The Secret Way Discovery Honors Previous Star Trek Shows

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

One of the most common criticisms of Star Trek: Discovery is that the writers and producers don’t really care about the franchise, but that’s certainly not true. For all the show’s faults, it was clearly a labor of love for everyone involved, and you can tell because they found a creative way to continually honor past characters and series. Even though it’s very easy to miss, Discovery would frequently name starships after famous Star Trek characters, a practice that only increased when the show jumped forward in time to the 32nd century.

Battle At The Binary Stars Is Filled With Easter Eggs

Star Trek biggest battle

The tendency of Star Trek: Discovery to name ships after beloved characters began very early on, as evidenced by some of the Starfleet vessels in “Battle at the Binary Stars.” For example, one of the ships is named the USS Shran, and this is meant to honor the fan-favorite Andorian character from Enterprise, played so perfectly by Jeffrey Combs.

The writers also channeled their love of the early movies when they named another ship, the USS T’Plana-Hath, after a Vulcan philosopher briefly mentioned in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

Discovery’s Future Setting Let The Writers Have Some Fun

Star Trek biggest battle

Early on in Star Trek: Discovery, it was a little harder to name ships after recognizable characters because the first two seasons took place about a decade before The Original Series. However, the second season ended with the Discovery and its crew jumping forward in time to the 32nd century. They eventually linked up with the Federation of the future, which was the perfect excuse for the writers to honor more of our favorite characters with new ships.

Season 4 Includes The USS Janeway

star trek prodigy

For example, one of the ships that investigated the Dark Matter Anomaly of the fourth season was the USS Janeway. This was named, of course, after Captain Kathryn Janeway, someone whose Delta Quadrant adventures on the Voyager had presumably become the stuff of Starfleet legend. Putting such a ship in the 32nd century was a great way to honor Janeway’s legacy even after she returned to the franchise in the Prodigy cartoon.

Honoring Departed Stars

In some cases, these Star Trek: Discovery Easter eggs take on a more somber note. A great example of this is the USS Nog, named after the Ferengi character and Starfleet officer in Deep Space Nine, who, for our space bucks, had the best arc of the entire show. Sadly, Nog actor Aron Eisenberg passed away in 2019, so this ship (officially an Eisenberg-class vessel) appears in Season 3 of Discovery as a way to memorialize the dead.

The Kelvinverse Is Honored

This wasn’t the first time Star Trek: Discovery memorialized a beloved franchise actor who was taken away from us far too soon. In the show’s third season, Burnham investigates a mysterious phenomenon known as The Burn that destroyed many Federation starships. One such ship was the USS Yelchin, named after Anton Yelchin, the gifted young actor who played Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot films.

A Great Way To Honor Those That Bring Star Trek To Life

If you’ve been rewatching Star Trek: Discovery now that the series has wrapped (it’s not just us, right?), it can be fun to spot these specially-named ships and other Easter eggs hidden throughout each season. These vessels are the show’s way of honoring both the franchise’s greatest characters and the actors who brought them to life, and they serve as proof that the writers and producers have a deep love for Star Trek as a whole.

Now that Starfleet Academy will serve as a 32nd-century spinoff of Discovery, we can’t wait to see which Star Trek luminaries (Will Riker, perhaps?) get immortalized as part of the Federation’s future fleet. 

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