Star Trek: Discovery Just Dropped a Sneaky Timeline Easter Egg

Let's talk about 2371.

Tig Notaro as Jett Reno in 'Star Trek: Discovery' Season 5.
Star Trek
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What was the most action-packed year in Star Trek’s future history? Thanks to some deep-cut Easter eggs in the latest episode of Discovery, the answer might surprise you. As Discovery approaches the end of its fifth and final season, the show continues to expand our knowledge of the Breen, while also sending its eponymous starship on a zig-zag quest around the galaxy to solve a puzzle that explains the very nature of life itself.

Along the way, Discovery is retreading a bit of Star Trek history the crew skipped over thanks to their time-traveling shenanigans at the end of Season 2. Now, in the episode “Erigah,” Discovery has reminded us that several major Star Trek events all happened in the same year. For us, it was 1994, but in Star Trek it was 2371. Spoilers ahead.

Why the 24th century matters

The USS Voyager in the Badlands in 2371.


Although Discovery, which is now in the year 3191, exists well beyond all the other Trek shows and films, it still has several ties to the franchise’s past. From Season 3 onward, Disco’s retro-Trek connections mostly stem from the fact the majority of the regular characters are from 2258, just before The Original Series, before they jumped forward in time. But now, because the ship is on a quest to find the Progenitor tech uncovered in the 24th century by Jean-Luc Picard, many of Discovery’s Easter eggs are tied to that golden era of Trek.

The 24th century is the most robust spot on the Trek timeline, simply because three classic shows took place between 2364 and 2379: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. When you add in four feature films, and the recent series Lower Decks and Prodigy, it’s easy to see why the 24th century is such a big part of Star Trek. But why is 2371 so pivotal? Discovery just revealed the answer through two seemingly unrelated Easter eggs.

2371, the year that everything happened

23171 was a busy stretch.

Paramount Pictures

In “Erigah,” the Discovery crew learns the next clue on their list is an antique Betazoid book called Labyrinths of the Mind, written in 2371. By the end of the episode, with the help of Jett Reno (Tig Notaro), they also learn this book is in a mobile library called “The Eternal Gallery and Archive,” currently situated in a part of space called the Badlands. At the same time, Dr. Culber is researching medicine during the Federation’s struggle against the Dominion. Guess what this all has in common? Events in 2371.

As revealed in the Deep Space Nine Season 3 finale, “The Adversary,” 2371 was the year the Federation learned the Changelings had come to the Alpha Quadrant and could shapeshift into anyone and anything. This was also the year when Thomas Riker, Will’s naughty transporter duplicate, stole the USS Defiant to help the Maquis fight the Cardassians. The first place Thomas took the Defiant? Yep, the Badlands, where Discovery is now headed.

For Voyager fans, the Badlands is the rough and tumble area of space that flung Voyager halfway across the galaxy to the Delta Quadrant. Yes, Voyager also launched in 2371. And while DS9 was dealing with shapeshifters and a Riker doppelgänger, and Voyager was trying to figure out how to get home, the beloved USS Enterprise-D was forced to separate its saucer section and crashland on the planet Veridian III. While Will Riker (the good one) is crashing the Enterprise in Star Trek Generations, Picard is fighting a mad scientist named Dr. Soran and dealing with a time-traveling Captain James T. Kirk. All in the year-of-our-Q, 2371.

In our universe, all these events played out between May 1994 and January 1995. Star Trek was packing in as many events as possible, and impressively, fans were able to follow all the twists and turns in the canon. Discovery may not have meant to make a connection between a fictional book, the Badlands, and the most important year in 24th-century history, but when you look at all the stuff that happened back then, it was, as William Shatner might say, a very, very good year.

Star Trek: Discovery streams on Paramount+.

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