34

I checked Google and Picard's age was apparently somewhere around 59 at S1E1 and 74 at the end of the series according to a Trek Wiki. When I looked up Riker's age absolutely nothing came up!

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    Somewhat implausible since TNG only spans about seven years, so Picard wouldn’t age by 15 years during this time. – chirlu Jun 5 '17 at 7:30
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    @chirlu Unless you count the old Picard in All Good Things. – SGR Jun 5 '17 at 12:45
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    And the movies. – user33616 Jun 5 '17 at 13:37
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    @Mark Edward: I don’t count the movies when it’s about “the series”. And flashbacks, flashforwards and time travel, well … – chirlu Jun 5 '17 at 15:12
  • @chirlu Due to Stardate inconsistencies, that's totally possible, and in fact would be more like a 3:1 ratio instead of the 2:1 ratio this question suggests. – Izkata Jun 6 '17 at 2:35
41

In "The Icarus Factor", it was mentioned that he was born in 2335.

"Encounter at Farpoint" takes place in 2364. So he was 29/28 years old.

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    Or, possibly, 28. – Ham Sandwich Jun 5 '17 at 14:37
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    Now knowing tat Rikker was in his late 20s makes me feel insecure and inadequate - I'm the same age and I'm nowhere near close to being a Starship's first officer. – Dai Jun 5 '17 at 20:04
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    @Dai just buy a canoe, then you can be captain. – Caimen Jun 5 '17 at 20:06
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    Interesting... Frakes himself was 35 when the series started (Sept 1987), and Stewart was 47. – Tim Jun 5 '17 at 20:28
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    @Dai There's still hope: from this point on only sit down by employing the Riker Chair Maneuver. After this the rest will come automatically. – Thomas Jacobs Jun 6 '17 at 8:46
24

28 (probably)

The StarTrek.com website gives Riker's birthdate as August 19th, 2335.

Full Name: William Thomas Riker
Date of birth: August 19, 2335
Place of birth: Valdez, Alaska, Earth

Since TNG: Encounter at Farpoint took place in February 2364 (based on the stardate calculators at TrekGuide.com, Stevepugh.net and HillSchmidt), that would make Riker 28 years and 5 months old when Picard took command of the Enterprise.

It should be noted that the Sega Genesis game Star Trek: Echoes From the Past (available to play online here) gives an alternate birthdate for Riker; April 15th, 2335 which would make him 28 years and 9 months old when Picard arrived.


For the record, the episode TNG: Conundrum establishes Picard's birthdate as July 15th, 2305 which would make him 59 at the start of Season 1.

enter image description here

  • Patrick Stewart was 47 when the series started... must be one of the very rare times an actor portrayed someone older than they actually were. – Tim Jun 5 '17 at 20:29
  • @Tim nah, happens quite a lot. Notable is Harry Potter where they play themselves as older adults. – Tim Jun 6 '17 at 0:51
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    @Tim - For an entire series though? One-off scenes/episodes are common, but I struggle to think of an actor being cast as a character older than the actor themselves for an entire project. – Tim Jun 6 '17 at 1:24
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    @Tim: I don't think it's unusual for older actresses; for example, Kelly Bishop of Gilmore Girls is a few years younger than her character (Emily Gilmore), and Estelle Getty of Golden Girls is significantly younger than her character (Sophia Petrillo). I'm not sure about older male actors, though. – ruakh Jun 6 '17 at 3:38
16

A copy of the TNG Series Bible from March 23, 1987 (ie - prior to the airing of Season 1) and attributed as written by Gene Roddenberry states

Riker's age is 30:

enter image description here

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    An interesting find, but not one that fits with the accepted canon. – Valorum Jun 5 '17 at 17:17
  • @Valorum - is there a canon stardate calculator? I'm not trying to be pedantic :) - seems like the general consensus is 28-30, but, those answers given all use a given date but then non-canon calculation. This answer is from The Great Bird of the Galaxy himself and is the source document that initial TNG canon was built on in many ways. nbd honestly - just elucidating my opinion as to why I made it an actual answer and not a comment. – NKCampbell Jun 5 '17 at 17:32
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    The problem with quoting the series bible is that it's riddled with inaccuracies. Picard wasn't born in Paris, he certainly isn't in his "early fifties", Riker's relationship with Picard isn't that of younger/older brothers, Data wasn't built by unnamed aliens, etc etc etc. It's actually quite hard to point at what's right rather than what's wrong. – Valorum Jun 5 '17 at 17:37
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    FYI, there's no canon stardate calculator. Stardates were made to be intentionally vague (so as to allow the re-ordering of episodes without mucking up the show's continuity). – Valorum Jun 5 '17 at 17:43
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    It's not so much that it's wrong as that these facts were later retconned away. These were the intentions of Gene and the others, which were later abandoned for plot reasons. – pleurocoelus Jun 5 '17 at 22:43
1

Many of the sources cited are not absolutely canonical sources. Absolutely canonical sources, the episodes, give some clues about Riker's age.

The 4th season episode "Future Imperfect" starts with a birthday celebration for Commander Riker on stardate 44286.5, first aired 12 November 1990. It is possible he has a cake with candles that can be counted.

Regaining consciousness 16 years in the future, he finds he has a son, Jean-Luke, of uncertain age - obviously he must be younger than 16.

for what it is worth, Chris Demetal, Jean-Luke's actor, is listed as born 14 November 1976 and thus aged 2 days short of 14 years old when the episode aired.

http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Chris_Demetral1

Of course if you are going by actor's ages you might as well say that Jonathan Frakes was born on 19 August 1952 and thus was 35 years, 1 month,and 9 days old on 28 September 1987 when "Encounter at Farpoint" first aired. But that makes Frakes older than Riker's probable age range.

Riker says:

RIKER: No, okay's not good enough. When I was your age, my own father he wasn't there for me. And I really needed him.

I'm not sure if Riker meant that his father was living somewhere else when Riker was Jean-Luke's unmentioned age, or that his father lived in the same household but didn't act like a parent to Riker.

Riker met his father in an earlier episode, the second season episode "The Icarus Factor". Stardate 42686.4, first aired 24 April 1989.

When Kyle Riker beams aboard:

(A fit, silver-haired man is beamed on board) RIKER: Dad. You're the civilian advisor? The strategic attaché? KYLE: I asked Captain Picard to keep it quiet. I didn't want you to make you nervous or excited. RIKER: It's been fifteen years. Excitement is hardly the appropriate emotion.

http://www.chakoteya.net/NextGen/140.htm2

Allowing for human imprecision fifteen years might be 14.00 to 17.00 years.

Later Worf sees a picture of Riker as a boy in Riker's quarters.

WORF: It is very difficult to say. Words are not always easy for me. Is that Earth? (Riker has a picture of himself as a boy on his monitor) RIKER: Yes. Alaska. I was nine years old. WORF: That is a fish you are holding. RIKER: And I didn't even catch it. WORF: But it looks like you were RIKER: I hooked it. My father took the rod away. He wouldn't let me reel it in. He was afraid that I might lose it.

http://www.chakoteya.net/NextGen/140.htm2

Allowing for human imprecision nine years old might be 8.00 to 11.00. If Riker's father left him immediately after the picture was taken Riker's age in "The Icarus Factor' would be between 22.00 and 28.00. But Riker's father may have left him a long time after the picture was taken.

Later:

KYLE: Of course. Because you're the best candidate for the job. I only want you to know I'm here if you need me. RIKER: I've been on my own since I was fifteen. I can take care of myself. KYLE: Please, spare me the pain of your childhood. I hung in for thirteen years. If that wasn't enough, it's just too bad.

Allowing for human imprecision fifteen years old might be 14.00 to 17.00 years.

Allowing for human imprecision thirteen years might be 12.00 to 15.00 years.

Thus the difference between the two periods might be 0.00 to 5.00 years.

Possible interpretation one:

Kyle Riker left his son William Riker when William Riker was 12.00 to 15.00 years old. Some other adult raised William Riker for 0.00 to 5.00 years until William Riker was aged 14.00 to 17.00. Then William Riker either:

A) reached the legal age of majority,

B) was declared an emancipated minor,

C) ran away from home,

D) attended a boarding school, perhaps Starfleet Academy.

Thus William Riker's age in "The Icarus Factor" would be 12.00 to 15.00 years plus 14.00 to 17.00 years, or 26.00 to 32.00 years.

Possible interpretation two:

William Riker's mother died when William Riker was 0.00 to 5.00 years old. Kyle Riker raised William Riker for 12.00 to 15.00 years until William Riker was 14.00 to 17.00 years old and then left William Riker's life. Then William Riker - aged 14.00 to 17.00 - either:

A) reached the legal age of majority,

B) was declared an emancipated minor,

C) ran away from home, (but if he ran away from his father he shouldn't act like his father left him),

D) attended a boarding school, perhaps Starfleet Academy.

Thus William Riker's age in "The Icarus Factor" would be 14.00 to 17.00 years plus 14.00 to 17.00 years, or 28.00 to 34.00 years.

During the Anbo-jyutsu match between Kyle and William:

RIKER: And remembering. You should have been the one to die, not her. Yoroshiku-onegaishimasu.

And:

KYLE: Damn it, Will. You were barely out of diapers when she died. You hardly knew her! I'd loved her. Of course you carried the pain. So did I. I should have explained this to you a long time ago, but it hurt too much. Then the wall grew up between us. And living there, you and me, the wall got bigger. You know, it's funny. I can talk to a whole roomful of admirals about anything in the galaxy, but I can't talk to you about how I feel.

http://www.chakoteya.net/NextGen/140.htm2

This supports possible interpretation two, and thus Will Riker's age in "The Icarus Factor" should be 28.00 to 34.00 years.

And the first episode "Encounter at Farpoint" might have been almost two years earlier, thus making Will Riker's age in "Encounter at Farpoint" possibly in the range of 26.00 to 32.00 years.

Thus the series bible saying that Riker is 30 years old in the first season could be correct. A simpleminded calculation that Riker was 15 plus 15 equals 30 years old in "The Icarus Factor" could also be correct. But both of them can't be correct at the same time.

  • 2
    not voting one way or the other but I'm not a fan of starting this answer off w/ "Future Imperfect" - given that we probably can't trust much of any information that was given in the dream world. We're shown that the alien wasn't able to reliable differentiate the information in Riker's brain – NKCampbell Jun 5 '17 at 21:55

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