(covers information from several alternate timelines)
Thy'lek Shran was an Andorian commander in the Imperial Guard in the 2150s. Despite his aggressive and xenophobic background, Shran became an unlikely ally of Starfleet Captain Jonathan Archer and a proponent of strengthened ties between Andoria and Earth. (ENT: "The Andorian Incident", "Cease Fire", "Proving Ground", "Zero Hour", "United")
Early life Edit
Commander of the Kumari Edit
In June of 2151, Shran led an Andorian commando team which raided the Vulcan monastery at P'Jem. The Andorians had for a long time accused the Vulcans of hiding a clandestine long-range sensor array in the monastery for illegal surveillance of Andorian territories. The Andorians had mounted two previous raids and found no conclusive evidence, but remained convinced that the sensor array was there. During this third raid, Captain Archer accidentally stumbled into the confrontation while on a courtesy visit to the Vulcan monks. Shran, believing the Humans to be collaborating with the Vulcans against them, imprisoned Archer, along with Tucker and T'Pol, who were accompanying him. T'Pol's presence with the Humans only amplified Shran's suspicions, and Shran interrogated Archer for information, but learned nothing of use. While their first meeting was difficult, Shran and Captain Archer would develop a firm respect and trust for each other during their encounters.
His prisoners, however, managed to stage an escape with support from security officers from Enterprise NX-01. In the ensuing firefight, however, Archer and Shran accidentally uncovered a gateway into an advanced subspace sensor array – the Andorians had been right all along. As a gesture of peace, Archer gave Shran detailed sensor readings and images of the facility and allowed him to leave freely. As he departed, Shran said he was in Archer's debt. (ENT: "The Andorian Incident")
Later that year, Shran was assigned to an Andorian covert ops unit supporting an uprising on Coridan, a world allied with Vulcan. When a shuttlepod from Enterprise carrying Archer and T'Pol was shot down by the rebels, Shran contacted the security team sent to extract them and provided assistance. Shran, claiming that he had "lost sleep" over his debt to Archer, wanted to arrange the Captain's freedom as payment of that debt. His information proved crucial in releasing the Enterprise crewmen, and Shran also helped avoid a fire-fight with a commando squad from the Vulcan starship Ni'Var by shooting Traeg, a Coridan rebel who was about to fire on Vulcan captain Sopek. (ENT: "Shadows of P'Jem")
In late 2152, Shran was commanding ground forces deployed to Weytahn, a planetoid strategically located between Andorian and Vulcan space (referred to by the Vulcans as Paan Mokar). Recognizing a dangerous stalemate with the Vulcan forces, Shran sought to negotiate a truce with Vulcan ambassador Soval, with the talks mediated by Captain Archer. Although the Vulcans resisted the inclusion of Archer due to their innate disdain toward Humans, Shran took the unusual step of insisting on Archer's presence, stating that he trusted Archer to be objective based on their previous encounters. Despite some pitfalls in the process (Shran's lieutenant Tarah disobeyed his orders and opened fire on Archer's shuttlepod), the negotiations proved successful, and a final cease-fire was arranged. During the negotiations, Shran and Soval negotiated for weeks over little details and Soval never once lied to Shran. As a result, Shran grew to trust and respect Soval. (ENT: "Cease Fire", "Kir'Shara")
In December of 2153, the Kumari was deployed to the Delphic Expanse with orders to capture a prototype of a Xindi weapon for use as a deterrent against a potential Vulcan invasion. Shran followed the Enterprise's warp trail, hoping to save time as the Human ship was also searching for the Xindi weapon following the Xindi's unprovoked attack on Earth. The Kumari provided tactical and engineering assistance to Enterprise, helping to repair major damage the latter ship had incurred in an encounter with several spatial anomalies. The Kumari and the Enterprise launched a joint assault on a Xindi weapons-testing area, and Shran captured the Xindi prototype. Shran, however, had not informed Archer ahead of time of his intentions to take the weapon to Andoria. Furious, Archer used the weapon's remote activation codes to force Shran to jettison the weapon before it was destroyed. Their plan foiled, the Kumari returned to Andoria. Prior to leaving the Expanse, however, Shran secretly relayed all technical and tactical sensor readings his ship had taken from the weapon to Enterprise; this information would prove to be of enormous use in preventing a second Xindi attack on Earth. (ENT: "Proving Ground")
During the Xindi weapon's attack on Earth, Shran and the Kumari appeared out of high warp, having managed to track Degra's shuttle through a subspace vortex to Earth. Shran offers his help to Archer in saving Earth, having the Kumari fly cover for Degra's near-defenseless shuttle against a Xindi-Reptilian warship commanded by Councilor Dolim. Shran's intervention allows Archer and an away team to beam to the superweapon and ultimately destroy it while Shran battles Dolim's ship. After detecting Dolim's transport to the superweapon, Shran orders his crew to target the warship's unshielded engines and the Kumari destroys the Xinti ship, rendering Dolim unable to escape. Shran states that he and Archer are no longer even, Archer now owes him for his help. (ENT: "Zero Hour")
In 2154, the Vulcan High Command planned an invasion of Andoria. Shran led a group of Andorian ships who were hiding in a nebula. Enterprise, with help by Soval, located Shran and attempted to alert him to the invasion. Not fully convinced, Shran kidnapped Soval and restrained him. Using a machine to prevent Soval from blocking his emotions, Shran attempted to retrieve the real location of the Vulcans' fleet. Shran, however, did not want to harm Soval and simply wanted the real location of the fleet, growing more desperate and upset as he tortured Soval. When Enterprise found out about Shran kidnapping Soval, he was returned to the ship. Having been convinced by Soval's continuing insistence on his innocence, Shran shows remorse for his treatment of Soval and genuine concern for his condition, stating he did what he had to do and Soval would understand. After being convinced, Shran and Enterprise set forth to the location of the incoming Vulcan fleet. Shran only had a fleet of seven ships while the Vulcans had twelve, though more Andorian ships were on the way. When the Vulcan fleet arrived, the first fights occurred just between the Vulcans and Andorians. When Enterprise was ordered to be destroyed, Shran attempted to stop the Vulcans from doing so, stating that Archer now owed him twice. When problems in the Vulcan High Command ended, the battle halted. (ENT: "Kir'Shara")
Shortly after this, Shran became romantically linked with his tactical officer Talas. She initiated the pairing; Shran later told Jonathan Archer that he had the choice between arresting her and mating with her. He chose the latter. (ENT: "Babel One")
In November of the same year, the Kumari was destroyed by a Romulan ship posing as a Tellarite vessel. Shran made it to an escape pod. Shran, Talas, and eighteen other crew members were rescued by Enterprise. Determined to make Gral, the Tellarite ambassador, confess to the attack, Shran and Talas burst into Gral's quarters and held him at gunpoint. Archer eventually cooled the dispute, but Gral's aide Naarg wounded Talas with a phase-pistol. The wound proved mortal, and as she lay dying, Talas asked Shran to avenge her. After her death, Shran challenged Naarg to the Ushaan, a traditional Andorian duel, but Archer, fearing the collapse of the fragile Andorian-Tellarite-Vulcan alliance, invoked the right to substitute for the Tellarite. Shran was hesitant to fight the Captain because he did not want to hurt someone he considered a friend. During the duel, Shran wounded Archer and urged him to give up, while the captain retorted that he "was merely making Shran look good in front of his soldiers."
The duel ended when Archer lopped off Shran's left antenna, rendering him defenseless. He was expected to compensate for the loss of the antenna in a few days and regrow it in nine months, or half that time with therapy. (ENT: "Babel One", "United")
When evidence suggested the Romulan ship was being controlled via telepresence by an Andorian Aenar, Shran and Archer traveled to Andoria to meet with them. After enlisting the assistance of an Aenar female named Jhamel, they were able to contact the Romulan ship's unwilling pilot and stop the attack. Shran assisted Jhamel during this time, showing deep care for her. Before departing the Enterprise, Shran tells Archer that he may not get a new ship so it could be some time before they see each other again. Archer and T'Pol offer any assistance they can give him in the matter. (ENT: "The Aenar")
Later life Edit
Shran eventually married Jhamel. In 2156, she gave birth to their first child, Talla. Two years later, Shran had quit the Imperial Guard, even though he was considered a hero. He thought he needed some change as he had a family. As a civilian he made some poor choices and had friends involved in questionable businesses. As they thought he had taken a Tenebian amethyst that belonged to them, Shran was forced to fake his death. With the help of some old colleagues from the Imperial Guard, Shran managed to disappear for three years until he was discovered. Shran emerged from hiding in 2161, just prior to the signing of the Federation Charter, after his daughter was abducted. With the assistance of Archer and Enterprise, Shran was able to rescue his daughter. (ENT: "These Are the Voyages...")
Sometime prior to 2164, he had rejoined the Imperial Guard and was promoted to general. In 2164, he appointed Jonathan Archer an honorary member of the Andorian Guard. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II")
Alternate timeline Edit
In the alternate timeline where the Xindi destroyed Earth, Shran had been promoted to general sometime prior to 2165. He assisted the Human colony on Ceti Alpha V, providing Enterprise with deflector shields to replace its polarized hull plating. (ENT: "Twilight")
Background information Edit
In the script for "The Andorian Incident", Shran was introduced with the description, "His white hair and blue skin make his teeth appear sickly gray by contrast."
Without auditioning for the part, Jeffrey Combs was offered the role of Shran by Executive Producers Rick Berman and Brannon Braga.  Braga later explained, "Casting the role of Shran was a daunting challenge, because you've got to have some blue guy with antennae be threatening. When you have someone like Jeffrey, who you know is going to nail it and bring it dimension, you're like, 'Let's use him.' Plus, the fans love him." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 139, p. 24)
A fan of Star Trek: The Original Series himself, Jeff Combs thought it would be interesting to explore the Andorians, a race which was rarely seen on-screen prior to Enterprise. He made a point to ask whether the character would be killed off at the end of the episode, recalling his experience of playing Weyoun. Once informed that Shran would survive "The Andorian Incident", Combs readily accepted.  In a 2011 interview, Combs recalled, "Shran was a gift. I loved Shran. I got to play a completely different color, and I was excited about that. And I don't mean blue. Shran gave me a totally different spectrum than I had with Brunt and Weyoun. I got to play a captain, someone with a real chip on his shoulder. My prototype... I looked at the Vulcans as if they were the British and the Andorians as if they were the Irish, and Jimmy Cagney was my ideal. That's the kind of the guy I saw Shran as, a tough little guy who holds his ground, and you've got to go through him, not around him." 
As the director of "The Andorian Incident", Roxann Dawson was delighted with Combs' initial work as Shran. She later remarked, "He really created an extraordinary character there, didn't he?" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 143, p. 32)
Between the filming of "The Andorian Incident" and the production of "Shadows of P'Jem", Rick Berman stated about the character of Shran, "He's not necessarily an Andorian terrorist in the sense of being destructive. There's a little of that but I think he's more of an Andorian James Bond. He's an Andorian on a very important reconnaissance mission." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 136, p. 15)
The final draft script of "United" stated, "Shran is a student of history."
Manny Coto has stated that, had the series been given a fifth season, Shran may have joined the crew of Enterprise, as an "auxiliary or an advisor."   Jeffrey Combs himself was unaware of this idea until after the series ended. He commented, "I deeply appreciate it. At the same time it sort of hurts. 'Ah, man, the one that got away! Dang it! Coulda, shoulda, woulda.' But I take it as the huge compliment that it is. I was quite involved in that fourth season and so it sounds like it would have been a natural progression, and it would have been a cool one, to have a new alien on the bridge adding another dynamic. That would have been really, really interesting." 
Ultimately, Jeff Combs felt that, of all the characters he had played on Star Trek, Shran was the one he'd most like to play again. "I like his attitude and his complexity. And there was still some stuff to explore about him. I think I'd like that." 
Shran was also popular with other production staffers, including married writing couple Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. The latter noted about Combs' portrayal of the character, "Jeffrey is sort of everyone's favorite Andorian." Added Judith Reeves-Stevens, "Jeffrey as Shran, you're not concentrating on the fact that he has blue antennae that move, he sells the character." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 37, No. 2, p. 40)
Shran was also a character in the aborted film Star Trek: The Beginning.
- Thy'lek Shran at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- Thy'lek Shran at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- Thy'lek Shran at Wikipedia
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