Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Discovery Gives a Nod to the Franchise's Most Neglected Series

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery Season 3, Episode 5, "Die Trying," now streaming on CBS All Access.

While starting out as a prequel to the original series, Star Trek: Discovery has now jumped 930 years into the iconic franchise's future -- truly where no one has gone before. With all of its counterparts now centuries in the past, Discovery has moved to a world where Starfleet exists in a much different capacity after a cataclysmic event known as The Burn caused all dilithium across the galaxy to spontaneously combust. And as the crew of the Discovery seek out the new Starfleet, they are treated to a tour of the peacekeeping force's history, including a direct nod to one of the franchise's most under-appreciated series: Star Trek: Voyager.

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In the series' latest episode, the Discovery enters a nexus that serves as a cloaked headquarters for the far-future's United Federation. While planets in the organization are only loosely linked because of the inability of its starships to enter warp speed without dilithium, the nexus is filled with vessels from across Starfleet's extensive history. In addition to advanced ships with detached warp nacelles, organic structures and one seemingly powered by a massive rainforest is the eleventh iteration of the starship Voyager.

The adventures of the original Voyager were set in the same era as The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. After a heated standoff with the rebellious Maquis, the Voyager was flung 70,000 lightyears from Earth. Stranded without Starfleet support in the middle of the faraway Delta Quadrant, Captain Kathryn Janeway and her crew had to band together with the Maquis as they embarked on the lengthy odyssey back home, encountering fearsome new, alien races and the full might of the Borg along the way. While it certainly earned its own vocal fanbase, the series is widely regarded as being of lesser quality than its predecessors, though it's held in much higher esteem than the subsequent show Star Trek: Enterprise.

There are certainly some thematic similarities between Voyager and Discovery Season 3. Just like the crew of the Voyager was stranded in the unknown and cut off from all Starfleet support, the crew of the Discovery has similarly found themselves relatively alone in a different kind of undiscovered country. While the Federation and Starfleet does exist in the far-future, they are significantly different from what the crew of the Discovery is accustomed to, and the galaxy is also radically transformed in the 32nd century.

With all of Star Trek history now in the rear view for the Discovery, the series can lean further into Star Trek's mythos than ever before. Now that it can include elements from the franchise beyond what was possible in its first two seasons, Season 3 is able to give Star Trek: Voyager, one of the most overlooked series in the franchise, some overdue time in the spotlight. And with the Discovery now working alongside the new, futuristic Starfleet, more elements from the classic series can hopefully be woven into the story.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 stars Sonequa Martin-Green as Commander Michael Burnham, Doug Jones as Captain Saru, Anthony Rapp as Lt. Commander Paul Stamets, Mary Wiseman as Ensign Sylvia Tilly, Wilson Cruz as Dr. Hugh Culber, Blu del Barrio as Adira, David Ajala as Cleveland “Book” Booker and Michelle Yeoh as Philippa Georgiou. A new episode arrives on CBS All Access every Thursday through Jan. 7, 2021.

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