This Star Trek: Strange New Worlds article contains spoilers.
As a prequel to The Original Series, nearly every minute of Strange New Worlds could, arguably, be considered some kind of Star Trek easter egg. Just being on the classic Enterprise is a reference to the existence of The Original Series. Ethan Peck’s Spock just doing anything could also scan as an easter egg.
So, where does one start with references in Strange New Worlds? For the Season 2 premiere, “The Broken Circle,” we tried to make it easy. Here are the most obvious, stand-out easter eggs and references in the episode. These were the moments that probably made you say “is that…?” or “what did they mean by…?” It’s a big episode, with lots of callbacks, so start working on your warp catchphrase, and let’s hit it.
Klingon War Recap
Although Anson Mount says “Last season on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” the recap also includes several shots from Discovery season 1 and season 2. We see the USS Shenzhou drifting in space next to the Klingon Sarcophagus Ship, fighting a different Klingon ship, as well as Captain Pike rocking his blue Discovery uniform, mentioning that the Enterprise itself was absent for the Klingon War. Chronologically, the Klingon War began in 2256, which puts it about two years after the events of “The Cage.” Discovery season 2 ended in 2258, and Strange New Worlds season 1 began in roughly 2259. Presumably, we’re still around 2259 or 2260 in season 2.
Of note here: M’Benga and Chapel were almost certainly not part of the crew of the USS Enterprise during the first five-year mission that Pike references in this flashback/recap. (We know Boyce was the chief medical officer during “The Cage.”) Also, neither Ortegas nor Uhura was on the Enterprise back then. Because Uhura is a cadet, it feels unlikely she served in the Klingon War, but Ortegas might have. And the events of this episode firmly establish that Chapel and M’Benga did serve in the war.
Starbase One Flyby
The Enterprise is back at Starbase One, which is where we saw the ship at the end of the very first episode “Strange New Worlds,” and also where the Enterprise was docked in the Season 1 episode “Spock Amok.” The fast-moving crafts that we see next to the classic shuttle might be earlier models of those cadet training ships that Welsey Crusher crashed in The Next Generation classic, “The First Duty.” We know cadets love to fly fast near the gas giants!
“The Boy Scout”
Number One says, “There’s the boy scout in your again,” when Pike says he’s going to fight for what’s right. This feels like a roundabout reference to Kirk in The Wrath of Khan when David referred to Kirk as an “overgrown boy scout.” (Even though Kirk was never a boy scout! Maybe Pike really was?!)
The Origin of Spock’s Vulcan Lute (or Vulcan Harp or Lyre)
Because Spock’s cognitive blocks against his emotions are in a state of flux, M’Benga prescribes him a unique stress reliever: making music. In terms of chronological appearances of Spock’s Vulcan lute, this appears to be the first time he plays the instrument as part of his regular routines.
In real life, the prop was designed for The Original Series by Wah Chang, a brilliant prop maker, model-maker, and mask-maker, who built and designed several objects for TOS, including the classic tricorder, the Romulan Bird-of-Prey, the M-113 salt vampire, and the classic Gorn. Spock’s harp is a big deal throughout Trek canon, appearing for the first time in the episode “Charlie X,” and, in Spock’s hands, for the last time in The Final Frontier. But from Voyager to Lower Decks, this classic (fictional) instrument is everywhere in Trek canon.
A bit later in the episode, Uhura shows interest in Spock playing music, foreshadowing their occasional musical collaborations in TOS.
Chapel’s Interest in Archaeological Medicine
When Chapel tells M’Benga she’s thinking of getting into archaeological medicine, this is a huge easter egg for the TOS episode “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” In that episode — which is in the future for SNW — we learn that Chapel’s ex-fiancé, Roger Korby, was the most renowned expert on archaeological medicine in the Federation. Will Strange New Worlds introduce Roger Korby this season? Chapel, don’t go!
Different Style Starfleet Badges for the Starbase One Crew Members
Various crewmembers from Starbase One (including Carol Kane’s Pelia) all rock Starfleet insignia that look a little different, or relative to the standard badges worn by the Enterprise crew. This is likely a nod to the idea from TOS that different ships have different insignia.
Uhura’s Promotion (and Earrings!)
Speaking of badges: Uhura is no longer wearing the cadet-style badge (previously established in canon for Tilly in Discovery season 1.) And that’s because she’s no longer a cadet, but instead, a full ensign. Celia Rose Gooding is also wearing small green earrings similar to the ones she wore in the season 1 finale, “A Quality of Mercy.” At that time, these emulated a similar style worn by Nichelle Nichols in TOS. Now, those classic earrings are back, indicating that this Uhura is getting closer and closer to the timeline of the classic show.
Opening Credits Change
For the most part, the vibe of the SNW opening credits matches with season 1. But a few sequences of the Enterprise flying close to the surface of a planet and another where asteroids bounce off the shields are new. Also, a few shots from the season 1 credits are subtly inverted. In season 1, we saw the Enterprise fly through what looked like a field of icy space rocks, but here, we see a similar shot where all the space rocks look hot. Similarly, when the ship passes near a transparent dome, season 1 had a tropical environment underneath, but in season 2, it looks like a snowy peak.
Pelia Knows Spock’s Mom
Because Pelia is a long-lived alien, a Lanthanite, presumably hundreds of years old, she knows a lot of people, including, it would seem, Amanda Grayson, Spock’s human mother. Amanda was first seen in the TOS episode “Journey to Babel” and was played by Jane Wyatt. Winona Ryder played Amanda in the 2009 reboot film, but in current canon, Amanda has been played by Mia Kirshner since Discovery season 1. At the end of the episode, Pelia mentions that she “came out” as a Lanthanite to Spock’s mother at some point in the past. Could Amanda reappear this season on Strange New Worlds?
Ortegas, Mitchell, and Uhura all tease Spock about getting a catchphrase to send the ship into warp. In all the contemporary Treks, this is becoming a huge running gag. Saru workshopped his “thing” in Discovery season 3, Captain Freeman says “warp me!” in Lower Decks, and Picard season 3 ended with the audience not knowing what Seven of Nine’s catchphrase was. Weirdly enough, back in TOS, both Pike and Kirk said “engage” a few times. In fact, “engage” was Pike’s “thing” way before it was Picard’s. Why did Pike switch to “hit it” after “The Cage?”
La’an’s Drinking Contest with a Klingon
La’an out-drinking a Klingon for money clearly references the first Indiana Jones film, Raiders of the Lost Ark. We always knew La’an had a bit of Marion Ravenwood in her, now we’ve got proof.
The design of the Klingons in this episode matches (mostly) how Klingons looked in the TOS feature films and The Next Generation. None of these Klingons look much like the more monstrous versions from Discovery. That said, the prequel show Enterprise did establish that different kinds of Klingons coexisted with each other all the time back in the day. Maybe we just never saw the “regular” Klingons in Discovery?
M’Benga and Chapel’s Secret
Although M’Benga and Chapel had a rapport in season 1, we never really knew why until now. Not only is it confirmed that they both fought in the Klingon War, but we learn here that they are experienced with a kind of super-serum that can briefly turn them into Captain America-level fighters. This is the first we’ve heard of this in Strange New Worlds, and it makes you wonder if both Chapel and M’Benga might have ties to Section 31?
Chapel mentions that the ship’s transponder should only be able to broadcast the name and class of the ship. This is consistent with Deep Space Nine canon insofar as the transponder is pretty much the surefire way to tell if a starship is legit or not. Oddly enough, most storylines in Trek involving starship transponders tend to depict those transponders being modified to trick somebody. As recently as Picard season 3, the USS Titan dropped transponders to try and throw off the trail of the Shrike.
Klingon D-7 Battlecruiser
The Klingon Battlecruiser that appears here is the classic D-7 design, which first appeared in the TOS episode “Errand of Mercy.” In more recent canon, the D-7 class first appeared in the Discovery episode “Point of Light,” which, technically, is its earliest chronological appearance.
Crossfield Class Ship
The “false Federation ship” in this episode has a saucer section that is pretty much identical to the USS Discovery before the refit in Discovery season 3. This is why Mitchell identifies the ship as “Crossfield-class, I think.” In Discovery, the only two Crossfield-class ships we saw were the USS Glenn and the USS Discovery. Now, if this ship is supposed to be a more conventional Crossfield-class, that could imply the versions we saw in Discovery were modified because of the Spore Drive experiments. On Mitchell’s screen, this false ship has the registry “NCC-1279.” The Crossfield-class gets its name from Albert Scott Crossfield, a test pilot who crossed the sound barrier twice.
M’Benga uses Morse code to warn the Enterprise about the false Federation ship. There’s a long tradition of using Morse code in Star Trek, perhaps most famously in The Final Frontier, when Scotty tapped out the message “stand back” before blowing up the wall of a jail cell.
Spock Drinking Bloodwine
Spock drinks bloodwine with the Klingons and is subsequently hungover. This seems to contradict the idea that Spock can’t, physically, get drunk. In TOS and the films, it’s suggested that booze doesn’t do much for Vulcans. (Or, contradictorily, could make them very ill.) Maybe bloodwine is different. This is the first time we’ve seen Spock hungover.
Planets on the Map
At the very end of the episode, April looks at a map that contains the warning of a “Gorn Attack Ship.” This map also contains three other easter eggs.
- Galdonterre: This planet comes from the DS9 episode “Blood Oath,” which was where Dax, Koloth, Kang, and Kor went to attack “the Albino.”
- Cestus: A long-established planet that first appeared as “Cestus III” in the TOS episode “Arena.” It’s been associated with the Gorn ever since.
- Deep Space 2: We’ve never seen Deep Space 2, but the convention of naming starbases with the designation “Deep Space” began in The Original Series with the episode “The Trouble With Tribbles,” when the Enterprise visited Deep Space Station K-7. Which, presumably, is also around during the time of Strange New Worlds.
“Gorn Attack Ship”
April is worried about everything that’s happening boiling over into a full-blown war. Could this happen in canon? Probably not.
Prior to “Arena” in TOS, we’ve been meant to think that Starfleet didn’t publicly talk about the Gorn or know much about them. Then again, Strange New Worlds might be able to get around this by depicting a secret war with the Gorn. If there’s one thing Strange New Worlds has proven, it’s that Starfleet is good at keeping secrets.