Star Trek: Discovery Connection To Strange New Worlds Hidden in Plain Sight?

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

star trek discovery

After crossing over with the animated Lower Decks, many Star Trek fans were hoping that Strange New Worlds would eventually have a crossover with Discovery. However, considering that this is the final season of Discovery, it doesn’t look like those fan dreams will ever be realized. However, a recent Star Trek: Discovery episode may have hidden a connection to Strange New Worlds in plain sight with a throwaway line obliquely referencing Commander Pelia.

Reno’s Old Job

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Just how did this connection come to be? In Star Trek: Discovery, Jett Reno (played by the incomparable Tig Notaro) is a woman of many talents, and she recently revealed a few of the “odd jobs” she had before fully committing to Starfleet.

This became relevant in the episode “Erigah” when the crew needed to track down a rare manuscript and Tilly learns from the ship’s computer that Reno’s “curriculum vitae lists prior employment as a rare and antiquarian bookseller.”

When asked about this experience, Reno admits that “I may have padded my résumé with that one” and that her job actually involved smuggling “hard-to-find folios for a shady antiquarian archivist.”

In typical Star Trek: Discovery fashion, this quickly leads to a clue about where to find the manuscript–so quickly, in fact, that you might have missed the potential Strange New Worlds connection.

While Reno didn’t name any names, Star Trek has already introduced a character who might meet this description, and she is currently (well, back in the 23rd century) serving as the Chief Engineer on the Enterprise under Captain Pike

Did Reno Work For Pelia?

This is, of course, Commander Pelia, who appears completely human but is actually a Lanthanite. Her species practically lives forever, and Pelia once made the bold claim that she has actually lived through the entirety of human history.

While we haven’t seen onscreen evidence of her wilder claims (including personally knowing the ancient mathematician Pythagoras), the time-traveling episode “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” reveals that she was alive and well back in the 21st century.

A Well Known Star Trek Antiquarian

What does this have to do with Star Trek: Discovery referencing her Strange New Worlds character? In the past, she ran The Archeology Department, which was actually a Vermont-based antique and curio shop. It may be something of a stretch, but since she is the most prominent antiquarian in the franchise, Reno may have actually smuggled books for her before joining Starfleet.

The Timeline

At this point, Star Trek fans might point out some of the timeline issues with Star Trek: Discovery’s Jett Reno having worked for Pelia as a smuggler in the past. While we don’t have exact stardates or anything (not that those have always been very exact anyway), Pelia would have almost certainly been during Starfleet during Reno’s smuggling days, most likely working her pre-Enterprise gig at Starfleet Academy.

If Pelia was busy working for Starfleet, pretty much the top cops in the quadrant, why would she also be running a criminal enterprise involving rare books?

Several reasons, actually: when we first meet Pelia in Star Trek: Discovery, she allowed Spock to steal the Enterprise out of what she later admits was pure “boredom,” and if her boredom made her think Grand Theft Starship was acceptable, she could easily have started smuggling books because she was similarly bored.

Additionally, Reno mentioned how “we” (presumably herself and her employer) were aware of the Eternal Gallery and Archive, and it is perfectly reasonable to assume that Pelia would break a few more rules if it led to the preservation of knowledge (one of her chief passions).

Reno & Pelia

It’s unlikely that we’ll ever get any confirmation that this Star Trek: Discovery line was a reference to Strange New World’s Pelia, but it certainly works as headcanon. If nothing else, it may be the closest thing we get to a crossover after the unexpected and unceremonious cancellation of Discovery.

Should Paramount consider any more Disco spinoffs, we’d like to point out that a book-smuggling buddy criminal show featuring Pelia and Reno sounds much more entertaining than the teenybopper Starfleet Academy show we are getting. 

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