This Star Trek: Discovery article contains spoilers.

Since 2017, Star Trek: Discovery has been the flagship of the reborn Trek franchise on TV. Call it “NuTrek,” call it the continuing mission, call it “Star Trek Phase 3.” It doesn’t really matter. The fact is, Disco has been the focal point of new Trek canon since it hit nearly seven years ago. Now, with season 5, Discovery will be ending its journey, leaving Strange New Worlds and the forthcoming Starfleet Academy as the two live-action Trek shows for the foreseeable future.

But about that canon. As executive producer Alex Kurtzman recently said in an interview with Den of Geek magazine, any new Trek film created outside of the streaming TV shows will have to “have to honor all the canon we’ve created since Discovery.” To be clear, this doesn’t just mean outright new events and characters, but all the ways that Disco has interacted with preexisting Trek canon. From the Klingon war in 2017, to Spock and Pike in 2019, to the far-future events that began with season 3, Discovery touches all corners of the Trek canon. (And yes that even includes the Kelvin movies, since season 3 included the first overt reference to that timeline in a Trek TV series!)

Now, with the two-episode debut of season 5, Discovery is even bringing in lore from a The Next Generation storyline, as a treasure hunt for an ancient Progenitor artifact begins. Here are the very best easter eggs and canon connections…

The Founding of the Federation

Near the start of the episode, the crew is celebrating a “millennium celebration” for the Federation. A waiter brings Tilly, Burnham, Adira, Culber, and Stamets a round of cocktails which represent the flag of the Federation. Tilly mentions that this marks “the founding of the Federation, it’s been a  thousand years…” Season 4 ended in roughly the year 3190, and it seems season 5 is in 3191.

So, how is this 1,000 years since 2161? Shouldn’t it be 1,030 years? Well, the waiter explains simply: “Give or take a few decades. Hard to celebrate during the Burn.” This references season 3, in which we learned that the galaxy was fragmented for over a century after a catastrophe essentially dissolved the the Federation. The era of Federation’s isolation ended in roughly 3189, partially thanks to the help of the Discovery crew. But, in 3161, at the exact millennium celebration, the Federation was still living in the post-Burn era.

Canonically, the year of “Federation Day” was established in The Next Generation episode “The Outcast” when Troi mentioned the year during a game of poker. The Enterprise finale “These Are the Voyages…” is thought to depict the signing of the Federation charter in 2161, though it’s not made entirely clear in that episode.

To be clear, this is not the same as “Frontier Day” from Picard season 3. Taking place in 2401, that holiday was supposed to commemorate 250 years since the first, most important mission of Starfleet, not the Federation. The first mission of Starfleet (pre-Federation) also occurred in the series Enterprise; in the debut episode “Broken Bow.”

Tholian Republic and the Breen Imperium

In conversation with Saru, President T’Rina mentions concerns about the Tholian Republic and the Breen Imperium. The Tholians are the crystalline aliens first glimpsed in “The Tholian Web” in The Original Series. The Breen are aggressive enemies of the Federation, first mentioned in the TNG episode “The Loss,” but they didn’t appear until the Deep Space Nine episode

Interestingly, because we don’t know what the Breen look like under their humanoid-ish suits, it’s possible they aren’t actually humanoids. The Tholians are also possibly not humanoids at all, either. These references seem particularly pointed since the entire story of Discovery season 5 involves species created by the humanoid Progenitors. Although this is just a theory, it’s very possible (likely?) that the Breen and Tholians are among many species not created by the Progenitors. After T’Rina mentions the Breen in the first episode, Rayner brings them up again in the second episode, saying, “The Breen are in-fighting over a new leader.” Will we see the Breen again in this season of Discovery? It’s possible? That’s certainly a lot of Breen chatter!

Romulan science vessel from 800 years ago 

The Romulan science ship that Kovich sends the crew to investigate is from “800 years ago.” This means it’s from the late 2300s, sometime between 2380 and 2390. In other words, it’s from the TNG/DS9/Voyager era. And as we see in “Red Directive,” the design of this small, green Romulan ship is nearly identical to a TNG era Romulan scout ship. This style of ship first appeared in the episode “The Defector.”

Fred, the android

Played by J. Adam Brown, the antique dealer is revealed to be a Soong-type android, who, very specifically, is reminiscent of Data. We later learn that this “Synth” was built based on the designs of Altan Soong, Data’s human brother first introduced in Picard season 1.

Fred mentions he hasn’t seen a specific puzzle box like the one containing the Romulan journal for “622.27 years.” This would mean that Fred has been around since at least 2569. Still Culber calls him a “surprisingly old model…dozens of generations before the kind of tech used for Gray’s body.” So, this means that Fred could be from the generation of androids that Altan Soong created before Soji and Dahj. Perhaps he was even a contemporary of Sutra, which would make it possible that he was present on the planet Coppelius in the Picard season 1 finale, “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2.”

Then again, Stamets implies that perhaps Fred was built by someone else, who merely “honored” the designs of Altan Soong. This is, of course, a little weird, since Altan Soong was using designs created by his father, Noonian Soong. So, was Fred created in the late 24th century before Picard season 1? In the 25th century? Or the 26th? We’ll likely never know, but, as Fred says — in a perfect Data imitation — the questions around Fred’s creator are “intriguing.”

Self-sealing stem bolts

Among other “vintage tech,” Moll and L’ak are also trying to sell some “self-sealing stem bolts.” These thingamabobs date back to Deep Space Nine, where their exact purpose was shrouded in vagary. In reality, the self-sealing stem bolt is one of Trek’s oldest inside jokes. In the episode “Progress,” Chief O’Brien admitted he didn’t even know what they did. 

Rayner, the Kellerun

Captain Rayner — played by Battlestar Galactica veteran Callum Keith Rennie — has some pretty specific alien ears. But he’s not a Romulan or a Vulcan. Instead, Rayner is a Kellerun. This is a super obscure Star Trek species, who, until now, only appeared in the DS9 episode “Armageddon Game.” This episode followed O’Brien and Bashir as they dealt with unwieldy bio weapons, and was written by Trek legend Morgan Gendel, perhaps most famous for his TNG script, “The Inner Light.”

The Progenitors 

The big revelation at the end of “Red Directive” is that the secret mission is all connected to a 24th century scientist named Dr. Velleck. As Kovich tells Burnham, this guy was in the background when Picard and Crusher discovered a hidden message from ancient humanoids called “The Progenitors.” As Kovich puts it, “We’ve been calling them the Progenitors. They created life as we know it. You. Me. Saru. Every humanoid species in the galaxy.”

This revelation originally comes from The Next Generation episode “The Chase,” though, in some ways, it retconned elements of The Original Series episode “The Paradise Syndrome,” in which Spock and Bones discussed the possibility that “the Preservers” were responsible for several humanoid races throughout the galaxy. Either way, Discovery season 5 is taking this TNG canon and running with it.

Next stop, somewhere on Trill 

The clue to the Progenitor tech will lead the crew to Trill in the near future. This will be the second time Discovery has gone to the Trill homeworld. The first visit happened in season 3, but of course, the Trill date back to TNG’s “The Host.” Meanwhile, the planet Trill itself was first seen in the DS9 episode “Equilibrium.” Interestingly, with a return to Trill this season, Discovery will have more actual visits to this planet than any previous Trek series. 

A second chance 

When Burnham asks Rayner to become her first officer, following the inquiry that gets him removed from his own command, she says, “I got a second chance once, this is yours.” This echoes Burnham’s journey from season 1 of Discovery, during which time she went from being a prisoner, to becoming a science specialist, and eventually, first officer, and then, Captain. The concept of second chances is integral to all of Discovery, so, it’s fitting that as the final season begins, another Starfleet character is getting the same kind of opportunity that shaped Burnham, and the entire crew, seven years (and several centuries!) ago.

The post Discovery Season 5 Easter Eggs Bring Back Tons of Classic ’90s Star Trek Lore appeared first on Den of Geek.

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