Even though the Star Trek films released after 2009 take place mostly in the alternate “Kelvin” timeline, they still have relevant stuff from the prime universe which could impact Star Trek: Discovery. Specifically, the uniforms worn by Captain Balthazar and the ill-fated crew of the USS Franklin might immediately inform the new uniforms briefly glimpsed on the new show.

In the 2009 J.J. Abrams-directed Star Trek, the tangential Kelvin timeline was created in 2233, meaning everything depicted in these films that happens after 2233 is in a different Star Trek canon than the rest of the shows and movies. Most of Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Star Trek Beyond takes place from 2258-2263. But, there are events referenced which happen way before 2258 or 2233; specifically, the lost Starfleet crew of the USS Franklin which vanished in in 2163, 70 years before the Kelvin timeline was created. So, for Trekkie sticklers, everything about the USS Franklin, including the way its uniforms look, comes from the Prime timeline, meaning that both the USS Franklin and the USS Kelvin have bearing on Star Trek: Discovery. But how?

LEFT: Spock rocks a Starfleet a retro uniform. RIGHT: Captain Archer in the 2160s.
LEFT: Spock rocks a Starfleet a retro uniform. RIGHT: Captain Archer in the 2160s.

Discovery is supposedly going to take place ten years before the original Star Trek, which means certain design aesthetics should loosely match up with the classic show but also could pull inspiration from the flashback elements in the newer films. In the prequels show Enterprise, Starfleet crew members like Captain Archer all wore blue jumpsuits with different-colored pipping around the shoulders to denote which department they worked in. The “retro” uniforms from the USS Franklin were designed to look like the evolution of Archer’s time: a monochromatic jumpsuit, complete with zippers and a patch on the shoulder. After changing out of his ripped uniform, Spock wears one of these old-school uniforms for the second half of Star Trek Beyond. True, these one-piece jumpsuits are gray and not blue like the ones from Enterprise, but they are clearly supposed to be similar.

And now, the first glimpse of the new uniforms from Discovery hint at the new Starfleet uniforms also being monochromatic, mostly likely all-blue, like the Archer-era ones from Enterprise. There’s also a seam running down the front of the uniform, making it similar to the Franklin uniforms from Star Trek Beyond, the Archer-era uniforms from Enterprise and …

story continues below

… the uniforms worn by the crew of the USS Kelvin in the 2009 Star Trek! In theory, the scene in which George Kirk saves his pregnant wife and the rest of his shipmates takes place in the prime universe, meaning his outfit is commensurate with the continuity of Discovery. If the new show is set exactly ten years before the original series that puts it around 2255. Since these scenes on the USS Kelvin take place is 2233, that seems like plenty of time for the uniform worn by George Kirk to turn into the one worn by everybody in Discovery.

Here’s everything we know about Star Trek: Discovery so far.