With Discovery bringing back the Talosians and Lower Decks bringing back the Pakleds, it occurred to me that Star Trek sometimes goes quite a long time without any mention of a particular species, only for them to reappear decades later. I'm curious as to what the longest gap in appearance is for any Star Trek species in canon sources.

Being mentioned or unambiguously alluded to counts as an appearance; the species does not need to appear "in the flesh." The gap is measured in real-world days between the release/broadcast of the films/episodes, not in-universe time between the events. Behind-the-scenes material such as cut footage, script iterations, DVD special features, or other production material that does not appear on screen in canon does not count.

For example, the Talosians appeared in TOS: The Menagerie, Part 2, originally broadcast November 24th, 1966, and did not appear in Star Trek again until this little guy:

An action figure of what appears to a Talosian standing on a desk

(who counts as an unambiguous allusion) appears in VOY: Future's End, Part 2; 13 November 1996; 10,947 days (29.99 years) later.

The Pakled gap is not as large as I expected, since they had background appearances on DS9 I wasn't aware of. Based on Memory Alpha's list of appearances, their gap is from DS9: Let He Who Is Without Sin... (11 Nov 1996) to LD: No Small Parts (8 Oct 2020), giving 8,732 days (23.92 years).

The references to the Pakleds and Talosians in the shooting script of Star Trek: Nemesis do not count as none of these ideas made it into the final cut.

So the Talosians are the current reigning champs. Who, if anyone, can beat them?

Edit to clarify, I consider all officially licensed film and television productions to be canon, including Lower Decks and Short Treks. No novels, video games, or other media, and no un-licensed works.

  • The longest in-universe gap is fairly simple to identify. Humans (and several Q) are present at the Big Bang. 13.4 billion years later we see them toodling around the Delta Quadrant. – Valorum Nov 23 '20 at 7:51


ST:TOS The Menagerie November 24, 1966

Discovery If Memory Serves March 7, 2019

Salt Vampires- 54 years

ST:TOS The Man Trap September 8, 1966

Lower Decks Ep. 8 Veritas September 24, 2020

(For the record Discovery and Lower Decks are not in my head canon)

  • 1
    Thank you for reminding me I should specify what I consider to be canon for the purposes of this question. – ApproachingDarknessFish Nov 23 '20 at 4:36
  • 1
    Salt Vampires are going to be very hard to beat, but your gap calculation is slightly off. Memory Alpha claims that the creature was also featured (albeit indirectly) in TOS: The Squire of Gothos (4 months after The Man Trap) and in Short Treks: Ephraim and Dot (9 months before Veritas) – ApproachingDarknessFish Nov 23 '20 at 8:06
  • Thank you for the correction I did not know that. Using your terminology I was doing "in the flesh" appearances - which is a higher bar than what you actually requested. – lucasbachmann Nov 23 '20 at 8:49
  • Please edit your Answer with the updated information. You may also want to list the Salt Vampires first, and explicitly state that the Talosians are the runners up. – trlkly Dec 16 '20 at 2:55

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