While Star Trek found a new lease of life on the big screen in 2009, it had been more than a decade since the last TV show in the long-running sci-fi franchise when Star Trek: Discovery premiered in September 2017. The show’s producers faced the difficult task of making a show that appealed to modern audiences and new fans, as well as satisfying die-hard, long-term Trek devotees.
Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 followed in 2018, and embraced a darker, more emotionally complex approach to the series. But while the first two seasons of Discovery took the story and characters in some surprising directions, the show has remained very aware of its past. Every episode contained multiple references and callbacks to something from the grand 55-year history of Star Trek, which you can check out in our Season 1 and Season 2 Easter Egg galleries. Sometimes these are sly jokes that only the most dedicated fan would spot, and sometimes they are crucial plot-points and familiar characters.
Season 3 of Discovery is now here. This season is set 900 years after the events of Season 2, so we’re perhaps less likely to see familiar characters such as Pike and Spock, both of whom were main protagonists in the previous season. But the show is already delivering plenty of Easter Eggs, callbacks, in-jokes and references, so let’s take a look at them so far…
1. The Gorn (Episode 1)
Book tells Burnham “the Gorn destroyed two light-years worth of subspace.” The Gorn are a humanoid reptilian species that first appeared in The Original Series episode “Arena.” There’s also a reference to them in Season 2 when Section 31 boss Leland jokingly talks about “alligators” on the Gorn planet Cestus III.
2. Andorians and the Orions (Episode 1)
Burnham is surprised to learn that Andorians and the Orions are working together. Blue skinned Andorians first appeared in the Original Series episode “Journey to Babel,” and were used as recurring characters on Star Trek: Enterprise. Orions are green-skinned and first featured in the original Star Trek pilot “The Cage.” Most recently, the animated show Star Trek: Lower Decks features an Orion character named Ensign D’Vana Tendi.
3. Subspace Amplifier (Episode 1)
Burnham notices that Book’s ship has a Subspace Amplifier. These devices are used for subspace communication, and were previously used in various episodes of Enterprise to allow the ship to communicate with the Earth and Starfleet Command.
4. Dylithian Recrystalizer (Episode 1)
Book asks Burnham to “whip up a new dylithian recrystalizer.” This technology was invented by Queen Po back in Season 2, when she helped the Discovery recharge the time crystal. 900 years in the future, it is clearly used widely.
5. Benamite and the Quantum Slipstream (Episode 1)
Book also mentions needing “Benamite” to “fly Quantum Slipstream.” Benamite is the extremely rare crystal that the USS Voyager used to construct a quantum slipstream drive in the Voyager episode “Timeless.”
6. Tachyon Solar Sails (Episode 1)
Another of Book’s tech references is to tachyon solar sails, which are “slow as s***.” In the Deep Space 9 episode “Explorers,” tachyons are used to power an ancient solar sailing ship to warp speed.
7. The Temporal Cold War (Episode 1)
Book tells Burnham that all time travel technology was destroyed after the Temporal Wars. This was a conflict fought across different points in time, involving a variety of factions who wanted to manipulate history. These factions included a mysterious benefactor of the Suliban Cabal, the Na’kuhl, the Sphere-Builders, and the Federation. The Temporal Cold War featured as a main plot point in several episodes of Enterprise, in which Captain Jonathan Archer helps to end the conflict.