10:00am PT by Chris E. Hayner
7 'Star Trek' Easter Eggs From the 'Discovery' Series Premiere
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the first two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery.]
With the beginning of Star Trek: Discovery came the return of many things that are very familiar to the franchise's most die-hard fans. Though Discovery is set ten years before the start of the original Star Trek series, producers on the CBS All Access drama have paid special attention to the details Trekkies will be looking for as they immerse themselves in this new iteration.
That starts with the introduction of characters like Ambassador Sarek (James Frain), who happens to be the father of original series character Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and a younger version of Harry Mudd (Rainn Wilson), who appeared on that same show. But those two castings are just the beginning. After watching the two-part series premiere, THR compiled the most notable references to other versions of Star Trek.
1. The Klingon language
The first thing seen or heard on Discovery is the Klingon language, spoken and written on the screen in subtitles. Given the major role Klingons play in the plot of the series, fans should get used to hearing the alien species' native tongue fairly regularly. And it's not just gibberish being spoken. After the sound and a few words were developed for Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979, it was later expanded in 1984's Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and a dictionary was released in 1985.
2. The Theme Song
It's hard to miss the inspiration the theme for Discovery takes from the original series. The two songs open with a similar arrangement of string instruments, while the Discovery theme ends with the signature Star Trek fanfare. "The music of Trek is a critical part of the experience of Trek. The original Alexander Courage theme is one of the most iconic and memorable themes of all time," executive producer Alex Kurtzman says in a featurette. "It's built into the DNA of the show."
3. The Uniforms
No Starfleet officer is complete without their uniform and the Discovery team went back to the original series as well as Star Trek: Enterprise for inspiration in designing their take on the classic look. "We were looking at doing the red, blue and gold shirts," costume designer Gersha Phillips explains in another featurette. "We've come up with a system where we're doing a foiled compression panel and delta panels that we're putting in on the jackets that tell the same story about the departments. We have gold for command, silver for science and copper for operations and engineering."
4. The Props
Given that Discovery is set a decade before the original Star Trek series, it would seem out of place to have props with advanced technology far beyond what Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and his team used. That's why the props master Mario Moreira and his team went retro with their devices. "We approached the prop elements as a period piece," he explains in a featurette.
While he described the look of items like the phaser and communicator as more militaristic than those seen on the original series, it's hard to miss how similar they look to the Star Trek devices of yore, right down to the tricorder.
5. The Sounds
From the moment First Officer Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) steps onto the bridge of the USS Shenzhou, one small but incredibly important detail was very apparent. The ambient noise in the bridge, comprising various computers and sensors, sounds very familiar to what was heard on the original series. While not a direct replica of the ambient noise from that show, closely mimicking goes a long way in bringing longtime fans back to the feel of the series.
6. The Vulcan Nerve Pinch
The Vulcan nerve pinch has a long history in the Star Trek universe, after first being used by Spock (Leonard Nimoy) in the original series. It has since appeared throughout various incarnations of Star Trek, both on TV and in film. While non-Vulcans have used the technique before, it is a rarity. That said, as a human raised by Vulcans, it makes sense that Burnham would have a comprehensive understanding of the maneuver.
7. The Hidden Easter Egg
While some of the references to the larger Star Trek universe were more obvious, that didn't stop producers from also hiding smaller nods in the background. Take Captain Georgiou's (Michelle Yeoh) ready room, for instance. In the room a bottle of Chateau Picard wine can be found, according to TV Guide.
While this is an actual real-world wine, it also has ties to Star Trek: The Next Generation's Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). It is revealed in that series that Picard comes from a family of winemakers dating back to before his birth, making this particular bottle of wine canon-compliant.
With so much history to explore, don’t expect the references to other versions of Star Trek to stop anytime soon. As a prequel, Discovery is heading toward an end that fans already know — the world that exists at the beginning of the original series. It would surprise few if the show’s producers continue to introduce elements of the canon, big and small, to help structure the universe they are building toward.
Star Trek: Discovery streams Sundays at 8:30 p.m. on CBS All Access.