This Star Trek: Discovery article contains spoilers for the Season 3 premiere.
You’d think that a new Star Trek series set centuries and centuries beyond any of the shows and movies wouldn’t have that many references to the series and films that came before, right? Well, Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 might be set in a brand new time period — the year 3188 to be precise — but the narrative is built atop the layered history of Trek’s future history super carefully. Showrunner Michelle Paradise and Alex Kurtzman have mentioned several times that 930 years from 2257 puts them well past the constraints of canon, and yet, the debut episode of Discovery Season 3, demonstrates a meticulous understanding of where this show came from, and a desire to keep everything about the larger story of Star Trek, as tightly knit as possible.
In other words, there were a lot more Easter eggs and references in the newest Discovery episode than you might think. Here’s every Easter egg and reference we caught in the first episode of Star Trek: Discovery Season 3, “That Hope Is You, Part 1.”
The saucer of a Federation starship
The first thing we see as Book flies his impressive starship in an attempt to outrun Cosmo, is the wrecked saucer section of what looks like a Starfleet ship. The dead giveaway is the letters “NCC.” Was this a Federation ship from the 31st century? The 30th? Even older? We don’t know, and we probably never will. Every wondered what “NCC” stands for? Well, it’s never actually been established in canon, but in the early days of The Original Series it was designed as an homage to American ships having an “NCC” as part of their registry and Russian vessels using “CCC.” Some apocryphal books claim “NCC” stands for “Naval Construction Class” or “Naval Construction Contract Number.” Basically, the idea that Starfleet still views itself as a kind of Navy would support this theory, but since it’s not actually a Navy, that also doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Space-time anomaly detected
Book’s onboard ship computer tells him that a “space-time anomaly” is detected. This anomaly is the wormhole created by Burnham and the time crystals from the Discovery Season 2 finale, “Such Sweet Sorrow Part 2.”
Burnham lands in the year 3188, which is actually one year further than most fans guessed. Discovery jumped from the year 2257, which means we thought 930 years later would be 3187. But, as we learn later, Burnham also didn’t land on the planet Terralysium, even though that was her destination. Terraylsium was first seen in the Discovery Season 2 episode “New Eden.” Book tells Burnham the planet she ended up on is actually called Hima. Terralysium was in the Beta Quadrant. We have no idea where Hima is.
Burnham is happy there is life
You might wondering why Burnham is so happy that the computer says “Multiple life signs detected.” Well, the whole point to jumping in the future was that in all other scenarios, both Spock and Burnham’s mom, Gabrielle Burnham, saw a future in which an A.I. called Control had eradicated all sentient life in the galaxy. Clearly, that didn’t happen. Which means Burnham’s mission was successful. This is why later, she says, “I saved all the things.”
The last Red Signal is for Spock!
As the computer tells Burnham the wormhole is closing, she frantically sends an energy signal through the wormhole. This is the last of the seven red signals from Discovery Season 2. In “Such Sweet Sorrow Part 2,” Spock waited for four months to see the Red Signal, which was a message from Burnham that the crew had made it through the wormhole safely. Basically, this scene happens “at the same time” as the final scene onboard the Enterprise in the Season 2 finale.
As Burnham goes through her inventory she mentions her “emergency ration pack,” her “phaser,” and her “Delta shield.” The Delta shield is her Starfleet badge. Fans have referred to this symbol as a “Delta shield” for years, but it’s never been uttered on screen.
New opening credits
The Discovery opening credits have changed again! Here are the most significant changes
- The generic male-ish face now appears to be more female.
- There is a line of Starfleet robots. Will they have a larger role to play later in the season?
- In the first two seasons, the image of the Discovery-era phaser morphed into the TOS-era phaser. But now, it becomes a FUTURE PHASER.
- Book’s ship is in the opening credits.
- The new “future” Starfleet logo appears twice—nce by itself, and again, in the transporter. In season 2, a Section 31 badge appeared during this segment.
Michael busts out some Suus Mahna
While fighting Book, Burnham seems to employ at least a few moves from the Vulcan martial art known as Suus Mahna. This martial art originates in the prequel series Enterprise, but we first saw Burnham do it in “Context Is For Kings” in Season 1 of Discovery. We also saw two Synths practice Suus Mahna in the Star Trek: Picard Season 1, episode 9, “Et Arcadia Ego Part 1.”
The nearest natural wormhole could be a DS9 reference
Book mentions that “the nearest natural wormhole is 100 lightyears from here.” This could reference the Bajorian wormhole from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. After all, there aren’t that many stable wormholes. That said, technically, the Bajorian wormhole isn’t “natural” since it was constructed by the Prophets, but from Book’s point of view, that might not matter.
The Gorn destroyed subspace
Book says: “Wasn’t bad enough for you that the Gorn destroyed two lightyears of subspace?” This references two things at the same time. First, obviously, the Gorn, the lizard-race first seen in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “Arena,” and subsequently referenced in nearly every new Trek series, including several references in Star Trek: Picard. But, the mention of the Gorn having destroyed subspace means that parts of the interstellar communication network have been obliterated. Subspace is how people get messages around the galaxy in Star Trek. If parts of subspace are destroyed, this could explain why, the Federation representative, Aditya Sahil (Adil Hussian) mentions that long-range sensors “failed, years ago.”
Book references Scotty….and Tilly’s other best friend
When Book says he wants to “whip-up a dilithium recrystalizier,” he’s referencing the idea of dilithium crystals being reconstructed artificially. In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Scotty does this to help get a stolen Klingon Bird-of-Prey home. And, in the Short Treks episode “Runaway,” Tilly meets Po, the Queen of Xahea, who also invents this technology.
Benemite and Quantum Slipstream Drive
Book also wonders if there is some “Benemite lying around.” This references the Voyager episode “Timeless,” in which the crew tried to build a Quantum Slipstream Drive. Basically, if Book had a Quantum Slipstream Drive, he could get around a lot faster.
Tachyon Solar Sails
Book says “tachyon solar sails are slow as shit.” This references the DS9 episode “Explorers,” which sees Ben Sisko building an ancient ship that runs on tachyons solar sails.
Don’t Even Get Me Started On Trilithium
Book completes his rant on different types of Star Trek propulsion and fuel by saying “don’t even get me started on trilithium.” This seems to be kind of a joke. In the TNG episode “Starship Mine,” Trilithium resin was kind of a waste byproduct of the warp engines that could be stolen and turned into a weapon. But in the film Generations, trilithium was something described as a “nuclear inhibitor,” meaning it could make stars implode. So, which is it? Both? Also a form of fuel for space propulsion? Don’t get Book started.
Orions and Andorians
Burnham is shocked that the Orions and the Andorians are working together. The green-skinned Orions originate in the very first (filmed) Star Trek episode ever, “The Cage,” though their culture was later fully explained in the Enterprise episode “Bound.” Orions have appeared in the Discovery era in the Season 1 finale, and also in the Short Treks episode “The Escape Artist.” The blue-skinned Andorians originate in the TOS episode “Journey To Babel.” Why is Burnham surprised the Andorians and the Orions are working together in some kind of official capacity? Well, the Andorians are founding members of the Federation. The Orions, meanwhile, were, at least in Burnham’s time, never part of the Federation.
Burnham is basically selling Star Trek collectables
Book tells the Andorian that “there’s a real market for this stuff,” when he’s trying to sell Burnham’s tricorder. This seems like a wink to the idea that vintage props from TOS or TNG are worth a lot of money IRL. Basically, what Burnham has is a vintage Star Trek prop.
Burnham is wowed by the personal transporters. In the TNG episode “Captain’s Holiday,” time-traveling aliens from the 27th century called Vorgons, appeared to have similar types of transporters.
Burnham says Tilly can’t do space drugs
While trying to get her to talk, Burnham is hit with some form of future narcotic that makes her a slap-happy. She says that the drug makes her talkative and then says “I have a friend with red hair, you cannot give her any.” This references Tilly, of course, but more specifically, the idea that Tilly did some space drugs in the Discovery Season 1 finale, “Will You Take My Hand?”
Aliens rebooted from TNG and DS9
The mercenary who is pursuing Book appears to be a Yridian. In TNG, these aliens were mostly thought of as “information brokers,” notably in the episodes “The Chase” and “Birthright Part 1.” Meanwhile, at least one alien who is in pursuit of Burnham and Book is very clearly a Lurian. The famous patron of Quark’s Bar in DS9 – Morn – was a Lurian. He’s the guy with the long face.
Book references the biggest plot arc from Star Trek: Enterprise
After Book and Burnham have a frank conversation about time travel, Book says: “All time travel technology was destroyed after the temporal wars. Outlawed.” The Temporal Wars references the Temporal Cold War in Enterprise, and probably, the outright Temporal War that happened at the end of Enterprise Season 3 and the beginning of Season 4 in the episodes “Storm Front Parts 1 and 2.” One fashion from the Temporal War Cold War came from the 31st Century, about a hundred years or so before 3188.
Aditya Sahil references Spock
When Burnham meets Aditya Sahil, a Federation liaison in this time period, they have a serious chat about just how long it might take for the USS Discovery to actually show up. He says: “By the laws of temporal mechanics, they could arrive tomorrow…” And Burnham says: “Or in a thousand years.” This references a similar speech from Spock in the TOS episode “City on the Edge of Forever.” Like Burnham and the Discovery crew, Spock and Kirk are separated by time travel wonkiness. Spock says: “There is a theory. There could be some logic to the belief that time is fluid, like a river, with currents, eddies, backwash.” But later, Spock points out that “we can’t be too sure of our facts.” Even the earliest Star Trek time travel episodes dealt with people arriving at their temporal location at different times than people who were “right behind” them in the time portal.
The episode ends with Burnham and Sahil raising the flag of the United Federation of Planets. We already saw this flag in the trailers, but it’s worth noting that it does appear to have fewer stars on it than the flag from the era of TNG and Picard. Sahil tells Burnham he has been watching this post for 40 years, which seems to imply that this Federation flag is at least 40 years old, if not older. So, the question is, how accurate is the flag? Did the Federation start losing members before the Burn? Or is this flag pre-Burn?
At this point, we don’t know. But because Season 3 of Discovery is all about rediscovering the Federation, this flag might be the visual representation of not just the themes of the season, but the literal plot too.
Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 airs new episodes on Thursdays on CBS All Access.