As with any new addition to a beloved franchise, Star Trek: Discovery has a lot of responsibility to live up to its lauded predecessors. But as a prequel of sorts there's another challenge ahead of it: Discovery must fit neatly into the timeline, referencing canon while striking out into its own narrative. And so far, the new show is ahead of itself in terms of Easter Eggs and canon callbacks. Let's count them out!
TOS Beeps And Swooshes
An endearing element of #StarTrek has always been its ambient noise, with The Original Series crowding the soundtrack of the Enterprise bridge with beeps, pings, and bloops that made it sound distinctively sci-fi.
Because Discovery is set a mere decade before The Original Series, those classic beeps can be heard on the bridge of the USS Shenzou, and the doors on the ship make a delightfully familiar swooshing noise. It's good to be home.
The Vulcan Learning Center
First referenced in The Animated Series episode "Yesteryear" before appearing in JJ Abrams' 2009 Star Trek movie, the Vulcan Learning Center is an elite school which trains all Vulcan children in a plethora of intellectual disciplines.
The training is intense and arduous, and we see young Michael Burnham struggling with the onslaught of information as she is demanded to answer questions about Klingon terror attacks — including the attack on Doctari V, which is presumably when she was orphaned and fell under the care of Sarek.
This sequence is reminiscent both of Spock's childhood flashbacks in the Star Trek 2009 film, and of Spock's re-education in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, when even he is unable to answer the question, "how do you feel?"
Humanity Is Vegan Now
As The Original Series and early seasons of The Next Generation were eager to remind us, the Federation's food synthesizers and later replicators have erased the need for humanity to raise livestock — instead, all meat is synthesized from the building blocks of matter.
Lt Saru references this fact when he explains his heritage to Burnham, saying that he is similar to "your livestock of old." It's just a brief reference, but Saru's words re-establish how humanity has moved beyond rearing animals for food.
The Picard Vineyards
In another nod to The Next Generation, Captain Georgiou keeps a bottle of "Chateau Picard" for special occasions.
As any fan of TNG will know, Picard comes from a family of French winemakers, who own acres of sprawling vineyards. This Easter Egg isn't just a cheeky reference to one of, if not the most popular Star Trek captain, but also establishes a bit of history for the Picard family — they are winemakers for the stars!
Paralleling 'The Motion Picture'
In a beautiful sequence, Burnham ventures out alone to discover exactly what the mysterious cloaked object is. Because no shuttle can navigate the asteroid belt, Burnham dons a space suit, complete with thrusters that propel her towards her destination. We first saw Spock use such a suit in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
This sequence is very similar to the one in Discovery, as Spock also took it upon himself to explore an unidentified, space-born object — and he was also wounded as a result of his curiosity.
Kahless The Unforgettable
In one of his many speeches, T'Kuvma cites the legendary Klingon hero Kahless. He sees himself as a successor to the heroic figure, as Kahless was the first to unite all the Klingon houses under one banner, and became the first Emperor, winning many territories for the Empire.
Kahless's mythology is also the reason Klingons traditionally wear their hair long, as he cast a lock of his hair into a volcano and forged a sword from it. Ironically, in Discovery, Klingons are bald — a chunk of their culture lost in the showrunners' redesign.
Kahless is also known as "The Unforgettable," a title T'Kuvma also earns after his death, perhaps because he managed to unite several of the Klingon houses against the Federation.
The Battle Of Donatu V
T'Kuvma also mentions that the Klingons have been complacent "ever since Donatu V" — a Klingon-Federation battle that was referenced in The Original Series, but never shown. This skirmish took place around 2244, and although the Federation won, there were great losses on both sides. It seems that the Klingons were reluctant to engage the Federation again after this defeat.
The USS Shenzou Is Outdated
In a flashback scene to Burnham's arrival on the USS Shenzou, Georgious gives her young protege a tour of the ship, explaining why the transporters look different to the usual design — because the Shenzou is an outdated model.
This explains why the ship looks very similar to the NX-01 from the show Enterprise, as it was launched over 100 years before Discovery.
The Founding Of The Federation
In another callback to Enterprise, T'Kuvma references the four founding races of the Federation:
"They wish to drag us into the muck, where humans, Vulcans, Tellerarites, and filthy Andorians mix."
The end of Enterprise saw these four races come together — with the Vulcans and Andorians overcoming centuries of animosity — to found the Federation on the principle "to boldly go where no-one has gone before."
The USS T'Plana Hath
In the battle at the binary stars, Lt Saru points out that the USS T'Plana Hath is under heavy fire. This ship was named after the Vulcan vessel that first made contact with Earth after Zephram Cochrane's first warp flight.
Another ship is called the USS Shran, referring to Archer's Andorian buddy, who was hugely instrumental in easing the tensions between the Andorian and Vulcan races, leading to the founding of the Federation.
Bonus: The Real HMS Discovery
Although we didn't actually see the USS Discovery in the premiere, there was a strange parallel in this plot to the fate which befell the real-life HMS Discovery. This was the last ship Captain Cook commanded, as he took it on a mission to kidnap the king of Hawaii — and lost his life in the ensuing battle.
It's easy to see the parallel here with Georgiou's fate, though in her case she was attempting to offer a diplomatic hand of peace to her enemy, who eventually killed her.
Tell us in the comments: Did you spot any more Easter Eggs in Star Trek: Discovery's premiere?