Star Trek: Discovery Reveals Legacy Of Fan-Favorite Voyager Character 

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

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This most recent season of Star Trek: Discovery has been filled with fun references to earlier shows like The Next Generation (we even see Captain Picard onscreen!) and Deep Space Nine (that show’s Breen villains are the scariest of Big Bads in the 32nd century). So far, however, there haven’t been many references to Voyager. That changed in the recent Star Trek: Discovery episode “Labyrinths” when, in addition to seeing the Badlands again, we got a throwaway line that seemingly revealed the cultural legacy of the Voyager character Neelix.

Neelix Hair!

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Like most of this final season’s episodes, “Labyrinths” focused on Captain Burnham and crew trying to figure out the latest puzzle that will lead them to information about the Progenitors. These are the aliens first discovered by Picard back in The Next Generation, and Burnham is now racing the Breen to discover technology from this ancient race that could potentially reshape the galaxy.

This episode of Star Trek: Discovery revealed which texts were accessed by 24th-century Betazoid scientist and original Progenitor researcher Dr. Marina Derex at the Eternal Gallery and Archive, and that’s where the Neelix connection comes in.

The crew discovers that, among other texts, Derex accessed a book called A Comprehensive Guide to Talaxian Hairstyles. Obviously, Neelix was a Talaxian, but most fans assumed this was just a fun Easter egg placed into the show by the writers.

However, if you stop thinking about the Progenitor mystery in Star Trek: Discovery and start thinking about what this means for Neelix, you might be surprised at how the show has honored the character by giving him such a legacy.

Neelix Was No Alpha Quadrant Barber

As you may or may not remember, Neelix was one prominent member of the Voyager crew who didn’t make it back to the Alpha Quadrant with everyone else. When the ship discovers the last group of Talaxians they are ever likely to see, Neelix decides to stay with his people.

That means that Dr. Derex wouldn’t have been able to learn anything about these exotic aliens straight from the source.

The Delta Quadrant Is Still A Mystery

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Considering that Star Trek: Discovery takes place in the 32nd century, you might think that she could have learned about Neelix’s people directly by visiting the Delta Quadrant.

But there are two problems with this theory: for one thing, it seems that even in the 32nd century, the Delta Quadrant remains an unknown and unexplored region of space for most of the major groups in Star Trek, including Starfleet.

For another thing, Dr. Derex was a 24th-century Betazoid; the franchise has never explicitly stated how long Betazoids live, but onscreen evidence seems to imply they live more or less as long as humans.

Janeway Taught Everyone About Talaxians

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How does all of this Star Trek trivia add up to Discovery honoring Neelix? As Tuvok might remind us, the only logical reason that Dr. Derex could have read a book about the Talaxians in the 24th (or perhaps 25th) century is that Captain Janeway provided it once Voyager came home from the Delta Quadrant.

The fact that it’s a book about Talaxian hairstyles of all things further implies that Neelix provided Voyager with a number of texts about his people that the ship brought back home, and this information has been lovingly preserved into the 32nd century.

How About The Recipes?

Again, Star Trek: Discovery has made no mention of Starfleet visiting the Delta Quadrant since Janeway’s return (don’t come at us with talk about the Enterprise-J, by the way, which has seemingly been wiped from the timeline altogether), meaning that others are learning about Neelix and his people despite seemingly having no method of ever meeting actual Talaxians.

Some would call that silly, but we think it’s sweet that Neelix ended up having such a rich cultural impact on future scholars. We’re left with just one question: did the Archive happen to record his recipe for leola root stew?

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