Captain Picard is renowned for his catchphrase “Engage!”. Star Trek: Discovery’s Captain Saru is having a hard time finding his own iconic tagline.
Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Discovery season 3, episode 8, “The Sanctuary”.
Captain Saru (Doug Jones) is in need of a catchphrase in Star Trek: Discovery, but everything he’s tried thus far pales in comparison to “Engage!”, the iconic command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). The Kelpien leader of the U.S.S. Discovery finally got his well-deserved promotion to Captain in Star Trek: Discovery season 3 and he’s firmly in command of his starship as they pursue their new mission as part of the 32nd-century Starfleet. But finding a trademark mantra is proving elusive for Saru, as it has his other predecessor Star Trek Captains.
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Captain Picard is renowned for ordering his U.S.S. Enterprise to jump to warp with “Engage!” in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and it’s one of the reasons why he’s so beloved. In Star Trek: Picard, the motley crew aboard La Sirena even lets the retired Jean-Luc give the honorary order to “Engage!” even though he’s not in command of the vessel. Picard’s other famous catchphrases like “Make it so!” and ordering his “tea, Earl Grey, hot” from the replicator are also often imitated, which includes mimicking Patrick Stewart’s classy British accent. However, within the Star Trek universe, the fact that Picard has “Engage!” as his patented catchphrase has become the envy of other Starfleet Captains.
Even though Star Trek: Discovery season 3 is set 930 years in the future (and about 800 years after Picard’s 24th-century heyday), Captain Saru feels the need to have his own special command. In Star Trek: Discovery season 3, episode 8, “The Sanctuary”, Saru privately conferred with his new First Officer, Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) about the “ongoing matter” of finding a catchphrase. Tilly narrowed it down to three words: “Execute!”, “Hit it!”, and “Manifest!”, although the latter was a non-starter no one liked. Saru reminded his Number One that “Hit it!” was the phrase used by Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), and he said it in a much cooler way than when Saru hilariously tried to put his own flair on it with “Hit it then!” Meanwhile, the U.S.S. Discovery‘s bridge crew is supportive of their Captain’s need for a cool slogan, but they all tacitly agreed that Saru ordering “Execute!” just isn’t going to fly.
Captain Picard was essentially the innovator of having a personal command word since Star Trek: The Original Series‘ Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) didn’t have one of his own (nor did he need one). Kirk varied his orders from simply asking his helmsman Mr. Sulu (George Takei) to take the Enterprise “Ahead, warp factor one”, to waxing poetically by quoting Peter Pan: “Second star to the right, and straight on till morning”.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks), Star Trek: Voyager‘s Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), and Star Trek: Enterprise‘s Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) all lacked special command words of their own to take their ships to warp speed, perhaps so as not to step on Picard’s toes. Meanwhile, in the Kelvin timeline of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movies, Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) liked to say “Punch it!”, which was Abrams’ blatant homage to Star Wars’ Han Solo (Harrison Ford) when he jumped the Millennium Falcon into hyperspace.
Meanwhile, Saru isn’t the only Captain of the current Star Trek series struggling to find a personal catchphrase. In Star Trek: Lower Decks, the U.S.S. Cerritos‘ Captain Carol Freeman (Dawnn Lewis) can’t seem to conjure her own version of “Engage!” either. Worse, Freeman is a contemporary of Picard and is well-aware of his iconic status, so she also knows her experiments with “Warp me!” and “It’s warp time!” don’t quite cut the mustard. Captain Saru ended “The Sanctuary” by trying out, “Carry on, then!”, but was also met with smirks and wrinkled noses from his patient bridge crew so it’s back to the drawing board. Ultimately, Captain Picard’s “Engage!” will likely never be topped, but hopefully, Captain Saru will strike upon a distinctive tagline of his own at some point in Star Trek: Discovery season 3.
Next: Star Trek: Every 32nd Century Upgrade To The Discovery
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