilia as seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 2nd ed., p. 66)
Another source of inspiration when fleshing out the character was James T. Kirk. According to the writer's guide for the second season, "Like the legendary 23rd century Kirk (when in his early thirties), our Number One is very strong and agile and has a tendency toward 'derring-do'. Also like Captain Kirk, Riker has a healthy sex drive." (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 007) Riker was also given the same middle initial T. as Kirk, although his middle name was not actually decided until "Second Chances" in the sixth season. According to Jeri Taylor, a variety of names including "Tecumseh" was considered before the writing staff settled on "Thomas" as the "simplest" choice. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 2nd ed., pp. 13, 250)
The preferred spelling of "Will" is not clear; scripts and closed captioning often alternate between "Wil" and "Will".
Among the actors who originally auditioned for the role of William T. Riker were James Horan  , William O. Campbell, Jeffrey Combs, Christopher McDonald, Eric Pierpoint , Erich Anderson, and Vaughn Armstrong (each of whom later played at least one Star Trek role). Campbell was Gene Roddenberry's preference for the role. However, Jeffrey Combs, Ben Murphy, and Michael O'Gorman were also regarded as front runners for the part. At first, Campbell was even cast as Riker. "[John] Pike didn't like him," recalled Rick Berman. "He didn't feel he had a sense of command. He wouldn't follow this guy into battle. I think it was really more that he didn't audition that well for the part, and that's when we went to our second choice, who was Jonathan Frakes." Frakes himself reflected, "I auditioned seven times over six weeks for this part. Unlike anything I have ever had to fight for before. The last few auditions, I would be sent to Gene's office prior to going to whichever executive needed convincing on this particular audition. I kept going up the food chain. In Gene's office, Gene would give me a pep talk, and Corey Allen, the director of the pilot, was there [....] As a young actor, eager and willing, I really got caught up in [Roddenberry's] vision." Berman concluded that Frakes "turned out to be a terrific choice." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 95)
One of Riker's costumes from the first season of TNG was added to the ScienceFictionArchives.com collection and was showcased at Paris science museum during a 2010-2011 exhibition, "Science (and) Fiction: Imagination Meets Reality". 
Riker was the inspiration for the custom Minecraft skin of Yogscast co-founder Lewis Brindley, better known as Xephos. Originally, the skin was Riker, but it evolved into its own character. 
Riker was the inspiration of the TV Tropes ideal of "Growing the Beard" – the concept of a series or franchise becoming markedly better than previous installments after a certain point – by the fact that, after actor Jonathan Frakes grew a beard for season two, TNG began to take a turn for the better in various ways. 
Riker narrated the commentary on the Star Trek: The Next Generation Interactive Technical Manual and also appeared in the original Star Trek: The Experience: Klingon Encounter ride at the Las Vegas Hilton.
According to StarTrek.com, William Riker was born on 19 August 2335, in Valdez, Alaska, and his mother's middle initial was "C." The Star Trek Encyclopedia (3rd ed., p. 411), also, stated that Riker was born in Valdez.
The character of Riker was originally conceived as an "executive officer" who would handle the duties for which a proper captain should be too busy. Also, it was an attempt to address the often criticized tendency for Captain Kirk in TOS to get directly involved in away missions, something that should be left to others. Captain Picard was, from the outset, conceived as an older man who, like a proper captain, would have more managerial and administrative role (rarely leaving the ship) while a younger officer and his subordinates handles the away missions. The first season attempted this with limited success but this format was abandoned by the beginning of season two.
In the alternate future of the DS9 book series Millennium, Riker was made captain of the Enterprise-F after Jean-Luc Picard was promoted to admiral. Among his crew were Deanna Troi, Geordi La Forge, Tom Paris, and B'Elanna Torres. However, the Enterprise-F was lost with all hands during a bloody battle with the Grigari. This timeline was eventually erased.
Before Riker's middle name was established as "Thomas", it was given as "Thelonius" – perhaps after famous jazz musician Thelonius Monk, as a way to reflect Riker's love of that music style – in Peter David's novel, Imzadi. That book also delved into the relationship between Riker and Troi.
The novel Q-Squared gives Riker's full name as "William Thomas Thelonius Riker".
In the Star Trek: Destiny trilogy, Riker and the crew of the USS Titan were one of three ships that were instrumental in the final conflict with the Borg, including connecting the Columbia to the Borg and locating the Caeliar and Captain Erika Hernandez. In the followups, Riker and Troi have a child together and name it Natasha, after their old friend from the Enterprise-D.
Riker is promoted to Admiral in the Star Trek: The Fall miniseries, as Fleet Admiral Leonard James Akaar suspected a conspiracy in the upper echelons of Starfleet Command and needed someone in the admiralty that he knew he could trust. Despite his new position, Riker retains the Titan as his flagship, and attempts to go on missions in it whenever he can.
See also Edit
- William T. Riker at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- William T. Riker at Wikipedia
- William T. Riker at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
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