Discovery Just Brought a Star Trek Enterprise Character to 32nd Century Canon

The Star Trek: Discovery finale reveals that the show has been a pseudo-continuation of the story of an infamous Enterprise character all along!

Star Trek Enterprise Cast
Photo: James Sorenson/CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

This Star Trek: Discovery article contains spoilers.

Since 2020, Star Trek: Discovery has harbored a strange sci-fi temporal anomaly. Starting with the episode “Die Trying,” in season 3, director David Cronenberg—the mastermind who gave us The Fly and more recently, Crimes of the Future—has appeared semi-regularly as a mysterious figure known only as “Dr. Kovich.” As Discovery’s latter seasons have gone on, Kovich’s true purpose has become more clear, even if we don’t fully understand why he wears that all-black, somewhat contemporary-looking suit.

While it’s been tempting to say that David Cronenberg has just been playing David Cronenberg this entire time, the Discovery series finale actually fully answers the question of who Kovich really is and his larger role in Star Trek canon. In fact, Cronenberg’s strange character is revealed to be, perhaps, one of the most crucial people in the entire universe.

Kovich Is Actually Agent Daniels From Star Trek: Enterprise!

While Kovich has previously assisted the crew of Discovery with various pieces of information about the multiverse and time travel rules, his role in the recently concluded season 5 was significantly larger. Starting with “Red Directive”, he’s been calling the shots, sending Burnham and the crew on the treasure hunt across the universe to track down clues that lead to the elusive—and life-creating—technology of the ancient aliens known as the Progenitors. 

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Back in season 3, some fans theorized that Kovich was the leader of some future-tense version of Section 31, which would have explained his interest in Georgiou. Before season 4’s introduction of Laira Rillak (Chelah Horsdal), there were even some who suggested he was the low-key President of the Federation. But, now, at the end of season 5, we know the truth: Kovich is actually a bit more important than any of those other guessed-at roles. He’s the guy who saved the entire timeline! 

As Burnham chats in Kovich’s office—which sports Geordi’s visor and Sisko’s baseball in places of honor—she playfully asks him to reveal his true name. Because Kovich has come to trust Burnham, he obliges, introducing himself as “Agent Daniels.” If you’re not a hardcore fan of the prequel series Enterprise, this probably meant nothing. But if you are, this was a fairly huge twist.

In the 2001 Enterprise episode “Cold Front,” Daniels (played then by Matt Winston) revealed to Captain Archer (Scott Bakula) that he was really a time-traveling agent from the 31st century, sent back to the 22nd century to prevent a ton of tampering with the timeline. Daniels then popped-up throughout all four seasons of Enterprise, and, in the events of “Storm Front Parts I and II,” Daniels aids the crew of the NX-01 in an alternate 1944, in which an alien species called the Na’kuhl have aided the Nazis with advanced technology. 

Although Archer isn’t thrilled with Daniels often popping in for some temporal shenanigans, in the end, it’s through Daniels’ help that the NX-01 Enterprise succeeds in restoring the timeline. That said, throughout the run of Enterprise, it seems like several tweaks to the timeline were happening, all along, because of the Temporal Cold War. And now, with the revelation that Kovich is Daniels, it seems possible we could all soon be looking at the Trek timeline in an entirely new light.

What Agent Daniel’s Return Could Mean for the Star Trek Timeline

Back in Discovery season 3, in the episode “Terra Firma Part 1,” Kovich broke new ground for the franchise by becoming the first person from the Prime Timeline to mention the existence of the Kelvin Timeline outright. In doing this, the modern TV shows more overtly acknowledged the permeance of a Star Trek multiverse over a single, linear timeline.

The revelation that Kovich is the same character who fought to preserve the 22nd Century in Enterprise could be even more useful for future timeline questions than it might seem at first. Yes, on the surface, this is a nice easter egg that neatly explains Kovich and his job in the 32nd century. But it also makes the entirety of Discovery a little more timey-wimey than ever before. At the end of Discovery season 2, the ship journeys to the future, to save the past, and all of creation from a rogue AI called Control. In season 3, Kovich was very interested in Georgiou’s connection to Control, which could indicate that, maybe, just maybe, Control wasn’t part of the “original” Prime Timeline.

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In fact, since First Contact in 1996, it seems possible that the “original” Star Trek timeline has been modified, and tweaked by various temporal incursions, many, many times over. In Enterprise—the first province of Agent Daniels—Zefram Cochrane remembered the Borg, indicating that the “current” timeline is the one in which Picard and the crew helped restore the events of 2063. If Picard and the Enterprise-E crew weren’t part of a predestination paradox, and some version of First Contact occurred in another timeline without their intercession, then that means everything in Enterprise already exists in a separate timeline from all the canon that came before it.

On top of this, Enterprise season 3 Daniels (Kovich) told Archer that the war with the Xindi and Starfleet in the 22nd century existed only because of temporal incursions. This, too, suggests that Enterprise was creating a slightly divergent timeline all along, one a bit different from whatever existed in TOS, TNG, DS9, and Voyager, prior to First Contact.

In the 2023 Strange New Worlds season 2 episode, “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow,” there was even more evidence that the Prime Timeline is in flux. Now, Khan no longer rises to power on Earth in the 1990s, but later, in the early 21st century, due to continuing temporal changes. Clearly, whatever happened with the Temporal Wars that we first glimpse in Enterprise is still sending ripples through the entire canon.

By explicitly connecting Kovich to Enterprise though, what Discovery has done is create a kind of comprehensive handwave courtesy of one of the franchise’s foremost time travelers. But whether you choose to believe Daniels reintroduction in the 32nd Century means a lot more temporal shifts have occurred than we know of, revealing Kovich’s true identity was always part of the season 5 plan, as showrunner Michelle Paradise tells Den of Geek.

“Very early on, we knew we were going to have to answer the backstory of this character and who he is and that it had to be worthy of the character himself and the way David plays him,” Paradise says. “A couple of our writers who are very familiar with Star Trek: Enterprise suggested Daniels and the minute they did, all of our heads exploded a little bit because it just felt like that makes sense. We knew, coming into this season, that we wanted to answer that in what, at the time, we thought was the season finale.”

Assuming the Star Trek franchise can coax back Cronenberg for recurring roles on other shows or movies, the universe now has a character who knows more about the various chronologies than anyone else (other than maybe Q) and who can pop in whenever time shenanigans are going on. The great thing that makes Kovich/Daniels unique to Q is that he’s not superpowered or all knowing. He’s simply a guy who’s been around a long time, and some of that longevity is because of time travel.

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After all, Kovich is only human. Or, as he told Captain Archer all those years ago, “more or less.”