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Star Trek: Prodigy Brings in TNG’s Ferengi in a Big Way

A familiar face from Dal’s past resurfaces in Star Trek: Prodigy, keeping in line with one of Star Trek: The Next Generation era’s oldest enemies.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1, Episode 7, “First Con-Tact,” streaming now on Paramount+.

When Star Trek: Prodigy began, little was known about the background of its main cast of characters other than they were all living on the harsh prison planet of Tars Lamora deep in the Delta Quadrant. Over the course of the first season, the no-nonsense Gwyn was revealed to be more than simply the evil Diviner’s daughter, but rather his genetic clone. The hologram simulation of Kathryn Janeway learned her original commanding officer was the USS Protostar’s Captain Chakotay. And as the Protostar continues to explore the undiscovered corners of the Star Trek Universe, Dal’s background is tied to antagonists straight out of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Fleeing the Diviner, the Protostar arrived in the Gamma Quadrant and finally earned a much-needed breather since their escape from Tars Lamora. Dal had dreams of his unseen parents and spending his younger years cruising among the stars before winding up working in the mines of Tars Lamora under the Diviner’s unforgiving rule. However, in the Gamma Quadrant, Dal is reunited with his mentor and surrogate parental figure Nandi, a Ferengi scavenger who happens to cross paths with the Protostar. Back with Dal, Nandi convinces him to join her for one last heist, securing a valuable crystal from a nearby planet only for Dal to discover why exactly the Ferengi Alliance has such a sketchy reputation.

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While Dal and his friends make first contact with the civilization living on the planet, Nandi reveals that she is obsessed with stealing the crystal from the native species, even after learning how vital it is to their society. Catching up with Nandi before she can depart from the planet, Nandi not only reveals she stole energy from the Protostar to power her ship’s cloaking device to make her escape but that she was the one who sold Dal to the Diviner in the first place, effectively leaving her protégé in slavery for a profit when she felt that Dal was too soft to follow in her footsteps.

In a way, Nandi’s multi-pronged betrayal is a return to antagonistic form for the Ferengi. The mercantile-obsessed civilization were introduced in TNG‘s first season as a new hostile race to menace Starfleet and the USS Enterprise. When the TNG producers felt the Ferengi weren’t coming off as an effective threat, more villainous civilizations like the Borg Collective and the Cardassian Union were introduced while the Ferengi were largely played for comedic effect. The inner workings of the Ferengi Alliance was explored more in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine through Ferengi supporting characters Quark, Rom and Nog.

The Ferengi were originally envisioned as a recurring foe to serve as TNG‘s answer to mainstays like the Klingons and Romulans but were substantially defanged early in the series. Star Trek: Prodigy restores the more villainous side to the Ferengi while tying them closely to Dal’s background, with the promise that this isn’t the last the crew of the Protostar have heard from Nandi as she contacts the Diviner to let him know exactly where the Protostar is located — for a tidy sum in exchange for the information, of course. Nandi has Ferengi Rules of Acquisition to follow, after all, and Dal and his friends are paying the price for it this time.

To see how the Ferengi get their groove back, Star Trek: Prodigy releases new episodes Thursdays on Paramount+.

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