Star Trek: Prodigy may not be set five years after Voyager as first reported.
Star Trek: Prodigy is an interesting show just from the basic concept. It features a ship that apparently has time-travel capabilities, and is supposedly positioned in the timeline five years after Star Trek: Voyager. That may make sense, but the ship that Prodigy is using, the Protostar, is a ship that has to be older than five years, simply due to the technology being brought over from the Delta Quadrant to help build it.
Then we see Vice Admiral Kathryn Janeway looking pretty old, as opposed to Chakotay, who looks pretty much like he’d be just five years after the events of Voyager. Keep in mind that Janeway was already an admiral just one year after returning from the Delta Quadrant, as Jean-Luc Picard addressed her as such in Star Trek: Nemesis, which took place chronologically one year after Voyager returned to Earth.
Yet, this much older-looking Janeway, with grey hair and doctors’ orders not to drink coffee, is a vice-admiral. Admirals’ don’t typically take ships deep into foreign space, that’s a bit of a risk, but Vice Admirals do. So clearly there was a demotion at some point (or retconning).
So, are we really getting Starfleet five years after Voyager, or is there more to this story?
Star Trek: Prodigy may take place closer to Star Trek: Picard than originally thought
If what we were told was true, that Prodigy takes place in 2384, then it would run afoul with so much. Mostly just how much Janeway has aged, as opposed to Chakotay. Not to mention the Protostar bucking a lot of what we know already, as the ship was seemingly lost in the Delta Quadrant for years.
This doesn’t even factor in the villain, The Diviner, who has already traveled back in time to look for the Protostar. Making the ship far older than just a few years. If The Diviner is looking for the ship, then it’s fair to say the ship is far older than just five years and may even be closer to 20 years. After all, Janeway looks nearly 60 (or 60ish) when we see her, so it tracks that the events of the show may be taking place far further than originally mentioned.
In fact, the “five years” comment may be when Chakotay was originally lost. The ship may have been lost sometime around 2384, and Janeway may have been demoted for her failings to prevent the ship from becoming lost. Thus, her rank as Vice Admiral now. This would also explain how The Diviner knows about the ship already and has probably seen it once before in the future.
It makes more sense for the bulk of the current story arc to be taking place around 2400, which fits itself right in line with Picard, and less in line with a show like Lower Decks, which has featured Voyager crew member Tom Paris. Lower Decks is set around 2380, just four years prior to when Prodigy is supposedly taking place.