Warning: This article contains huge spoilers for Star Trek: Prodigy’s ‘A Moral Star Part 2.’
Well, well, that final scene from the mid-season finale of Star Trek: Prodigy certainly came out of nowhere. Everything seemed like it was winding down to an intriguing yet satisfying place to leave the show when, BAM. The Dauntless! Yes, our final scene of Prodigy for a while has the real life Janeway commanding the U.S.S. Dauntless NCC-80816, ready to track down the Protostar. What makes this ending such a huge twist is that this isn’t the first time we’ve heard of a ship called Dauntless. In fact, the Dauntless has a history with the real Janeway and her former crew.
In Star Trek: Voyager’s fourth season finale, ‘Hope and Fear,’ the ship were lead by an alien named Arturis to the NX-01A Dauntless. A vessel supposedly sent by Starfleet into the Delta Quadrant, the ship had an experimental quantum slipstream drive which would have allowed the crew to get home much faster. By the end of the episode however it was revealed that the ship was an elaborate fake, intended to lure the Voyager crew into Borg space by Arturis as revenge for their alliance with the Collective.
The original Dauntless was seemingly captured by the Borg at the end of that episode, though we never technically saw it’s final fate. Regardless, the appearance of the ship in Star Trek: Prodigy may send fans scrambling to decipher what this could mean. Did Janeway somehow retrieve the fake Dauntless? Was Arturis, whose species was only referred to as Species 116 by Seven of Nine, actually a Val N’Akat?
Prodigy showrunners Kevin and Dan Hageman both emphatically state that this ship isn’t the original Dauntless but the “Dauntless 2” as they personally refer to it.
“Starfleet took the technology from the Dauntless and then created an actual starship,” Kevin Hageman states. He says that that Starfleet took what had been a fake ship constructed by Arturis and made a real version of it.
Both Hageman’s also clarify that the slipstream tech we saw in ‘Hope and Fear’ is also not the same as the proto-drive in Prodigy. They weren’t clear if the new Dauntless has a slipstream drive, since at the end of the episode the real Janeway tells her new crew to take her to the proto-drive signature they detected at “maximum warp.” In ‘Hope and Fear’ the slipstream drive wasn’t functional in the long term and later attempts to use it were dicey at best. Still, perhaps slipstream speeds are now integrated into the traditional Trek warp speeds.
The two also make it clear that the Val N’Akat are completely different from Species 116, Dan Hageman categorically stating “there’s no Val N’akat in Voyager.”
He also takes the opportunity to shoot down the theories that Chakotay is Drednok or The Diviner in disguise.
Dan Hageman simply hints that fans are “digging in the wrong place.”
It’s all for the better that the Val N’akat aren’t related to Species 116, since the timeline of events wouldn’t match up with what we’d seen in Voyager. There the species’ home world had already been conquered around 2374 by the Borg whereas The Diviner seemed to indicate that the Val N’akat home world was still around during 2383, the year Prodigy takes place in.
This still leaves fans with a lot of questions but knowing that Starfleet damn near copied the fake Dauntless leaves a lot of fascinating places for Prodigy to explore when it returns.