Star Trek Discovery Early Plot Hole Was Secret Foreshadowing

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

Star Trek Discovery gorn

When Star Trek: Discovery first premiered, the fact that it was a prequel to The Original Series had fans constantly alert for any plot holes that would contradict the original adventures of Captain Kirk. Because of this, fans wasted no time pouncing on the fact that Captain Lorca had a Gorn skeleton in his menagerie. Because these episodes took place about a decade before Kirk first encountered these aliens, this seemed like a Star Trek: Discovery plot hole, but Lorca’s Gorn was a deliberate hint that the captain was from the Mirror Universe.

The Gorn

star trek gorn

For this Star Trek: Discovery story to make sense, we need to review the curious case of Starfleet’s first encounter with the Gorn. When Captain Kirk famously fought the Gorn in “Arena,” this was supposed to be the first time Starfleet had ever encountered these rascally reptiles.

Much later on, Strange New Worlds would effectively retcon this because the Gorn became the primary antagonists of Captain Pike’s Enterprise.

When Star Trek: Discovery first premiered, this Strange New Worlds retcon hadn’t happened, so fans were operating under the assumption that Kirk’s encounter was Starfleet’s first brush with the Gorn.

Because of this, the Gorn skeleton in Captain Lorca’s menagerie, something we see in the show’s third episode, seemed like a major plot hole. How could this guy have the skeleton of one of these aliens on display before anyone else in Starfleet even knew what they were?

The Gorn Was Always Meant To Be Puzzled Over

star trek horror

However, the After Trek for this Star Trek: Discovery episode revealed that the Gorn skeleton was actually meant to be foreshadowing for the reveal that Lora was from the Mirror Universe. According to Discovery executive producer Aaron Harberts, fans were meant to see a Gorn who shouldn’t be there and begin wondering what it could mean about Lorca, effectively hinting at his future arc.

The whole menagerie managed to cast the new captain in a creepy light, especially because it was filled with exotic weapons and other things (including a dissected tribble) that you wouldn’t expect a Starfleet captain to have.  

Star Trek: Enterprise

star trek gorn

At this point, you might be wondering how Star Trek: Discovery producers expected the presence of a Gorn skeleton to serve as a hint at Lorca being from the Mirror Universe. Is there any reason to believe that characters in this other universe ran into the Gorn before Kirk in the Prime Universe did? As fans of Enterprise know, the answer to that question is a resounding “yes.”

In A Mirror Darkly

The Enterprise season 4 two-parter “In A Mirror, Darkly” served as a prequel for the classic “Mirror, Mirror” episode of The Original Series. In the Enterprise episode, a Gorn is running around and trying to sabotage the Defiant, a Constitution-class vessel that fell through a rift in space and time into the Mirror Universe.

That episode ends with Sato poisoning Mirror Archer and declaring herself Empress, meaning that she returned to her Empire with knowledge about the Gorn that Prime Universe Kirk wouldn’t gain for about a hundred years.

Discovery Had It Worked Out All Along

As you can tell, Star Trek: Discovery including a Gorn skeleton to foreshadow Lorca’s Mirror Universe heritage was a pretty deep dive for fans, requiring extensive knowledge of other shows throughout the franchise.

We really like this story because it proves that, for its occasional narrative misfires, Discovery has always been a labor of love from a crew that deeply loves this franchise. Unfortunately, Strange New Worlds retconning the Gorn effectively dropped a Kirk-style styrofoam bolder on this attempt at a cool Easter.

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