Will Riker is an icon in Star Trek but Lower Decks or Prodigy should bring the other Riker.
Thomas Riker is one of those great “forgotten” characters of Star Trek. He was introduced on The Next Generation as a twin of Will Riker, who was created when a transporter had some major malfunction, splitting William Riker into two people who are identical in every way. With no way to fix the issue, as both men have lived full lives for eight years prior to the reveal, the decision was made to bring Thomas Riker back into Starfleet but position him away from Will, so that both men could forge their own life.
Later, Thomas would join the Maquis and become a villain of sorts, and that’s exactly the type of storyline that should be explored on Lower Decks or Prodigy. Both series are close enough in time to Deep Space Nine and the animated format would allow them to bring in Riker actor Jonathan Frakes and have him portray a 30-something Thomas Riker while the actor being near 70 himself.
This would give fans a long-deserved conclusion to the story arc of Thomas Riker that took some odd turns after The Next Generation.
Where has Thomas Riker been since he was introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation?
After Thomas Riker was last seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation, he popped up on Deep Space Nine, as Will Riker. That’s right, Thomas pretended to be Will, and the only thing he was missing was a fake taped-on goatee to further highlight the absurdity of the reveal.
The appearances were 18 months apart, with Riker debuting in the TNG episode “Second Chances”, and then later appearing on the DS9 episode, “Defiant”, where Thomas, posing as Will, steals the USS Defiant to give it to the Maquis.
The episode closes with Thomas being arrested by the Cardassian’s Obsidian Order and Kira Neyrse promising him a fair trial and to bring him back to the Federation.
This would allow either Prodigy or Lower Decks to conclude the storyline. If they want to do it in a half-hearted, “oops we forgot about you”, comedy angle, then Lower Decks works the best. They could literally just stumble across him on an abandoned Cardassian outpost just playing chess with himself. A character who’s gone so mad he went sane. He could be cool and collected, before doing some over-the-type hijinks.
Or, if they want something more serious, they can find him on Prodigy, where he confronts Admiral Janeway or Captain Chakotay about being abandoned by the Federation. Either way works to resolve the storyline, but it has to be resolved eventually.