Star Trek

Why Admiral Janeway Outranks Admiral Picard In Star Trek

Star Trek: Voyager’s Admiral Kathryn Janeway has had one of Starfleet’s most decorated careers, even outranking the legendary Jean-Luc Picard.

Star Trek’s Admiral Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) has had one of Starfleet’s most decorated careers, even managing to eventually outrank the legendary Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). Introduced as a relatively new Captain at the outset of Star Trek: Voyager, Janeway’s seven-year adventure in the far-flung Delta Quadrant in command of the titular ship and her eventual return home rightly made her a living Starfleet legend. Janeway was quickly promoted to Admiral, as seen in Star Trek: Nemesis, which takes place approximately a year after the USS Voyager made it home to Earth; Admiral Janeway briefly appears to issue Captain Picard orders to travel to Romulus.

Picard was eventually promoted to Admiral himself. Star Trek: Picard season 1 established Picard accepted promotion and departed the USS Enterprise-E a few years after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis to oversee the evacuation of Romulus in the lead up to a devastating oncoming supernova that threatened to kill billions. However, not all Starfleet Admirals are on equal footing, and there’s a very clear answer as to who wields more power and influence within 25th century Starfleet between Janeway and Picard.

Why Admiral Janeway Outranks Admiral Picard

As with any other military organization, officers who hold the same rank don’t always wield the same amount of power in command situations. Janeway would have been promoted to Admiral sometime around 2379, and Star Trek: Prodigy, Star Trek: Picard, and Star Trek: Lower Decks – which all take place in roughly the same 20-year timeframe of the late 24th century to the early 25th century – suggest Janeway remained an ever-present and indispensable part of Starfleet leadership. Her name was even invoked in Picard season 3 as a possible source of help tackling a Changeling conspiracy within Starfleet.

For his part, Admiral Picard resigned from Starfleet in protest over the organization’s withdrawal from their planned evacuation of Romulus in 2385. A weary, defeated Picard retreated to his family vineyard, and he remained outside of Starfleet until the events of Star Trek: Picard season 2 in 2401. Even then, Picard was made Chancellor of Starfleet Academy, certainly a prestigious posting, but not one that has the sort of huge strategic importance that Janeway’s does.

Janeway Has The Most Successful Starfleet Career Of The TNG Era Captains

While several arguments could be made about who was the most influential of the major 24th century Captains, there’s really no debate to be had over which character had the most fruitful Starfleet career. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) ascended to a higher plane of existence with the Bajoran prophets at the end of the series, which obviously had a detrimental effect on his career prospects. There was perhaps never a more celebrated Captain in Starfleet’s history than Jean-Luc Picard, but his later career and tenure as an Admiral leaned into some rebellious, arrogant tendencies, severely hindering his influence on Starfleet’s leadership.

Janeway managed to make both her early and late career in Starfleet work. After improbably making her way home from the Delta Quadrant, Star Trek: Prodigy has shown Admiral Janeway almost immediately rose to a level of supreme respect within Starfleet, and with good reason – no one has saved Starfleet from more threats they never saw coming than Kathryn Janeway. She may not get the most memorably heroic moments like Picard and Sisko, but Admiral Janeway has always been Star Trek’s best example of what a Starfleet officer can and should be.

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