10 Star Trek Quotes That Perfectly Sum Up The Franchise

Star Trek Quotes - three way image showing Captain Pike, Captain Picard, and Mister Spock

Star Trek is one of the most enduring science fiction franchises of all time. Built on the adventures of Captain Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek: The Original Series, the franchise has branched out into multiple feature films and spinoff series.

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Fans of Star Trek love to watch their favorite movies and episodes over and over again. But one thing they probably like to do even more is to quote their most beloved entries in the saga. Trek has long been a franchise about the exploration of space as well as the human condition, and many of the franchise’s most iconic quotes perfectly encapsulate the spirit of creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision.

10 “I Dare You To Do Better.”

Captain Christopher Pike – Star Trek (2009)

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When director J.J. Abrams helmed the rebooted version of Star Trek for his 2009 film of the same name, fans were skeptical whether new versions of Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the crew could hold up against the original. In a pivotal scene, Captain Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) let fans know that the movie understood the pressure it was under.

Attempting to recruit a listless James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) into Starfleet, Pike brings up Kirk’s own father (Chris Hemsworth in his pre-Thor days), who died heroically in the film’s opening scene. It was a dare not only to Kirk but to the Trek franchise in general to hold up to its storied ideals and standards.

9 “We Work To Better Ourselves And The Rest Of Humanity.”

Captain Jean-Luc Picard – Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Picard in STAR TREK FIRST CONTACT

Star Trek: First Contact is widely regarded by fans as the best standalone movie starring the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s no secret that Patrick Stewart is one of the most quotable figures in Trek history, having dropped many iconic speeches in his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

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But when he describes his home time of the 24th century to the cynical 21st-century Lily (Alfre Woodard), Captain Picard perfectly encapsulates the ideals perpetuated by the series. Star Trek takes place in a world where the people of Earth have given up chasing personal gain for the sake of profit and instead seek the enrichment of one’s self and humanity at large.

8 “Spock, You Want To Know Something? Everybody’s Human.”

Captain James T. Kirk – Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

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The original crew of the Enterprise was last seen together in 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, directed by Nicholas Meyer. Kirk (William Shatner) and the cast celebrated 25 years of exploring the galaxy in the crew’s swan song, and after multiple scenes of thrills and action, Kirk and Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) shared a quiet moment in Spock’s cabin.

With his Vulcan first officer contemplating age and outliving one’s usefulness, Kirk points out that aging and vulnerability are part of being human. Spock, of course, protests that he is not human. He finds Kirk’s declaration that “everybody’s human” insulting. But it is a reminder that Star Trek is, above all, about the things that unite people under a common umbrella.

7 “We Are Searching, Not Just For Answers To Our Questions. But For New Questions.”

Commander Benjamin Sisko – Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, “Emissary” (1993)

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Benjamin Sisko in the early days of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

The premiere episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, “Emissary,” set the series apart from its predecessors in multiple ways. One aspect of the franchise that didn’t change was the commitment to exploring the galaxy. Faced with the non-corporeal Prophets, Comander Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) struggles to explain the concept of linear questions.

In doing so, Sisko describes Starfleet’s mission statement to a tee. Sisko perfectly describes the nature of Starfleet’s goal of exploring the galaxy – exploration for the sake of discovery and knowledge.

6 “Let’s Make Sure History Never Forgets The Name Enterprise.”

Captain Jean-Luc Picard – Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Yesterday’s Enterprise” (1990)

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Captain Picard (center) commands the Enterprise in battle in

“Yesterday’s Enterprise” is one of the hallmark episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. A shift in the timeline results in Captain Picard and the Enterprise-D getting caught up in the middle of a decades-long war with the Klingon Empire. As Picard braces his crew for a last stand against the Klingons, he rallies them around the name of his iconic ship.

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The legacy of the Enterprise is as important to fans as any other character. Indeed, to many Trekkies, the Enterpriseis herself a character. It’s a stirring call to action and an emphatic reminder that each piece of the Trek universe is an integral part of its legacy.

5 “Life Must Be Worn Gloriously.”

Captain Christopher Pike – Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, “Strange New Worlds” (2022)

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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds gets almost everything about Star Trek right. The show’s return to single-episode morality tales after the more serialized Discovery and Picard has enabled Trek to study the human condition again, and this emphasis is displayed wonderfully in the journey of Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount).

Knowing that a disastrous accident lies in his future and recognizing that his life will change irrevocably, Pike stands between two warring factions on a primitive planet. The Captain reminds a world on the verge of self-annihilation that life is a gift.

4 “Risk Is Our Business!”

Captain James T. Kirk – Star Trek: The Original Series, “Return To Tomorrow” (1968)

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>William Shatner as Captain Kirk in Star Trek

Star Trek: The Original Series showcased the danger inherent in space exploration. It reflected the times, as humanity was making its push to reach the moon, and more than a few dangers of space travel had been horrifically realized. However, in the episode “Return to Tomorrow,” Captain Kirk reminds his crew that risk is required for growth.

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By reminding his crew that risk is part of the reason he and his crew are aboard the Enterprise, Kirk makes it known that he expects his crew to push itself to the limits. It’s a statement about how critical growth and knowledge are to the Star Trek ethos.

3 “A Starship Also Runs On Loyalty.”

Commander Spock – Star Trek: The Original Series, “The Ultimate Computer” (1968)

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Spock on the bridge of Enterprise in Star Trek.

The camaraderie of the crew is one of the aspects of Star Trek that fans of the series most treasure. Throughout the franchise, many episodes centered around Kirk putting himself at personal risk for the betterment and safety of his crew mates. The crew of the Enterprise was fiercely loyal to one another.

When Starfleet uses the Enterprise as a test bed for a computer that can control all starship operations, Mr. Spock is at first fascinated by the prospect. But when Kirk realizes the computer will make him obsolete, Spock reminds his captain that a ship also needs the loyalty and dedication of the human element.

2 “Of All The Souls I’ve Encountered In My Travels, His Was The Most Human”

Admiral James T. Kirk – Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (1982)

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The death of Spock is one of the most heartbreaking moments in the history of the Star Trek franchise. When eulogizing his friend at the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, Kirk reflects on the humanity of his famously-alien first officer and best friend.

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Fans of the franchise were uniquely drawn to the dichotomy of Spock’s human and Vulcan halves. With Spock having given his life for the crew of the Enterprise, Kirk’s emotional declaration that Spock’s human side ultimately won out is a statement of hope, which is ultimately what the Trek franchise is all about.

1 “Logic Clearly Dictates That The Needs Of The Many Outweigh The Needs Of The Few.”

Captain Spock – Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (1982)

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Spock famously notes in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” In isolation, it’s foreshadowing Spock’s sacrifice at the end of the film. However, in a broader view, it is perhaps the unifying tenet of the entire franchise.

Starfleet’s mission statement is to explore strange new worlds and seek out new civilizations. But it is also an organization built on loyalty and sacrifice. This statement of simple logic from Star Trek‘s most famous character is referenced by fans and critics alike whenever the franchise displays one of its famous moral dilemmas. It is definitely the most enduring quote in Star Trek history.

NEXT: Star Trek: 10 Things That Still Hold Up Today


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