In Star Trek: Generations, Picard

exits the Nexus back in time to prevent the planet from being destroyed by Soran.

Why doesn't he exit the Nexus further back and prevent the events from ever taking place at all?

  • 5
    He needed the residuals. Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 22:22
  • Rick Berman and Brannon Braga are bad writers. Obviously a normal person would have...traveled to the point where his brother and nephew died and prevented that. Guess only Voyager gets to do resets. Though in my opinion since all the TNG films are bad this would be a perfect point to reboot the reboot when all the j.j. stuff gets scrapped get rid of some B&B era stuff too. Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 22:43
  • 6
    The more of the past you erase, the more damage you may do to other people. You never know what consequences your Redo will have. The least change for the maximum effect is best.... Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 23:52
  • Could kinda be down to the grandfather paradox Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 18:54

2 Answers 2


In terms of an in-universe reasoning, the Temporal Prime Directive stipulates that Starfleet personnel are to maintain the timeline and prevent history from being altered. Only going back the minimum distance necessary to stop Soran from committing a selfish atrocity prevents other potential butterfly effects from happening, which he might not even know about. For example, if he never lets Soran off the Enterprise, maybe Soran ends up blowing up more solar systems in the long run, or maybe the Duras Sisters take over the Klingon Empire and destroy the Federation, or the Borg win in First Contact because the Enterprise-D isn't as capable as the Enterprise-E, or...

The real answer is because it was better for the plot. It wouldn't have been much of a movie if we watch 75-90 minutes, hit reset, Soran is arrested in Sickbay, and then the Enterprise-D crew hits the laugh track as they warp to their next adventure and nothing actually happened.

  • 1
    I've put your 'meta' comments at the bottom since OP is asking for an in-universe reason primarily
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 6:08
  • 4
    I like to think of it as the Prime Time Directive. Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 8:11
  • 3
    A pity really, it seems like a line or two in the script could have given a reasonable explanation for why Picard didn't do this...
    – komodosp
    Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 10:21
  • Everyone knows the "real" reason. You needn't list it. Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 15:43

This was addressed by the film's co-writer, Ronald D. Moore in an AOL interview. Picard is an experienced time traveler and is well aware of the damage he could cause to the timeline if he goes back any farther than is strictly necessary.

Q. About the Nexus, Guinan told Picard he could come out of the Nexus and into our reality at any point in time he wished. If this is true, why on Earth did he and Kirk decide to go back at a time when their lives would be in danger? How about going back when Sauron was in Ten-Forward stargazing and just have Worf toss him in the brig?

RDM: Our reasoning (and it's admittedly thin) is that Picard didn't want to go back any further in time than absolutely necessary since he knows the extreme dangers of unexpected results from any tampering with the timeline. Okay, it's not much, but there it is.

AOL Chat

Note that even going back a few minutes is a violation of his oath to Starfleet.

  • If I remember correctly, Ten Forward served something called 'synthehol', a substance that tasted like alcohol but had none of the interesting side effects. I don't think Sauron would like it there. Commented Jan 1, 2023 at 7:55
  • 1
    Didn't know Sauron was in that movie. I thought that was another franchise ;) Commented Jan 1, 2023 at 9:49

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