Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Discovery Reveals The Mirror Universe’s 32nd Century

Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Discovery season 3, episode 5, "Die Trying".

Star Trek: Discovery season 5, episode 5, "Die Trying" gave Emperor Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) a harrowing update on the state of the Mirror Universe. Georgiou is ostensibly part of the U.S.S Discovery's crew, which arrived at Federation Headquarters. But they all faced interrogation by Starfleet personnel who were suspicious about their claim of being time travelers from the 23rd century. Georgiou's debriefing, however, was unique because it was apparently conducted by Section 31 and it was primarily about the fact that Georgiou is a wicked Terran from the alternate reality.

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The Mirror Universe exists alongside Star Trek's Prime Universe but with many profound differences. Star Trek: Enterprise's "In a Mirror, Darkly" two-parter established that humans' First Contact with the Vulcans on April 5, 2063, began with Zephram Cochrane (James Cromwell) killing the first pointy-eared "invaders" he met. Armed with Vulcan technology, humanity took to the stars and conquered the galaxy as the Terran Empire. But the first time Trekkers visited the Mirror Universe was in the Star Trek: The Original Series classic episode "Mirror, Mirror" when Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and three of his officers ended up in the parallel reality while their evil doppelgangers were switched to the Prime Universe. Before Kirk returned to his proper reality, he convinced the goateed Mirror Spock (Leonard Nimoy) to course-correct the Terran Empire's march to self-destruction.

Emperor Georgiou's reign over the Terran Empire ended a decade before Kirk traveled to the Mirror Universe, so she was completely unaware of all of the developments that occurred between the years 2258 and 3189. Despite the Emperor's cunning, the unnamed mystery man in glasses (David Cronenberg) was still able to drop some bombshells on Georgiou. The agent, who must represent Section 31, claims to have been fascinated by Terrans since he was a boy and he has studied Terran history, psychology, and physiology. But Georgiou was shocked when the man in glasses told her that the Terran Empire collapsed centuries ago. However, while this was news to Georgiou, fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine have long been aware of the fate of the once-mighty and feared Terran Empire.

DS9 featured several Mirror Universe episodes during its 7-season run and filled in much of what happened after TOS' "Mirror Mirror". The Mirror Spock did assume control of the Terran Empire and he instituted many changes meant to preserve their dominion over the Alpha Quadrant. Instead, Spock's reforms, which included disarmament, led to the Terran Empire being destroyed by the Klingon/Cardassian Alliance, which took over all of the Terrans' territory and enslaved Terrans, Vulcans, and even Bajorans. Over a century after "Mirror Mirror", the Klingon/Cardassian Alliance was ruled by the Regent, who was the Mirror double of Worf (Michael Dorn), and he faced the constant threat of rebellion which ultimately defeated him. The Mirror opposites of Deep Space Nine's characters were either aligned with Worf or rebelling against the Klingon Regent.

However, the Section 31 agent had even more shocking and alarming news for Emperor Georgiou: The distance between the Prime and Mirror Universes has been expanding for centuries, making crossovers impossible. The man in glasses claimed that "no one has crossed over in 500 years", which indicates that the last time that did happen was in the 2600s. It's unknown who the last people to jump from the Prime and Mirror Universes was or in which direction, but from how Georgiou was taunted that she's now "alone", the door to the Mirror Universe appears to be permanently closed in the 32nd century.

With time travel banned and that technology non-existent in the United Federation of Planets, the option of going back in time to then cross back over to the Mirror Universe appears to also be a non-starter for Emperor Georgiou. Nor do we know what has happened in the Mirror Universe in the 814 years since the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine last spotlighted the alternate reality. Still, Emperor Georgiou has more immediate concerns in Star Trek: Discoveryseason 3, such as figuring out what Section 31 did to her that caused her to freeze in the hallway and stare blankly into space. But Trekkers also wonder whether this means that the doors to the Mirror Universe are closed for good and Star Trek is saying goodbye to its popular alternate reality as a story device.

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