This article contains spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery‘s first two episodes.
We just got our first new Star Trek TV show in 12 years with the two-hour premiere of Star Trek: Discovery on CBS and CBS All-Access and, while the new series definitely struck out on its own in many ways, it featured some pretty prominent callbacks to the Star Trek lore and mythos that has come before.
Here were all of the Star Trek references and Easter Eggs we caught in the first two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery…
General Order #1
It doesn’t take long for Discovery to reference the often-touted “Prime Directive” — or at least a proto version of it — when Burham and Georgiou are traipsing across the desert planet. Burnham cites “General Order 1,” i.e. “No starship may interfere with the normal development of any alien life or society.”
Georgiou calls Burnham “Number One” on several occasions. The designation “Number One,” in reference to the ship’s first officer goes back a long way — to Star Trek’s very beginning, in fact, in 1964’s “The Cage,” the show’s original pilot episode.
There, Number One was played by Majel Barrett, who would go on to play Nurse Chapel in The Original Series, and to voice the ship’s computer and play Deanna Troi’s mother in The Next Generation. My favorite use of the “Number One” designation comes in The Next Generation‘s “Rascals.”
T’Kuvma sure loves Kahless, the messianic figure from Klingon history. Kahless was the first emperor of the Klingon Empire, and gets referenced a bajillon times in Star Trek lore. He was first seen in The Original Series‘ “The Savage Curtain.” In The Next Generation, some ambitious Klingons make a clone of Kahless in “Rightful Heir.”
At one point in tonight’s episodes, T’Kuvma mentions Donatu V. Donatu V is a planet mentioned in The Original Series‘ “The Trouble With Tribbles” as the location of a brush between the Federation and the Klingons during the Cold War.— Bryan Fuller (@BryanFuller) September 9, 2016
“Balance of Terror”
It’s no surprise that Bryan Fuller, one of the two writers of these first two episodes, referenced The Original Series episode “Balance of Terror” as inspiration for this two-parter. The Shenzhou’s mission to find out who has been messing with the Federation’s array is not unlike the Enterprise’s mission to find out who has destroyed some Federation outposts (spoiler: it’s the Romulans).
In “Balance of Terror,” When the Enterprise encounter a Romulan vessel, equipped with a cloaking device, they work to maintain the fragile peace that has been in place between the Federation and the Romulans since the Earth-Romulan War more than a century prior. The similarities between these two narrative set-ups are many.
It’s also worth noting that this episode marks actor Mark Lenard’s first appearance on Star Trek. Lenard would go on to portray Sarek, a role played by James Frain in Discovery.
Speaking of Sarek, let’s talk about this important Star Trek character who was first introduced in The Original Series, but would go on to appear in The Animated Series, The Next Generation, four Star Trek movies, and many novels and comic books.
Sarek is the only character, as far as we know, who will link The Original Series with Discovery. In Star Trek canon, he is not only Spock’s father, but the Vulcan ambassador to the Federation. One of his more interesting character points is that he married a human woman, Amanda.
It’s unclear, at this point, if Amanda will be a character in Discovery, but, given the timing of this series (roughly ten years before the events of The Original Series), it seems a valid assumption to make that Michael would have known both Amanda and Spock growing up, if she spent that much time with Sarek.
Vulcan Learning Center
In Discovery, we see a flashback to Burnham studying at the Vulcan Learning Center, which is the school with the individual spherical classrooms. This design and location was first seen in the 2009 Star Trek movie in flashbacks to Spock’s childhood. Does this mean Spock and Michael grew up and perhaps studied together? Perhaps.
Mind meld & nerve pinch.
In the most surprising moment of the first two Discovery episodes, Burnham uses the Vulcan nerve pinch on Georgiou to take her out. The Vulcan nerve pinch was liberally used by Spock in The Original Series, and comes up a fair amount throughout Star Trek canon — because why would you not write this into an episode? It is notoriously difficult for non-Vulcans to learn.
Another classic Vulcan move (besides the Live Long and Prosper, which also gets some play in the early episodes of Discovery) is the mind meld. Used first in The Original Series (and notably by Spock prior to his death in The Wrath of Khan to transfer his katra to McCoy), it is a sharing of consciousness between two individuals.
TrekCore spotted a bottle of Chateau Picard wine in Georgiou’s ready room. An excellent vintage!
Did you catch any Star Trek references or Easter Eggs that we missed? Sound off in the comments below…