The Worst Attack In Starfleet History Never Gets Mentioned In Star Trek

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

Forget the Battle of Wolf 359…in terms of casualties and sheer destruction, the greatest Star Trek conflict remains the Klingon War seen in the first season of Discovery. That show was nominally meant to be a prequel to The Original Series, but showing a brutal war with Trek’s most famous aliens was Discovery’s way of trying to do something new. However, this addition to franchise lore seems completely incongruous because, quite frankly, nobody in later-set shows ever mentions it.

No One Talks About The Klingon War In Later-Set Shows

Obviously, Star Trek: Discovery makes occasional references to the Klingon War, but now that the show is set in the 32nd century, such references are few and far between. Similarly, Strange New Worlds makes a reference here and there, but that show is mostly softening how we see the Klingons (forget the war…now these guys are Spock’s drinking buddies and even appeared as a boy band in the musical episode). What is more notable, though, is that later shows don’t really talk about what must be the most devastating attack in Starfleet history.

Why Isn’t Anyone Upset With Burnham

Star Trek Discovery prime directive

To get an idea of how weird it is that later Star Trek characters don’t bring up the Klingon War, just look at how so many in Starfleet resent Picard’s time as Locutus of Borg. Once assimilated, Picard helped the Borg kill 11,000 Starfleet officers, something that officers like Sisko and Shaw haven’t forgiven him for.

But it’s retroactively crazy that, say, no one in Kirk or even Picard’s time has a similar lasting grudge against Michael Burnham for kicking off a Klingon war that would ultimately kill over 100 million Federation citizens.

Next Gen Starfleet Wouldn’t Simply Forget

At this point, you might say that it makes sense for, say, Star Trek: The Next Generation characters to not reference the Klingon War because it was relatively long ago in their eyes. However, the final season of Discovery revealed that nobody had forgotten about the Breen attacking Earth and partially destroying San Francisco in the 24th century.

Frankly, if future Starfleet officers can remember an attack that occurred about 800 years ago, it’s weird that Picard and crew seemingly can’t remember a historically catastrophic conflict from a little over a century ago.

A Clumsy Retcon

At this point, some of you Star Trek fans are likely yelling at me that the obvious reason later characters don’t reference the horrific Klingon war is that the war itself is a retcon made by Discovery. I’m very well aware of that, but the lack of characters ever really addressing the worst conflict in Starfleet history underscores what a clumsy retcon it really is.

The Discovery writers clearly wanted to start the new series with their own Dominion War-esque bang, and the war admittedly made for good TV, but it comes across as an unnecessary lore change added so the show could get a few cheap gasps from fans.

TOS Makes Things Weirder

This lore change retroactively makes Star Trek: The Original Series weirder as we see characters with living memory of the Klingon war treat these aliens like run-of-the-mill space pirates instead of genocidal monsters. Gene Roddenberry might say this shows how much humanity has evolved, but I think the incongruity goes back to poor planning on the part of Discovery’s writers. Maybe Star Trek writers should get back to basics and learn from classic writers like Shakespeare…hopefully, they can read a copy in the original Klingon before unleashing the Starfleet Academy show on us.

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