William Thomas Riker is a fictitious character in the Star Trek universe played by Jonathan Frakes, who appears in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) and all the movies focusing on the TNG characters. more...
Riker is called "Will" by those who know him; "Bill" only by the unfamiliar (such as Dr. Crusher in Encounter at Farpoint, although inexplicably Deanna Troi refers to him in this way in Haven 1). He held the rank of Commander as second-in-command of the Enterprise-D during the series, and of the Enterprise-E beginning in Star Trek: First Contact, but was promoted to Captain of the USS Titan in the film Star Trek: Nemesis.
Will Riker was born to Kyle Riker and Betty Riker in Valdez, Alaska, Earth in 2335. In 2350, the elder Riker abandoned his son; his wife had died some years before. William resented his father for this and the two did not speak again until 2365, fifteen years later.
Riker entered Starfleet Academy c. 2353 and graduated in 2357, finishing eighth in his class. He acquired a lifelong repuation for using unorthodox solutions, as Enterprise Second Officer Data estimated he only used traditional tactics 21% of the time. Among the earliest assignments of his career were on the Excelsior-class U.S.S. Potemkin, on the planet Betazed, where he met Deanna Troi. He then served as a lieutenant and then a lieutenant commander on the U.S.S. Hood, also an Excelsior. Riker had two cruises on Hood, his second (2361–4) as XO. During his time on the Potemkin, Riker was involved in a transporter accident while beaming up from a planet; that accident created an exact copy of him which remained on the planet. Seven years after graduation, 2364, he requested and received a transfer to the USS Enterprise-D, the Starfleet flagship of that time, where he served as XO under Captain Jean-Luc Picard. After his assignment to the Enterprise, the fast-tracking young commander's career came to rest, and he remained on the Enterprise for nearly a decade and a half. Following the destruction of the Enterprise-D in 2371, Riker was reassigned to the USS Enterprise-E, where he again was Picard's first officer.
On the Enterprise, Riker was a popular officer with many close friends among the crew, acting as the visible extension and "softer face" of the somewhat aristocratic Captain Picard's authority. He also served as a diplomat to alien races, becoming romantically involved with a number of alien women before finally marrying long-time friend and companion Deanna Troi.
In 2379, having previously turned down several promotions in order to continue serving with Picard, Riker finally accepted promotion to Captain and assignment to command of the USS Titan. In the same year, he also married Deanna Troi.
Frakes reprised the role of William Riker in the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, aired in May 2005. In it, Riker consults holographic simulations of the final voyage of the NX-01 Enterprise in an attempt to help him deal with the situation concerning the USS Pegasus and its illegal cloaking device. Riker, with the help of Counselor Troi, cast himself in several roles within the holodeck program, such as the ship's chef and a MACO soldier. Eventually Riker, after learning all he can from the holodeck program, decides to come clean and explain to Captain Picard exactly what the situation with the Pegasus is.
Tom Riker (like the current Will Riker) is a transporter-generated clone of the original William Riker (See episode #624 Second Chances). He was created some seven years before the Enterprise-D's launch, while Will was the Second Officer of the Starship USS Potemkin.
Both Rikers are legally named William Thomas Riker, but the lesser known Riker uses the name "Tom" while the better known uses the name "Will." Tom shaved his sideburns and wears his beard as a goatee to keep himself visually distinct from his "brother". Tom Riker continued in Starfleet for a short time after being recovered by the Enterprise, briefly serving aboard the U.S.S. Gandhi.
Some time later, he secretly joined the Maquis and helped a group of Maquis steal the Starship Defiant from Deep Space Nine ("Defiant"). Captain Sisko allowed the Cardassians to capture him on the condition that Defiant be returned to Starfleet and Tom Riker not be executed.
Tom Riker's current status is unknown, as Cardassian forces were subsequently defeated in the Dominion War. Although Major Kira Nerys promised to rescue Tom from Cardassian detention, such an adventure if it occurred was never chronicled in the series. However, in the game Dominion Wars he is rescued in a mission during the war and appointed to command an advanced battleship, the Achilles.
- Note 1: According to Diane Carey's novel Ghost Ship, Troi calls Riker "Bill" because the word "Will" means "shaving cream" in the Betazed language. However, this is not established in canon. (It also contradicts her later behavior in the series...)
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