When Michael Burnham( Sonequa Martin-Green) and Captain Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) beam-down somewhere in Star Trek: Discovery, they’ll be wearing badass Starfleet armor that is already 100% canon. While a lot of fans and writers pointed out that armor in Discovery was new, it totally isn’t. There has been Starfleet armor in several of the original series films and even the last prequel series; Star Trek: Enterprise.
On June 22nd, a new photo of Burnham and Georgiou in a transporter room generated a lot of Trekkie-buzz, and not just because the beaming-down process looked different than before. There was also a lot of discussion about the armor these two Starfleet officers were sporting. Some outlets even wrote that Starfleet “finally” had sensible armor for its officers. But here’s the thing: there’s been Starfleet armor in the Star Trek universe since the very first feature film in 1979. Yep, that’s right. In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, security officers with full-armor were seen aboard Captain Kirk’s Enterprise
While not sported by any main characters, some Starfleet officers in the 2270s did wear armor. These security officers often wore a little helmet in addition to the armor. Similar armored uniforms were glimpsed in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and even briefly in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
And while they weren’t as heavily armored as the guys in the classic Trek movies, the MACO commandos on Star Trek: Enterprise also had flap-jacket style armor, which means this kind of uniform was easily common enough in the 2150s, meaning armor on Starfleet vessels during the 2250s — when Discovery is set to take place — totally makes sense.
While its unclear if Discovery will reboot or retcon a ton of Trek canon, the idea of anyone in Starfleet rocking armor, is totally not new, and is in the proud tradition of the original series films.