Saturn Awards TNG Cast with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige in
(Courtesy of The Saturn Awards)

‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ Cast Gets Well-Deserved Lifetime Achievement Award at the 51st Saturn Awards

Saturn Awards TNG Cast with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige in
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The 51st Saturn Awards ceremony was held on February 4, 2024, in Los Angeles, California. With a franchise record-breaking number of nominations, Star Trek swooped up numerous Saturn statutes across categories and was awarded one of the most talked about achievements of the night.

Presented by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast was honored with the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror’s Lifetime Achievement Award, underscoring the profound impact of the franchise on science fiction and popular culture (and particularly, the Marvel Cinematic Universe).

The best in genre entertainment is commemorated yearly at the Saturn Awards. After being snubbed by the Emmy Awards and Golden Globes, this was a big year for the Star Trek franchise, with a record-breaking 15 nominations. 

Nominated for seven awards in five categories, Star Trek: Picard took home four Saturn statutes. Meanwhile, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was nominated for six awards in five categories but only won Best Featured Guest Star in a Television Series, where young Captain James T. Kirk actor Paul Wesley beat out Picard’s Amanda Plummer. Star Trek: Lower Decks was also nominated in the Best Animated Series or Special category, but it lost to Star Wars: The Bad Batch

In addition, the TNG cast was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award, an award typically reserved for individuals. A statement from the Academy to TrekMovie explains:

“The Lifetime Achievement Award is usually presented to an individual for their contributions to genre entertainment. Top luminaries like Stan Lee and Leonard Nimoy, Mr. Spock himself, have received this top honor. It’s not new, but we extended this award to cover the entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation, due to its continued influence on the face of general television. It was originally doomed to failure since it was following in the footsteps of the original Star Trek, yet it carved its own identity, and its diverse cast was light years ahead of its time!”

Accepting the award were Sir Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Marina Sirtis, Gates McFadden, Michael Dorn, and Wil Wheaton. While not present, TNG cast members LeVar Burton and Jonathan Frakes are also being bestowed with this honor. This is the second time Frakes has been bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Academy, previously winning one in 2013 (other Star Trek creatives awarded with such an honor include Nichelle Nichols, Leonard Nimoy, and Gene Roddenberry).

This year’s best Star Trek moments at the Saturn Awards also included Feige, who donned a new hat for Marvel’s upcoming Deadpool/Logan buddy film to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to the TNG cast. Some might be wondering why the Marvel Studios’ president was there to present the award. Still, the MCU is a perfect example of the widespread influence of Gene Roddenberry’s “wagon train to the stars” concept.

In 2018, Feige told Entertainment Weekly that TNG greatly influenced the end of Marvel’s Infinity Saga. “I talk a lot, because I’m a big-ass nerd, about Star Trek: The Next Generation, ‘All Good Things,'” he told the outlet about how the series influenced Avengers: Infinity War. “That to me, is one of the best series finales ever. That wasn’t about death. Picard went and played poker with the crew, something he should have done a long time ago, right?”

And the EW interview wasn’t the only time Feige has mentioned Star Trek’s influence on the MCU. reported, also in 2018, that Feige mentioned the franchise’s influence on the MCU on other occasions. The outlet quoted him as saying:

“I had never thought of this before, but what do we do in Iron Man 3? Blow up Tony’s house, blow up all of his suits. What did we do in Captain America 3? Shatter the Avengers, shatter his relationships with Tony Stark and half of the characters that have become his present-day foundation. In every part three, we can. And we’ve blown up Asgard in this! Oh, my god, we’re one-trick ponies. Search what happens in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. They blow up the Enterprise; that’s where we got it.”

The 2023 book MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios by Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales, and Gavin Edwards also reveals how Star Trek V: The Final Frontier has inspired Feige. Near the end of the book, Doctor Strange writer C. Robert Cargill reveals how Feige told him every one of their movies needs a “campfire scene.” This references the scene at the opening and closing of The Final Frontier where Kirk, Spock, and McCoy go camping together in Yellowstone Park and sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” 

The influence of the campfire scene can be seen in Captain America: The First Avenger when Steve Rogers shares a drink with Bucky Barnes. However, the MCU is so packed with references to Star Trek that I don’t even have space to write about them, so thank goodness CBR did it for me.

(featured image: Courtesy of the Saturn Awards)

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Rebecca Oliver Kaplan
Rebecca Oliver Kaplan (she/he) is a comics critic and entertainment writer, who's dipping her toes into new types of reporting at The Mary Sue and is stoked. In 2023, he was part of the PanelxPanel comics criticism team honored with an Eisner Award. You can find some more of his writing at Prism Comics,, Comics Beat, Geek Girl Authority, and in Double Challenge: Being LGBTQ and a Minority, which she co-authored with her wife, Avery Kaplan. Rebecca and her wife live in the California mountains with a herd of cats.