|Position||USS Enterprise commanding officer|
|Portrayed by||James Doohan (voice)|
|First appearance||"The Counter-Clock Incident" (TAS)|
Robert T. April is a fictional character in the Star Trek universe. April is listed in the Star Trek Chronology, The Star Trek Encyclopedia and at startrek.com as the Enterprise's first commanding officer, preceding Captain Christopher Pike.
The character's only television/movie appearance is in the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Counter-Clock Incident", in which he is voiced by James Doohan and portrayed as the first captain of the USS Enterprise. However, the decision by Paramount Pictures, studio owners of the franchise, and series creator Gene Roddenberry not to consider the animated series to be part of the official Star Trek canon has led to debate as to whether April's place as first captain is actually a part of Star Trek continuity. Roddenberry did say on the record that the character of Robert April, as portrayed in "The Counter-Clock Incident", is part of Star Trek canon, the only known instance of Roddenberry accepting the animated series as an official part of Star Trek lore.
When Roddenberry submitted his first proposal for Star Trek to MGM Studios in 1964, his name for the starship commander was "Robert M. April" (another name, Captain James Winter, was also considered). The proposal was rejected, and Star Trek did not become a television reality until later that year when NBC accepted the premise, by which time the captain was changed to "Christopher Pike".
"The Counter-Clock Incident"
Fred Bronson (writing as John Culver) created the character Commodore Robert April for his episode "The Counter-Clock Incident". Bronson came up with the idea of the Enterprise having a first Captain, a predecessor to Christopher Pike. He selected the name "Robert April" from the list of names from which Roddenberry selected the name of the Enterprise Captain, as published in the book The Making of Star Trek. In "The Counter-Clock Incident", the character's middle initial is T and not M as in Roddenberry's original proposal. In the episode, the Enterprise crew begins to rapidly age in reverse. Commodore April's and his wife Sarah's (voiced by Nichelle Nichols) old age affords them more time at maturity, allowing them to save the crew and undo the reverse aging process. The episode establishes that Sarah was the chief medical officer of the Enterprise during Robert April's time as the ship's commanding officer.
Carey's books indicate that April comes from Coventry in England. He wears various cardigan sweaters over his uniform due to a rare blood disorder that causes him to feel slightly chilly most of the time. Commander George Kirk, father of future Enterprise commanding officer James T. Kirk, serves as April's executive officer. Carey's books also feature Sarah as the ship's chief medical officer. However, Crisis on Vulcan by Brad and Barbara Strickland portrays Pike as first officer under April when Spock visits the ship.
A unique version of April appeared in the final issues of Star Trek: Early Voyages where he appeared as a stubborn and extremely militaristic person, who ordered an attack against an unknown ship that was making provocative moves against the Enterprise, despite the fact that Number One was in command. The enemy counter-attacked, leaving Number One injured and April in command. The ending is unknown since the series ended on a cliffhanger.
In computer games
Commodore Robert April is mentioned in the computer game Star Trek: Legacy during the early part of the TOS campaign, where he is still in Starfleet service in 2270. In the series, it would be between seasons 4 and 5, though the Commodore is only mentioned in the missions.
Other references to Robert April by Gene Roddenberry
In the late 1950s, Gene Roddenberry wrote two episodes of Have Gun – Will Travel featuring a prison chaplain named Robert April. In the first episode, “The Hanging of Roy Carter”, John Larch portrayed April, who faced the question of whether to intervene to delay an unjust hanging. During the second episode, “The Return of Roy Carter”, April is portrayed by Larry J. Blake, and Paladin (Richard Boone) refers to April as being one of the finest men he has ever known. The episode ends with April dying while saving the life of a criminal trying to escape justice.
- Okuda, Michael; Okuda, Denise (1996). Star Trek Chronology: The History of the Future. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-53610-9.
- Okuda, Michael; Okuda, Denise; Mirek, Debbie (1999). The Star Trek Encyclopedia. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-53609-5.
- "Enterprise, U.S.S.". 2007-04-21.
- "The Counter-Clock Incident". Star Trek: The Animated Series. Season 2. Episode 6. Paramount Television. October 12, 1974. NBC.
- Ayers, Jeff (2006). Voyages of the Imagination: The Star Trek Fiction Companion. Pocket Books. ISBN 1-4165-0349-8.
- Carey, Diane (1989). Final Frontier. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-69655-6.
- Carey, Diane (1993). Best Destiny. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-79588-0.
- Whitfield, Stephen E.; Roddenberry, Gene (1968). The Making of Star Trek. Ballantine. ISBN 0-345-24691-8.
- Strickland, Brad; Strickland, Barbara (1996). Crisis on Vulcan. Starfleet Academy. Alladin. ISBN 0-671-00078-0.