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Zefram Cochrane
Zefram Cochrane as portrayed by James Cromwell in Star Trek: First Contact
Species Human
Home planet Earth
Portrayed by Glenn Corbett
James Cromwell

Zefram Cochrane is a fictional character in the Star Trek universe. Created by writer Gene L. Coon, the character first appeared in the 1967 Star Trek episode "Metamorphosis", in which he was played by Glenn Corbett. James Cromwell later played Cochrane in the 1996 feature film Star Trek: First Contact and the 2001 Star Trek: Enterprise pilot, "Broken Bow". Footage of Cromwell from Star Trek: First Contact was used in the Enterprise episode "In a Mirror (Part I)", along with new footage of an identically-dressed actor whose face is not shown.

As established by the events of Star Trek: First Contact, Cochrane is the first human to invent warp drive, in 2063, drawing the attention of the Vulcans, and leading to humanity's first contact with an alien race.


Fictional character biography

Cochrane was born in 2030 (or 2013, according to the First Contact novelization). He constructed humanity's first warp-capable vessel, the Phoenix, in Bozeman, Montana, out of an old Titan II nuclear missile.[1][2] According to his dialog in Star Trek: First Contact, he started the project for financial gain.[1]

On April 5, 2063, Cochrane made Earth's first warp flight, playing Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride" during blast-off. The Phoenix's warp flight is detected by a Vulcan survey ship, the T'Plana Hath, which then makes peaceful first contact with humans, including Cochrane, at the Phoenix's launch site.[1]

The aphorism: "Don't try to be a great man, just be a man. And let history make its own judgments" is attributed to Cochrane, who is said to have uttered it in 2073.[3] In the early 22nd century, Cochrane was present at the dedication of Earth's first Warp 5 Complex, where he stated, "This engine will let us go boldly where no man has gone before", making him the earliest known person in the fictional timeline of Trek to do so.[4]

The Phoenix's launch facility became a historical monument. A 20-meter marble statue was erected there, depicting Cochrane reaching toward the future. Cochrane's name became revered throughout the known galaxy, with entire universities, cities and planets named after him.[5] Enterprise-E Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge, for example, attended Zefram Cochrane High School.[6]

According to the TOS episode "Metamorphosis", Cochrane was presumed dead after disappearing from Alpha Centauri in 2117. James T. Kirk, Spock, and Leonard McCoy find Cochrane living on an asteroid with a being he calls the Companion, an ethereal presence of pure energy who rejuvenated the aged, dying Cochrane more than a century before, and has held him captive — and in a state of youth and vigor — ever since. Traveling with the three Starfleet officers is an ill Federation commissioner. The Companion, who loves Cochrane, merges with the commissioner, ridding her of her illness and providing the Companion with a corporeal (but now mortal) form. The combined entity no longer has power to force Cochrane to stay with her, but Cochrane chooses to stay out of love and gratitude. Before departing, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy promise not to reveal Cochrane's existence.[1]


Mirror Universe

In the Mirror Universe, rather than reciprocating the Vulcans' peaceful greeting, Cochrane and the other humans kill the Vulcans and loot their ship, leading to the formation of the brutal Terran Empire.[7]


Glenn Corbett as Cochrane with the Companion

In "Metamorphosis", Cochrane was played by Glenn Corbett, who was 37 at the time of that episode's airing. In Star Trek: First Contact, Cochrane was played by the 56-year-old James Cromwell, at a point when the character, in 2063, would've been approximately 33 years old.[8] The Star Trek Encyclopedia explains this discrepancy by theorizing that Cochrane's aged appearance in 2063 was the result of radiation poisoning, and that when he encountered the Companion, the Companion reversed these effects, and restored his youthful appearance.[1]

Non-canonical information

In the novel Federation by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, whose publication predated the release of Star Trek: First Contact by two years, Cochrane had been portrayed as a human of Earth origin. The novel suggested he retired to Alpha Centauri at some point between his first warp flight and his disappearance.[9] This follows a suggestion made in the Star Trek Chronology, on the assumption humans could not have settled the Alpha Centauri system prior to the warp drive's invention.[10]

In the novel, Cochrane's warp experiments are the result of a mysterious billionaire's financial and idealistic support in the period between the Eugenics Wars and World War III; his self-identification with Alpha Centauri results from it being the destination of his first warp voyage and his subsequent founding role in the first colony in the system; and his life's story beyond his encounter with Kirk at Gamma Canaris in "Metamorphosis" is depicted up to his death during the events of the third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e Okuda, Mike and Denise, with Debbie Mirek (1999). The Star Trek Encyclopedia. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-53609-5.  
  2. ^ Star Trek: First Contact only referenced "central Montana" as the location, with Bozeman only being identified in Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Desert Crossing" by Hoshi Sato.
  3. ^ Riker mentions this to Cochrane as they prepare for the Phoenix's launch in Star Trek: First Contact.
  4. ^ Rick Berman and Brannon Braga. "Broken Bow"; Star Trek: Enterprise September 26, 2001
  5. ^ Gene L. Coon. "Metamorphosis"; Star Trek: The Original Series"; November 10, 1967
  6. ^ Geordi LaForge mentions this to Cochrane during the Earthbound scenes of Star Trek: First Contact.
  7. ^ This is scene in the opening teaser of the 2005 Star Trek: Enterprise episode "In a Mirror, Darkly", part I.
  8. ^ The character was stated in "Metamorphosis" to have been 87 years old in 2117, and was therefore born in 2030, as pointed out by The Star Trek Encyclopedia. Page 26 The Star Trek Chronology (second edition) also gives 2030 as his year of birth.
  9. ^ a b Reeves-Stevens, Judith and Garfield (1994-11-01). Federation. Star Trek. Pocket Books. ISBN 0671894226.  
  10. ^ Okuda, Mike and Denise (1993). Star Trek Chronology. Pocket Books. ISBN 0671796119.  

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