Geordi is not appointed as the chief engineer of the Enterprise-D until season two. There seemed to be a major change in the crew at this time (including the temporary exit of Dr Crusher and apparent installment of Chief O'Brien), but is there a canonical reason for Geordi's appointment?

There is a similar but distinct question about the chief engineer before Geordi here.

  • 4
    I read a book on the history of Trek once - If I recall it correctly the success of the first season cause Paramount to infuse more money into TNG and become more involved in its production. Season two also saw new writers, new characters, expanded character development and departures behind the camera (not just Gates Mcfadden/Dr. Crusher). This might help: TNG Wiki Mar 18, 2014 at 2:56
  • I have also wondered this. His role in season 1 isn't very technical, and he's rarely doing anything that suggests latent engineering abilities.
    – Dacio
    Mar 18, 2014 at 16:11
  • Per Memory Alpha article: At one point in his career as a young officer, La Forge was assigned to pilot Jean-Luc Picard on an inspection tour. En route to their destination, Picard made an off-hand remark about the shuttle's engine efficiency not being what it should be. In response to this, La Forge stayed up all night refitting the shuttle's fusion initiators. When Picard discovered what La Forge had done the following morning, he knew immediately that he wanted La Forge with him on his next command. (TNG: "The Next Phase") Apr 30, 2021 at 20:15
  • It's worth considering that Chief Engineer isn't just about technical knowledge, he also has to have management skills. He may have been in a resume building post from that perspective. May 2, 2021 at 17:21

1 Answer 1


Does the Star Trek: The Next Generation Writer's Guide count for you?

The Starfleet reasoning (or "in-universe" reasoning) is that officers need a year of bridge duty before being promoted. I don't remember if that's all officers, or only ones in certain fields.

(And, at this point, Gene Roddenberry was still running the show, just as he was in season one.)

The behind the scenes reasoning was that they didn't think they'd need a Chief Engineer and had gone through three of them in one season and by the second season, they realized they needed one and it was better to use an existing character than a new one.

I suspect part of the reasoning, the second time around, was that they were trying to keep the stories more character-focused and deal less with the technology, but soon found they still needed a chief engineer. (LeVar Burton stated he loved the change, since that meant that when he had a scene, it was moving the plot forward and was more integral, rather than just responding to orders and pushing buttons.)

  • In addition to answer 18, Geordi was chosen for the chief engineer role as having a blind helmsman was seen as a little "off" in hindsight
    – user23990
    Mar 18, 2014 at 15:13
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    I find it very interesting that they didn't feel a Chief Engineer was needed. Scotty is one of the most memorable characters from TOS (at least to me), and after rewatching season 1 of TNG, the interchangeable engineering staff seems very odd.
    – Dacio
    Mar 18, 2014 at 16:15
  • @Dacio They almost didn't even build the engineering set; a scene was written specifically for the pilot to ensure they built one. (Source: memory of the Next Generation Technical Manual, looking for something more reliable now.) Mar 18, 2014 at 16:19
  • @Dacio: Remember, in TOS, Scotty wasn't cast for a while. They didn't think they'd need a Chief Engineer as much the first time around either.
    – Tango
    Mar 18, 2014 at 16:36
  • 6
    To add to this, I remember reading that part of Roddenberry's vision for TNG in general was "technology unchained": the idea that by TNG's era, technology had become seamlessly interwoven with everyone's lives. As such, he didn't want the technology to be the focus of the drama or story and therefore, a character whose sole job was the support the technology was deemed unnecessary. Apologies for not being able to cite a source on this, as I can't remember now exactly where I read that. Mar 18, 2014 at 17:36

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