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Star Trek just dropped a mysterious Easter egg from 1984

Who is the crew searching for this time?

Starfleet crews going rogue to search for their beloved comrades is an old-school Star Trek tradition. But, a new Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 promo poster is basically a shout-out to 1984’s The Search For Spock, which prompts several new questions. The most important question: Who is the crew of the Cerritos really searching for? Speculation ahead.

Lower Decks Season 3 Search For Spock Easter egg

Released by Paramount+ ahead of Season 3, the new Lower Decks poster intentionally mimics the style of the theatrical poster from 1984 for Star Trek III: The Search For Spock. In the 1984 poster, Kirk, Bones, Saavik, Sulu, and Chekov were seen in the foreground, while a ghostly image of Spock dominated the top part of the poster, all while the Enterprise battled a Klingon Bird-of-Prey.

The 1984 poster for Star Trek III: The Search For Spock.Paramount

For Lower Decks Season 3, we get pretty much the same layout. Mariner, Tendi, and Boimler are in the foreground while the Cerritos battles what looks like a Romulan ship. Meanwhile, the ghostly face of Rutherford looks on.

The poster artwork for Lower Decks Season 3.Paramount+

However, putting Rutherford’s face in the Spock spot is a total mystery.

Rutherford is totally alive at the end of Season 2, so why would this poster imply that the Cerritos crew is searching for him? The Lower Decks Season 2 cliffhanger involved Captain Freeman getting wrongfully arrested, so Season 3 would theoretically focus on her rescue. In fact, an advanced clip from Season 3 (shown by Wil Wheaton on The Ready Room) seems to indicate Mariner is all about rescuing Freeman and Rutherford is fine.

To be fair, both previous seasons of Lower Decks have lightly parodied retro Star Trek movie posters, starting with The Motion Picture for Season 1 and then The Wrath of Khan for Season 2. In both of those posters, there weren’t direct analogs between the characters in the original films and the Lower Deckers. (Mariner is not like Khan!) So, perhaps, the Rutherford Easter egg relative to The Search For Spock is just a fun reference put there for fans.

But then again, why that Romulan-looking ship? What’s that all about?

Boimler and Mariner are ready for action in Lower Decks Season 3. Well, Mariner is, anyway.Paramount+

Lower Decks Season 3 release date, confirmed

Luckily, fans won’t have long to wait to have their Lower Decks questions answered. Paramount+ has confirmed that Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 will premiere on August 25, 2022.

Like most contemporary Star Trek series, Lower Decks Season 3 will drop new episodes on Thursdays on Paramount+ for a 10-week run.

Expect even more Lower Decks revelations — including a full trailer — at San Diego Comic-Con on July 23, when Star Trek takes over Hall H from 12:45 to 2:15 p.m. Pacific. This “Star Trek Universe Panel” will “tease what’s ahead, along with a few reveals and surprises,” which will likely include Lower Decks guest stars, details about Strange New Worlds Season 2, and the highly anticipated release date of Star Trek: Picard Season 3.

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