Somehow I cannot understand the key plot of the "Shockwave. Part II" episode. Why did taking Captain Archer out of his original timeline

cause the Federation to be never ever created?

What was so unique about him? Why couldn't someone else continue his work, now or later?

It is said in that very same episode that

space exploration by Humans will continue and Earth only needs 10 or 20 more years to re-start.

So, what am I missing? What was so important (actually crucial) about Jonathan Archer?

  • 5
    Well, he managed to ease the tensions between Andorians and Vulcans thus avoiding a war, he recovered the teachings of Surak and brought stability to the Vulcan people, he defeated the Xindi and thwarted the Romulans from interfering with the rest of the major powers and was instrumental in creating the Federation, all of which would not happen if they waited 10-20 more years before going deep-space.
    – Hans Olo
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 9:36
  • 1
    Your comment still doesn't explain why all these things couldn't happen with someone else at the captain's seat, even when seated there 20 years later. Do we have a strong evidences that all these events could happen in only next 20 years? Do we have any evidence that these events even happening wouldn't cause Federation to be created even so, only maybe later and in a different shape? After all, United Nations was created as an effect of war, not peace. But... if you disagree with my point of view, then go ahead and write that comment as an answer. It is a perfect response to my question.
    – trejder
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 9:41
  • 5
    Well, we cannot prove a negative, can we? The thing is, Andorians and Vulcans were on the brink of war around that time, so in hindsight waiting for 20 years might have been too late. The same goes for the Xindi. Still it's an interesting question, my +1.
    – Hans Olo
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 9:43
  • 1
    It wasn't that someone else couldn't continue his work, it's that in the future that they are privy too (and boot-strapped into), no one else did, so he's the guy. AKA, plot armor.
    – Mazura
    Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 23:29

1 Answer 1


(spoilers ahead!) All of this information is revealed in later episodes of the series, so read this answer at your own risk.

It ultimately comes down to a combination of factors:

  • Xindi Conflict - Archer and the Enterprise crew essentially saved the entire human race by destroying the Xindi weapon that aimed to destroy planet Earth. Additionally, he and his crew essentially paved the way for peaceful Xindi-human relations and made the Delphic Expanse inhabitable for the majority of the galaxy.
  • Vulcan-Andorian relations - After the incident in the episode season one "Shadows of P'Jem," it seemed like the interactions between the Andorians and Vulcans would only get worse and eventually escalate into all out war. They nearly did, due to extremist members of the Vulcan High Command attempting to initiate war with the Andorians. However, Archer was able to present the Vulcan Kir'Shara, the original record of Surak's teachings, to the High Command and prevent them from starting such a conflict. This got the Andorians and the Vulcans on speaking terms and eventually paved the way for the Federation.
  • Andorian-Tellarite relations - Oh, the Andorians. They really can't get along with anyone, can they? For a reason I can't remember, the Andorians and the Tellarites were feuding. The Romulan Star Empire took advantage of this feud and destroyed an Andorian ship disguised as a Tellarite vessel. The two races were about to enter a war with each other when Archer intervened. Despite a few hiccups, he was also able to get the two groups on hand-shaking terms, eventually paving the way for the Federation.
  • Terra Prime incident - As the Coalition of Planets (the precursor to the Federation) was being formed, the xenophobic human terrorist group known as Terra Prime took control of an array on Mars that could essentially destroy Starfleet Headquarters. Archer prevented Terra Prime from succeeding in their quest, and the Coalition of Planets was created.
  • Federation Charter - In the final, and probably worst, episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, Archer signed the charter that ratified the United Federation of Planets.
  • Other Notable Accomplishments - Archer also served as the Chief of Staff of Starfleet Command post-captaincy of the Enterprise, ambassador to Andoria, Federation Councilman, and eventually President of the Federation.
  • 3
    All good points. On an aside I wonder if the Terra Prime incident would have been an issue had the Xindi succeeded. Presumably during ENT:Twilight that never happened.
    – Xantec
    Commented Oct 15, 2019 at 3:31

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