While Star Trek found a new lease of life on the big screen in 2009, it had been more than a decade since the last TV show in the long-running sci-fi franchise when Star Trek: Discovery premiered last September. The show's producers faced the difficult task of making a show that appealed to modern audiences and new fans, as well as satisfying die-hard, long-term Trek devotees.
But while Discovery has taken the story and characters in some surprising directions, it's also very aware of its past. Every episode to date has contained at least one reference or call-back to something from the grand 52-year history of Star Trek. Sometimes these are sly jokes that only the most dedicated fan will spot, and sometimes they are crucial plot-points. So here's a look at all the Discovery Season 1 Easter Eggs…
A number of Klingon Houses from previous Star Trek shows are mentioned in Episode 1, including House D'Ghor (from the Deep Space Nine episode 'The House of Quark') and House Mo'Kai (Voyager's 'The Killing Game').
There are a number of flashbacks across the first two episodes to Burnham's time at the Vulcan Learning Center, which also featured in the 2009 movie Star Trek.
When Burnham encounters the Klingon warrior in deep space, he is holding a bladed weapon known as a Bat'leth, which Worf often wielded in The Next Generation.
There is a reference to "Starfleet General Order 1", more commonly known as the Prime Directive, which prohibits interference with the internal development of alien civilizations.
A host of Federation ships arrive to help in the standoff with the Klingons. Many of them are named after elements of Star Trek canon, such as USS Nebula (from the video game Star Trek: Armada II), USS T'Plana-Hath (a Vulcan ship in Star Trek: First Contact), USS Yeager (ships in both Deep Space Nine and First Contact), and USS Clarke, which featured in the Star Trek novel The Wounded Sky.
Captain Georgiou's office on the Shenzou contains a couple of Easter Eggs. There's a bottle of wine from Chateau Picard, which is presumably owned by the family of Next Generation's Jean-Luc Picard. And the titles of the books on the shelf are all taken from episodes of the original series, including "Mirror, Mirror," "The Deadly Years," "The City on the Edge of Forever," "The Omega Glory," and "Whom Gods Destroy."
Burnham and the other criminals are being transferred to the Tellun system, which appeared in original series episode 'Elaan of Troyius.'
Burnham is forced to defend herself against the criminals using Suus Mahna, the Vulcan martial art also practised by T'Pol in Enterprise.
There's a tribble sitting on Captain Lorca's desk. This furry creature appeared in the classic original series episode 'The Trouble with Tribbles.'
Straal speculates that he and Stamets will win a Zee-Magnees Prize for their research into the mycelial network. This prize was also awarded to Dr. Daystrom for his development of Duotronics in the original series episode 'The Ultimate Computer.'
Lorca keeps a variety of alien species in his secret laboratory, including the skeleton of a Gorn, which featured in the original series, as well as a mirror universe episode of Enterprise. There's also the bodies of Cardassian voles, which once caused an infestation on an episode of Deep Space Nine.
When Lorca exposes Burnham to spores to demonstrate their power to move around the galaxy, she experiences a series of visions. Among the familiar locations are Romulus, the moons of Andoria, Starbase 11, Janus VI, and a Preserver Obilisk, all of which featured in the original series.
Much of Episode 4's plot revolves around the planet Corvan II, which was first mentioned in the Next Generation episode 'New Ground.'
To inspire Stamets to work harder on developing the spore drive, Lorca mentions three pioneers. Two are real (Wright Brothers and Elon Musk) , but one-- Zefram Cochrane--was the man who first encountered Vulcans in the movie Star Trek: First Contact.
Episode 5's big Easter Egg is the return of a fan favourite--Harry Mudd. This intergalactic scoundrel and conman first appeared in the original series, played by Roger C. Carmel. In Discovery, Office star Rainn Wilson takes on the role.
Lorca lists the Discovery's accomplishments during a briefing, including breaking Klingon supply lines at Benzar. This planet was mentioned in both Deep Space Nine and Next Generation, the latter of which also featured a Benzite character called Mordock.
While trying to locate the captured Lorca, the Discovery crew narrow his possible location to three planets. One of these is Rura Penthe, a penal colony on which Kirk and McCoy found themselves in Star Trek V: The Undiscovered Country.
Saru requests a list of Starfleet's most decorated captains, all of whom have appeared or been referenced in previous shows. There's Robert April (The Animated Series), Jonathan Archer (Enterprise), Matthew Decker (the original series), Philippa Georgiou (Discovery), and Christopher Pike (the original series).
Tilly mentions the Daystrom Institute, a Starfleet science institute mentioned in an original series episode titled 'The Ultimate Computer.'
Stamets compares the DNA of the Tardigrade to that of a Zaldan. These web-handed humanoid aliens appeared in the Next Generation episode 'Coming of Age.'
The legendary starship is mentioned by Burnham as she tells Tilly about the steps to becoming an officer.
Tyler tells Lorca that his mother died while travelling to the moons of Grazer. Although Grazer has never been mentioned in a Star Trek movie or show, it does feature in the Deep Space Nine novel 'Articles of Confederation.'
The star map in Episode 7 is packed with interplanetary locations mentioned elsewhere in the franchise. There's Rura Penthe (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and Voyager), Beta Thoridor, Mempa, H'atoria, the Hromi Cluster, Ramatis III, Starbase 24, Khitomer (The Next Generation), and Narendra III, Paulson Nebula, Starbase 343, and Xaratine (Enterprise).
At one point Harry Mudd yells the line made famous by Picard's omnipotent nemesis Q in The Next Generation.
Harry Mudd's wife Stella appears at the end of Episode 7. By the original series, Stella has left Mudd, leading him to construct an older android version to keep him company. But in Discovery, she's a much younger woman, who stills has affection for her troublesome husband.
In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Spock delivers one of the most famous lines in the whole franchise: "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." This quote forms the basis of a discussion between Tyler and Burnham about what their lives hold for them once the war is over.
Lorca is offered the Legion of Honor by Starfleet for destroying the Klingon Sarcophagus ship and saving Pahvo. This was previously awarded to Dr. McCoy in the original series and Data in Next Generation.
The second half of Season 1 kicks off with a classic Star Trek concept--the mirror universe. This alternative reality first appeared in the original series, and subsequently featured in five episodes of Deep Space Nine and a two-part episode of Enterprise.
Burnham asks Tyler how he is, using this Vulcan proverb. An Isik is part of Vlugtan currency, first mentioned in Deep Space Nine episode "Rivals."
This classic Star Trek ship featured in both Deep Space Nine and First Contact. In Discovery it is revealed that it has also passed through to the mirror universe and holds the key to the Discovery's return to prime.
In order to disguise his voice, Lorca adopts an amusing Scottish accent, very similar to that of a certain Mr Scott, chief engineer from the original series.
The Terran torture booth has previously appeared in two mirror universe episodes--the original series' 'Mirror, Mirror' and Enterprise's 'In a Mirror, Darkly.'
When Burnham and Tyler encounter the mirror universe Sarek, he is sporting a little goatee beard--much as mirror Spock did in the original series.
There are a couple of classic Star Trek aliens sitting with mirror universe Voq around the table of rebellion leaders. Both Andorians and Tellarites have featured in episodes of the original series and of Enterprise.
Burnham and Lorca look over Saru's decryption of the data taken from the Defiant in an attempt to learn how that ship crossed into the mirror universe. While much of the text is redacted (and tiny!), close examination reveals that it is essentially a synopsis of the plot of the two-part Enterprise episode 'In a Mirror Darkly' from 2005.
When Saru gives his speech to the crew of the Discovery about the chances of survival in the upcoming fight against the Terrans, he uses the phrase "no-win scenario." This is the central concept behind the Kobayashi Maru, the famous training exercise featured in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and the 2009 reboot movie.
Lorca reveals that he first entered the prime universe via a transporter malfunction in an ion storm. These magnetic space storms have occurred throughout Star Trek, but more specifically it was an identical transporter problem that first sent the crew of the Enterprise into the mirror universe in the classic original series episode 'Mirror Mirror.'
We learn that the USS Saratoga has been destroyed by Klingons. The Saratoga is a name that has been used for a number of ships in Star Trek, including in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Deep Space 9.
A large holographic map of Qo'noS reveals a number of locations that have been mentioned elsewhere in the franchise. There's Kang's Summit (Deep Space 9's 'In Purgatory's Shadow'), Caves of Kahless (Voyager's 'Day of Honor'), Lake of Lusor (The Next Generation's 'Rightful Heir'), River Skral (Deep Space 9's 'The Way of the Warrior,' Voyager's 'Barge of the Dead'), and The Caves of No'Mat (The Next Generation's 'Birthright, Part I.')
There is a direct reference to Captain Archer's visit to Qo'noS, which was the storyline of Enterprise's very first episode in 2005, titled 'Broken Bow.' Admiral Cornwell explains that the Discovery's upcoming mission to the Klingon world will be the first since the Enterprise NX-01 went there nearly 100 years earlier.
These green-skinned humanoid aliens have appeared throughout Star Trek, including the original series episode 'Who Gods Destroy' and Enterprise's 'Bound,' as well as all three of the recent reboot movies. In this episode of Discovery, they can be found running a black market district on Qo'noS.
The Terran version of Georgiou reminisces that she and mirror Tilly had fun "subjugating the Betazoids [and] wiping out Mintaka III" in their own universe. Betazoids are a race of empaths whose best known member in past Trek shows was The Next Generation's Deanna Troi. The planet Mitaka III features in the The Next Generation episode 'Who Watches the Watchers.'
One of the dishes we see being cooked up in the Orion market is a Ceti Eel. This is the creature that Khan placed into Chekov's ear in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan in order to control his mind.
These are the weapons that Tilly sells in the Orion market. Nausicaans were a strong, aggressive alien race that featured in the Next Generation episode 'Tapestry' and Enterprise's 'Fortunate Son.'
While in the market, Georgiou expresses her frustration at the slow pace of their mission by stating, "We didn't come here for bread and circuses." As well as being a phrase that dates back to Ancient Rome, 'Bread and Circuses' is also the title of a 1968 episode of the original series.
Discovery Season 1 saves the biggest Easter Egg for last--the USS Enterprise. The most famous ship in the history of Star Trek appears at the very end of the season finale, piloted by Captain Christopher Pike and accompanied by the classic Trek fanfare.
The fanfare wasn't the only musical Easter egg. The end credits of this final episode play out under a new arrangement of Alexander Courage's classic Star Trek theme, reworked by composer Jeff Russo to take advantage of a much larger orchestra.