Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Disproves Kelpien Theory

Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Discovery season 3, episode 2 - "Far From Home"

Star Trek: Discovery season 3, episode 2 disproves the fan theory that Commander Saru (Doug Jones) encounters evolved versions of his own Kelpien race in the 32nd century. Rather, the aliens that Saru and Ensign Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman) meet in the episode, "Far From Home", are Coridanites, who were first seen in Star Trek: Enterprise season 1.

Saru, of course, is a Kelpien and he was the first of his species to ever leave his planet Kaminar and go off-world. In the mid-23rd century, Saru constructed a communications device from Ba'ul technology and he made contact with Lt. Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) of the U.S.S. Archimedes. But because Kaminar was a pre-warp civilization, Saru had to accept that he couldn't return to his homeworld when he left with Georgiou aboard the Archimedes. Instead, Saru immersed himself in the galactic wonder of the United Federation of Planets; he became the first Kelpien to join Starfleet, he learned 94 alien languages, and he became the Science Officer aboard the U.S.S. Shenzhou commanded by Captain Georgiou. After the Shenzhou was destroyed when the Klingon War of 2256-2257 began, Saru became the First Officer of the U.S.S. Discovery. Saru then became Acting Captain and commanded the Discovery when he and his crew followed Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) into the 32nd century at the conclusion of Star Trek: Discovery season 2.

Click the button below to start this article in quick view. Start now

When Star Trek: Discovery's season 3 trailer dropped, many Trekkers were fascinated by the alien talking to Saru who said "I've always believed that you were out there somewhere and that we were part of the Federation no matter what." The fact that the alien somewhat resembled Saru's facial features led to speculation that he was an evolved Kelpien who somehow had hair. However, "Far From Home" makes it clear that the aliens are, in fact, Coridanites who lived in a mining settlement called The Colony. The U.S.S. Discovery crashed on the unnamed ice planet The Colony is built on, and Saru and Tilly ventured into the wild to make first contact and barter for minerals their starship needs for its repairs. Saru, Tilly, and later, Emperor Philippa Georgiou, then get involved in the Coridanites' problems with their malevolent courier, Zareh (Jake Weber), who has been running an extortion racket on The Colony and stealing their dilithium.

Based on what little but compelling info there was in Star Trek: Discovery season 3's trailer, it's understandable that some fans made the logical leap that the Coridanite was an evolved Kelpien. In Star Trek: Discovery season 2, Saru and the U.S.S. Discovery did return to Kaminar and liberated it from the oppressive rule of the Ba'ul. Further, Saru underwent the natural Kelpien biological process called the Vahar'ai, which eliminated his state of fear and allowed him to evolve into the confident leader he now is; Saru then ensured the rest of his race also benefited from the Vahar'ai.

The result was the Kelpien race's capacity for learning rocketed forward; within months, the formerly agrarian race gained warp capability and joined Saru's starship and the U.S.S. Enterprise in fighting off the rogue A.I. called Control, which was plotting to wipe out all organic life in the universe. Saru had to bid farewell to his sister Siranna (Hannah Spear) as the Discovery followed Michael Burnham into the distant future - and this time, Saru can never return. Naturally, some Trekkers mistook the Coridanite for a Kelpien and guessed that Saru's race continued their rapid evolution so that they physically transformed to become even more humanoid in the 32nd century, and that they eventually joined the Federation.

However, Coridan is also a fascinating addition to the new canon Star Trek: Discovery is forging in the far future since their race made first contact with Captain Jonathan Archer's (Scott Bakula) NX-01 Enterprise in the 22nd century. The Coridanites have also been significant background players in the Alpha Quadrant since Coridan was a planet rich in dilithium. It's good to know that a thousand years later, the people of Coridan are still around in the galaxy. And it also means that it's possible Saru could still return to Kaminar and learn what became of his people at some point in Star Trek: Discovery season 3.

Star Trek: Discoverystreams Thursdays on CBS All-Access and Fridays internationally on Netflix.

About The Author