A major plot development for Star Trek: Discovery has just surfaced: The Romulans are coming, and they’ll cause problems on the new show. Tweeting last night in honor of the show’s 50th anniversary, Bryan Fuller confirmed the original series episode “Balance of Terror” is a “touchstone,” for the story arc of Discovery.
Because the upcoming series is set roughly ten years before the classic show, we could be dealing with all sorts of previously mentioned interstellar kerfuffles. While some speculation has centered around the beginning of the cold war between the Klingon Empire and the United Federation of Planets, it now looks like the Romulan Star Empire might be figuring into the larger storyline of Star Trek: Discovery. “Balance of Terror” is one of the most memorable episodes of the original Star Trek, mostly because it introduced the treacherous Romulans, establishing that they were off-shoots of the Vulcan race, pointed ears and all.
In “Balance of Terror,” the history of the Federation’s previous war with the Romulans is outlined. We learn that humans had never seen what Romulans actually looked like up until this point. This fact is mildly contradicted in the J.J. Abrams film Star Trek, in which Captain Kirk’s father and the crew of the U.S.S. Kelvin seem vaguely aware of the Romulan look – way before they should know. The show Enterprise also skirted around this problem with its “earlier” encounters with the Romulans. Should Starfleet be aware of their invisibility cloaking technology at this point, or not?
If Discovery does focus on the Romulans, some amount of retconning is to be expected. But, if this tidbit from Fuller means we’ll get to see more of these deliciously intellectual and complex foes, then this is nothing but good news for hardcore Trekkies and casual fans alike.