Star Trek: Discovery doesn’t have just a few references to existing Trekkie lore, it’s packed with nerdy references. This shouldn’t be too shocking since the very first words of the first episode are spoken in Klingon, the nerdiest fictional language in the galaxy. Still, you may have heard that Captain Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) has a bottle of wine from Captain Picard’s family in her ready room, but that’s only the beginning of endless details layered into the first two epic episodes of the series. Other than 2016’s *Star Trek Beyond, Discovery’s debut may be the most self-referential Trek yet.
From Klingon history to famous astronauts, and even Captain Kirk, here are fifteen highly logical easter eggs and references in the first two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery: “The Vulcan Hello” and “Battle at the Binary Stars.”
RED ALERT! Spoilers head for the first two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery.
Kirk’s Phaser Stuns the Opening Credits
Cool space tech schematics dominate the vast majority of the opening credits of Star Trek: Discovery. And, every so-briefly, the classic phaser design used by Captain Kirk is gllimpsed, before spinning around and becoming the Discovery phaser.
Never Forget, Kahless, the Unforgettable
The Klingons on Discovery talk a lot about Kahless. And that’s because he’s their version of Jesus. Kahless was first introduced in the original series episode “The Savage Curtain” in which Kirk fought alongside Abraham Lincoln. Later, Kahless appeared as a clone in the The Next Generation episode “Rightful Heir.”
General Order One is the Prime Directive
When Burnham and Georgiou talk about rescuing an alien culture from a drought, they mention “General Order One.” This is the famous Prime Directive of Starfleet which means they’re not supposed to let lesser-developed alien races know about technology that is super advanced. It also means they’re not really supposed to interfere with the natural development of a planet’s ecosystem, but since they’re messing with the water, this seems kind of out the window here.
A Vulcan Education
During a flashback to childhood, we see Michael Burnham undergoing rigorous testing with Vulcan computers. This references Spock’s testing in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, but also the super-young Spock’s similar testing in the 2009 J.J. Abrams Star Trek film.
Classic Bridge Sound Effects With Some TNG Magic, Too
The way the bridge of the Shenzhou sounds is exactly like the classic Enterprise. But, when they decide to hail the Klingon ship, there are some sound effects from The Next Generation in there, too.t
Throughout both episodes, Georgiou calls Burnham “Number One” all the time. This references a long tradition in Starfleet in which Captains call their first officers “Number One.” Captain Pike did it in “The Cage,” though more famously, Captain Picard called Riker “Number One” in The Next Generation.
Books in Georgiou’s Ready Room are Classic Trek Episodes
This one is all over the internet already, but the books in Captain Georgiou’s ready room all contain titles from original series Star Trek episodes.
When Burnham rams and kills the Klingon torch-bearer in her thruster space suit, purple blood immediately oozes out into space. This references Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country in which Klingons were also murdered in zero gravity, complete with floating purple blood.
At one point, Burnham mentions “phase cannons,” which is a little different than saying “phasers.” In the previous prequel series, Enterprise, Starfleet didn’t have full-on phasers yet, so the inbetween tech was called “phase cannons.” Phase cannons were invented by Malcom Reed in the 2150s.
Red Alert Looks and Sounds Retro
On some of the screen on the USS Shenzhou feature the “red alert” graphic first seen in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The actual “red alert” klaxon is also straight from the original series.
Gamma Hydra is Where the Kobayashi Maru Happens
Here’s another Wrath of Khan reference. Captain Georgiou mentions a sector called “Gamma Hydra.” In the Kobayashi Maru simulation in Star Trek II, “gamma hydra, section 10” is where a Klingon ambush occurs.
Vulcan Neck Pinch Performed By a Human
Burnham uses the Vulcan classic neck pinch to render Captain Georgiou unconscious, even though she’s a human. There’s totally a precedent for this. Kirk often told Spock he wanted to learn how to do the neck pich, and in The Next Generation both Data (an android) and Picard (a human) pull it off a few times.
The Klingons talk a little bit about how it’s been awhile since they showed the Federation what is what. The planet they specifically name-drop is Donatu V. This references the classic episode “The Trouble With Tribbles,” in which it’s established that a huge battle between Starfleet and the Klingons was waged there.
Starfleet Ship Names Reference Astronauts, Pilots and an Andorian
When the Shenzhou’s back-up arrives in the form of a bunch of Starfleet ships, the names of the vessels are all pretty familiar. There’s one ship called Ride in honor of astronaut Sally Ride, another called Armstrong, a nod to Neil Armstrong, and another called Yaeger, named for the pilot who broke the sound barrier. There’s also a ship called Shran which references a somewhat friendly Andorian (those are the blue-skinned people) who appeared on Enterprise.
Mindmeld and Katra
Sarek mind-melding with Burnham is a big deal in this episode. So much so, that it turns out Sarek stored a part of his “katra” in Burnham’s mind. A “katra” is Vulcan’s living soul or spirit. This mostly references Star Trek III: The Search For Spock where we learned that Spock put his katra into McCoy’s mind. In Enterprise, Captain Archer also carried the katra of Surak, the Vulcan’s version of Jesus. This is the first time a katra has been used with a person who is still alive, however. Interestingly, Sarek never mind-melded with his actual son, Spock. Meaning, he must have really, really liked Michael Burnham.
The next episode of Star Trek: Discovery — “Context Is for Kings” — airs on CBS All Access on October 1 at 9 p.m. Eastern. Check back here for even more Easter eggs!
If you liked this article, check out this video on why Klingons look different in Star Trek: Discovery.