Strange New Worlds Easter Eggs Deliver an Unseen Star Trek TOS Era Storyline

From Uhura’s past to a nod to “The Menagerie,” and even a connection to J.J. Abrams, “Lost in Translation,” bridges several big canon gaps.

Jim and Sam Kirk in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
Photo: Michael Gibson/Paramount+

As Strange New Worlds inches closer and closer to the timeframe of Star Trek: The Original Series, the amount of references to that iconic show are naturally increasing, almost exponentially. Although we’re still firmly in 2259, the world of 2265 – and Kirk’s Enterprise – seem right around the corner. In the Uhura-centric adventure, “Lost in Translation,” Paul Wesley returns as James T. Kirk, this time finally from the Prime Universe. In addition to having a standalone adventure with Uhura, the return of Kirk to Strange New Worlds also brings a lot of Trekkie loose ends closer together.

Here are all the big canon references and Easter eggs we caught in Strange New Worlds season 2, episode 6, “Lost in Translation.” 

Deuterium Refinery 

The action of this episode takes place at a deuterium refinery that Starfleet is trying to set up near Gorn space. First established in The Next Generation, Deuterium is basically a part of actual starship fuel used to create the matter-antimatter reaction that powers the basics of the warp drive. It’s not to be confused with Verterium, which insulates the warp coils. That was what Seven and Jack were talking about in Picard season 3.

Fleet Captain

Pike is referred to as “Fleet Captain” in this episode and as he is given “command of the refinery and the Farragut,” in addition to commanding the Enterprise. Pike insists it’s only temporary, but fans know that calling Pike “Fleet Captain,” comes from “The Menagerie.” In that TOS classic, Pike’s rank of “Fleet Captain,” was retained, even after his injuries rendered him unable to command a starship. Will Strange New Worlds continue to refer to Pike as “Fleet Captain,” forever? Probably not. But it’s a pretty big nod in the direction of The Original Series.

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Bussard Collectors 

Ortegas says: “Activating bussard collectors,” and notes that “refueling [is] underway.” The Bussard collectors are the red shiny things at the front of the warp nacelles. The concept of the Bussard collectors comes from a real scientific theory called Bussard ramjets, postulated by physicist Robert W. Bussard. The idea is that a spaceship scoops up (or collects) hydrogen, and transforms it into fusion. The near “Bussard collector” has been around in Trek since TNG.

Hemmer Flashback

The flashback featuring Uhura and Hemmer is, in fact, a new scene and not something we actually saw during season 1. This means that technically Bruce Horak is guest-starring as both Hemmer and the nebula aliens’ telepathic projection of Hemmer. So that’s two versions of Hemmer, and the one we see in the flashback video is the only “real” one.

The Kirk Brothers and Starfleet History

Sam and Jim Kirk reunite in this episode, which is the first time on Strange New Worlds we’ve seen Paul Wesley and Dan Jeannotte on screen together. This is also the first time we’ve seen the Kirk brothers both alive in canon, on screen together. Sam’s only appearance in TOS was that of a dead body, rocking a mustache and played by William Shatner. 

Here, Sam complains that Kirk is showing off because he’s become the youngest first officer in history, and previously, that record was held by George Kirk Sr., first officer of the Kelvin. Yes, this references the USS Kelvin from the first J.J. Abrams Trek movie. But notice that in this universe, the Kirk boys refer to their father in the present tense. That’s because George Samuel Kirk Sr. is alive in this timeline. While the Kelvin was created specifically for the first J.J. Abrams movie, the idea is that what we see at the beginning of that reboot film is the “Prime” timeline in 2233. That timeline was altered when the Kelvin was destroyed, and Kirk was born “early” in space, instead of in Iowa. So, although the Kelvin established the Kelvin-verse (or the Abrams verse) it also exists in the regular canon, too. And, in theory, somebody playing an older George Kirk Sr. could guest star on Strange New Worlds someday!

Uhura Orders Saurian Brandy 

Frustrated that nobody believes her, Uhura orders some Saurian Brandy at the bar. This type of space booze has been around since The Original Series, specifically the episode, “The Enemy Within.” It has a very specific curved handle on the bottle, which we see reproduced here.

Talking About “Sabotage” 

Kirk and Uhura talking about “sabotage,” could be a sly reference to all the interesting ways Willam Shatner pronounced this word in The Original Series. In some cases, it sounds like he’s saying “sab-ah-stage.” Really!

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Pike Meets Kirk

So, if there’s a butterfly effect from Romulans messing with Earth’s past, and Khan now rises to power in the 2030s instead of the 1990s, then…maybe this also means that Kirk and Pike meet earlier than they should? Then again, maybe not, in “The Menagerie,” Kirk mentions he met Pike “once” when Pike was “promoted to fleet captain.” That does happen in this episode. So, does that mean Kirk can’t meet Pike again on SNW


La’an and Kirk are near a part of the ship called “Astrometrics.” In Voyager, this was essentially a specific kind of space laboratory on a starship. Seven of Nine was a big fan of astrometrics. This is the first time it’s been referenced in the SNW or TOS eras.

Facing Death 

Uhura tells Kirk that “I’ve never been able to face death.” Kirk responds by saying “Our job puts us up against death, more than is fair.” This not-so-subtly foreshadows The Wrath of Khan, in which Kirk’s inability to face death is central to the story. Basically, it seems Uhura has learned to be real about death, well before Kirk does, even though Kirk is the one comforting her in this episode.

Uhura Family Shuttle Crash

The final vision Uhura sees from the nebula aliens is from the shuttle crash that killed her family. This was mentioned back in season 1, episode 2, “Children of the Comet.” But here we see the actual shuttle wreckage. This event, retroactively, has defined Uhura’s backstory, not just in Strange New Worlds, but now, throughout the rest of Trek canon, too.

Admiral Nogura

Pike has to talk to “Admiral Nogura” on a private channel toward the end of the episode. This is a character that was established back in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and was the person Kirk had to convince to let him take command of the Enterprise again. Nogura has never appeared onscreen, though he pops up in Gene Roddenberry’s novelization of TMP quite a bit, and also has appeared in several Trek comics over the years. At some point, the character of Nogoura was to be played by James Shigeta, although that never actually happened.

Kirk and Spock Meet for the First Time

At the end of the episode, as Uhura and Kirk are hanging out in the bar, Spock joins them. Uhura says: “Spock, meet James Kirk, first officer of the Farragut.” Although Paul Wesley and Ethan Peck have been on screen together twice already in Strange New Worlds, both times their characters were in alternate timelines. In the season 1 finale, “A Quality of Mercy,” Kirk and Spock are in an altered timeline in which Pike is in command of the Enterprise during the events of “Balance of Terror.” In the recent season 2 episode, “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow,” Kirk speaks to a version of Spock who is a captain in the Vulcan fleet. But “Lost in Translation” marks the actual first time Kirk and Spock meet in the Prime Timeline. 

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This meeting has never been depicted on screen before, although some non-canon novels, notably, Vonda McIntyre’s Enterprise: The First Adventure, did depict Kirk, Uhura, and Spock all meeting for the first time. But that story is nothing like the story Strange New Worlds. Then again, we get Uhura’s first name, “Nyota,” from Star Trek novels, so who knows? Star Trek canon is always in flux. And clearly, when it comes to filling in new pieces of information with the backstories of the classic crew, Strange New Worlds is just getting started.