Future Guy was one of Archer’s most iconic enemies on Star Trek: Enterprise, and as it turns out, he might’ve been a future version of himself.
Enterprise became one of the franchise’s great unfinished projects in the Star Trek franchise after turmoil in the Paramount corporate offices truncated its run at four seasons. Among the questions left hanging at the end of its run was the identity of “Future Guy,” a mysterious figure aiding the sinister Cabal during the Temporal Cold War. He was intended to be one of the series’ primary antagonists, but Enterprise’s cancellation left him and key parts of the Temporal Cold War up in the air, and his ultimate identity was unconfirmed when the series ended.
According to the notes in the novelization of Season 1, Episode 1, “Broken Bow,” showrunners Rick Berman and Brannon Braga created the character without knowing who lay behind his silhouetted form. That gave them options as the series moved forward that could potentially allow them to adjust to future concepts, and tie them more elegantly into the eventual reveal. Of course, this never came to pass and the Temporal Cold War was swiftly wrapped up, but the mystery led to multiple theories about who or what Future Guy might actually be. Well, as it turns out, Braga revealed the truth in a 2012 tweet: the silhouetted villain was actually Jonathan Archer himself.
Future Guy himself was located in the 28th century, far in the future from the perspective of Archer and his crew. He used the Suliban Cabal as catspaws to enact his schemes, which included starting a civil war in the Klingon Empire and arranging for Archer to obtain evidence of a Xindi attack on Earth. He also often adopted seemingly contrary positions — appearing to help Archer and the Enterprise sometimes, while standing against them on other occasions. Future Guy’s interference officially ended in Season 4, Episode 2, “Storm Front, Part II,” which ended a temporal paradox and brought the war to a close.
The character acted through proxies in those instances — he himself couldn’t travel through time and was forced to use the Suliban. While they took the fall in “Storm Front,” he simply vanished, and the remainder of Enterprise’s final season largely concerned itself with other plot threads. That left him in limbo, presumably still in the 28th century, and with no more idea about his identity than at the show’s beginning. In fact, even actor James Horan, who portrayed Future Guy, said he was never certain who the figure was.
With that being the case, fans developed their own ideas about who lay behind his shadowy façade, and Braga himself implied that it might be a Romulan on the special features of the Enterprise Season 1 Blu-ray. And while he also mentioned the idea of Future Guy actually being Archer in the same segment, it took a tweet to finally confirm it. The Romulan idea, it seems, was a red herring because Archer as his own confounding antagonist held too much potential.
The plan was for Archer to find himself in a dark and unhappy future that he himself brought about, possibly after having his life extended by Suliban genetics. He was attempting to influence his younger self into making better decisions to prevent whatever bleak fate he engineered for himself and the galaxy. That him Future Guy the impetus to behave in a seemingly contradictory manner, and the producers could always explain it away by saying Archer’s efforts to found the Federation prevented the grim timeline that his future self lived in.
Of course, that direction would’ve required a few logistical maneuvers and fixing mild continuity errors, but the rumors can at least be put to bed. The answer would’ve come in a future Enterprise season fans never got to see, but Star Trek’s first captain was his own worst enemy.
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