Star Trek Discovery Season 3: All The Easter Eggs, Callbacks, And References
While Star Trek found a new lease of life on the big screen in 2009, it had been more than a decade since the last TV show in the long-running sci-fi franchise when Star Trek: Discovery premiered in September 2017. The show's producers faced the difficult task of making a show that appealed to modern audiences and new fans, as well as satisfying die-hard, long-term Trek devotees.
Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 followed in 2018, and embraced a darker, more emotionally complex approach to the series. But while the first two seasons of Discovery took the story and characters in some surprising directions, the show has remained very aware of its past. Every episode contained multiple references and callbacks to something from the grand 55-year history of Star Trek, which you can check out in our Season 1 and Season 2 Easter Egg galleries. Sometimes these are sly jokes that only the most dedicated fan would spot, and sometimes they are crucial plot-points and familiar characters.
Season 3 has now finished, and the Easter Eggs, callbacks, in-jokes and references came thick and fast. So let's take a look at all the Discovery Season 3 Easter Eggs...
1. The Gorn (Episode 1)
Book tells Burnham "the Gorn destroyed two light-years worth of subspace." The Gorn are a humanoid reptilian species that first appeared in The Original Series episode "Arena." There's also a reference to them in Season 2 when Section 31 boss Leland jokingly talks about "alligators" on the Gorn planet Cestus III.
2. Andorians and the Orions (Episode 1)
Burnham is surprised to learn that Andorians and the Orions are working together. Blue skinned Andorians first appeared in the Original Series episode "Journey to Babel," and were used as recurring characters on Star Trek: Enterprise. Orions are green-skinned and first featured in the original Star Trek pilot "The Cage." Most recently, the animated show Star Trek: Lower Decks features an Orion character named Ensign D'Vana Tendi.
3. Subspace Amplifier (Episode 1)
Burnham notices that Book's ship has a Subspace Amplifier. These devices are used for subspace communication, and were previously used in various episodes of Enterprise to allow the ship to communicate with the Earth and Starfleet Command.
4. Dylithian Recrystalizer (Episode 1)
Book asks Burnham to "whip up a new dylithian recrystalizer." This technology was invented by Queen Po back in Season 2, when she helped the Discovery recharge the time crystal. 900 years in the future, it is clearly used widely.
5. Benamite and the Quantum Slipstream (Episode 1)
Book also mentions needing "Benamite" to "fly Quantum Slipstream." Benamite is the extremely rare crystal that the USS Voyager used to construct a quantum slipstream drive in the Voyager episode "Timeless."
6. Tachyon Solar Sails (Episode 1)
Another of Book's tech references is to tachyon solar sails, which are "slow as s***." In the Deep Space 9 episode "Explorers," tachyons are used to power an ancient solar sailing ship to warp speed.
7. The Temporal Cold War (Episode 1)
Book tells Burnham that all time travel technology was destroyed after the Temporal Wars. This was a conflict fought across different points in time, involving a variety of factions who wanted to manipulate history. These factions included a mysterious benefactor of the Suliban Cabal, the Na'kuhl, the Sphere-Builders, and the Federation. The Temporal Cold War featured as a main plot point in several episodes of Enterprise, in which Captain Jonathan Archer helps to end the conflict.
8. Graviton Beams (Episode 2)
The Discovery uses graviton beams to cushion its crash landing on The Colony. They were previously mentioned in the Voyager episode "Scorpion, Part II," when Seven of Nine uses a graviton beam to open a portal to fluidic space.
9. Cellular Regeneration Chamber (Episode 2)
Culber puts Stamets into a Cellular Regeneration Chamber, a device which allows cells to be re-energized. The chamber previously appeared in the Deep Space Nine episode "In the Cards." It was invented by Elias Giger, a doctor who was determined to find methods to prolong life.
10. Rubindium (Episode 2)
Discovery’s broken transtator requires rubindium. This crystalline element is used in both communications technology and to create laser beams. It was first mentioned in the original series episode "Patterns of Force." in which Spock uses rubindium crystals to create a laser torch.
11. Duranium (Episode 2)
This super-strong metallic substance has appeared throughout Star Trek and is used to build the hulls for starships and space stations. In this episode, Reno mentions that Stamets was injured by a "seven-inch shard of Duranium alloy." Other notable references include episodes of the original series ("The Menagerie, Part I"), The Next Generation ("The Chase"), Deep Space 9 ("Dramatis Personae," "Ferengi Love Songs"), and Voyager ("Initiations," "Drone").
12. Jefferies Tubes (Episode 2)
Stamets enters a Jefferies Tube to repair a ruptured relay. These are service crawl ways that give the crew access to various systems of the ship and have appeared in other Star Trek shows. In the The Next Generation episode "Disaster," Riker and Data have to use a Jefferies tube to get around after heavy damage to the Enterprise has blocked off access to engineering. In the Voyager episode "Learning Curve," they are used for training exercises.
13. 47 (Episode 3)
During the montage that shows how Burnham spent her year before reuniting with the Discovery, she is passed an object with the number "NCC-4774" on it. 47 is a recurring number through Star Trek. It first appeared in The Next Generation via writer Joe Menosky as a reference to a numerical conspiracy he encountered at college. Since then it has appeared through the different series and movies, as you can see in this clip montage.
14. Synthehol (Episode 3)
Book thinks he is drinking alcohol, but Burnham tells him it's the synthesized variant. Synthehol is regularly consumed on board starfleet ships, and first appeared in the Next Generation episode "Vessels." While Synthehol has none of the side-effects of regular alcohol for humans, it is intoxicating to Borgs, as Seven of Nine discovered in the Voyager episodes "Timeless" and "Body and Soul".
15. Generational Ships (Episode 3)
Part of Suru's cover story is that the Discovery is an old ship returning to Earth from a very long mision that was now piloted by the descendents of the original crew. The concept of a "generational ship" has appeared previously in Star Trek, although usually for other races who don't have the warp technology of Starfleet. These include the Sky Spirits (Voyager's "Tattoo"), the Fabrini (the original series' "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky"), and the Varro (Voyager's "The Disease."
16. Quantum Torpedoes (Episode 3)
Wen's ships attack the Discovery with Quantum torpedoes. These weapons first appeared in the Deep Space Nine episode "Defiant," while the Enterprise in the movies Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Nemesis is equipped with them.
17. Saru's Telescope (Episode 3)
The telescope we see Saru beside belonged to Captain Georgiou. After her death at the start of Season 1, Burnham received the telescope as part of Georgiou's will. In Episode 5 of Season 1, Burnham gave the telescope to Saru, who keeps it in his quarters.
18. Adira the Trill (Episode 3)
At the end of the episode, we learn that Adira is host to a Trill Symbiont. Trills are a humanoid species that co-existed with a sentient symbiotic organism known as a symbiont inside their bodies. When the time comes, they can move on to a new host and still hold onto the memories and personality of the previous host. Trills were first introduced to the Star Trek universe in the classic Next Generation episode "The Host," while the Starfleet science officer Jadzia Dax was Trill and a regular character in six seasons of Deep Space Nine.
19. Bajoran Hasperat (Episode 4)
Adira tells Saru "I also speak seven languages and cook a mean Bajoran Hasperat." The Bajoran are the natives of the planet Bajor, and Hasperat was a well-known spicy Bajoran food. It looks a bit like a burrito. Hasperats appeared several times in Deep Space 9, including as part of a buffet in the episodes "Rejoined" and "Crossfire,” and being eaten by villainous Orion Syndicate members in "A Simple Investigation.” It was also mentioned in the Voyager episode "Someone to Watch Over Me."
20. Trill Guardians (Episode 4)
The Trill that Adena and Burnham encounter on their homeworld are Guardians. These Trill are unjoined and dedicate their lives to the care of symbionts. Guardians previously appeared in episodes of Deep Space 9, including "Equilibrium," "Facets," and "Afterimage."
21. The Caves of Mak'ala (Episode 4)
Adira and Burnham are taken to the Caves of Mak'ala on Trill, in order for Adira to contact her symbiont. These are a series of underground caves that contain interconnecting pools of a milk-like substance, which are the natural environment of symbionts. They were previously seen in the Deep Space 9 episode “Equilibrium.”
22. Star Peaks (Episode 4)
Admiral Senna Tal is played by Kenneth Welsh, making him the latest in a long line of actors from Twin Peaks to appear in Star Trek. Welsh played murderous former FBI agent Windom Earle in Season 2 of David Lynch’s classic show. Other Twin Peaks stars who have appeared in Trek shows and movies include Ray Wise (Leland Palmer), Miguel Ferrer (Albert Rosenfield), Richard Beymer (Benjamin Horne), Michael J. Anderson (The Man from Another Place), David Warner (Thomas Eckhardt), Wendy Robie (Nanine Hurley), and Carel Struycken (The Giant).
23. Neutronium (Episode 5)
As Discovery approaches the Federation HQ, Nilsson states that she has detected neutronium alloy fibers. Neutronium is a rare mineral found in Neutron star cores. This material has been mentioned previously in Trek, in the Voyager episodes "Phage" and "Think Tank."
24. Constitution class ship (Episode 5)
Owo is amazed to see a new Constitution class ship.These were the premiere frontline Starfleet vessels in the second half of the 23rd century, capable of operating on five-year mission cycles with minimal outside support. The USS Enterprise is the most famous constitution class ship in Star Trek.
25. USS NOG (Episode 5)
The Discovery passes a ship named the USS NOG on the way to Federation HQ. This is a nod to the Deep Space Nine character Nog, the first Ferengi to enter Starfleet. This also serves as a tribute to actor Aron Eisenberg, who passed away in 2019.
26. Kazon and Telex (Episode 5)
As Burnham, Saru, and Adira enter Federation HQ, we see a note in yellow about a Kazon Clan Forum on Talax. The Kazon were an aggressive, nomadic species who served as antagonists during the first two seasons of Voyager. The Voyager character Neelix was from the planet Talax.
27. Sigma Draconis System (Episode 5)
A starfleet officer tells Vance that Andorian and Orion vessels were found in the Sigma Draconis System. In the original series episode "Spock's Brain," the Enterprise enters this system to search for--you guessed it--Spock's stolen brain.
28. Prions (Episode 5)
The refugees' diagnosis shows that they are being affected by prions. These are a type of infectious microscopic particle, and were the subject of Julian Bashir's study in Deep Space Nine.
29. USS Tikhov (Episode 5)
The Tikhov is named after the Soviet astronomer Gavriil Adrianovich Tikhov, who was a pioneer in astrobiology and is considered to be the father of astrobotany. In real life, a moon crater, a Martian crater, and an asteroid have all been named after him.
30. David Cronenberg (Episode 5)
The mysterious man who quizzes Georgiou about the Terrans is played by David Cronenberg, the renowned director of such horror and sci-fi classics as The Fly, Videodrome, and Scanners. His character's identity is not revealed, but his knowledge of the Mirror universe suggests that he might be a Section 31 agent.
31. The Terran Empire's Demise (Episode 5)
While Georgiou is surprised to learn about the fall of the Terran Empire, Star Trek fans already know that this has happened. The seeds of the Empire's demise were sown back in the original series episode "Mirror Mirror"--chronologically, a decade after Discovery's jump into the 32nd century--when Kirk asked Mirror Spock to reform the Empire. In the Deep Space Nine episode "Crossover," we discover the result of this--the now peaceful Terran Republic was conquered by the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance.
32. Various intergalactic locations (Episode 6)
There are familiar locations visible on the holographic map while Vance briefs the captains. These include Benecia, Camus, and Halkan, which are planets mentioned the Original Series; Talos, the first planet ever visited in the Star Trek pilot; and Beta Niobe, a star that went supernova in the Original Series but was retconned in The Undiscovered Country and seen in star charts in The Next Generation and Deep Space 9.
33. Bajoran exchange (Episode 6)
Tolor the Orion tells Georgiou that "all buyers go to the local Bajoran exchange." Bajorans were a species first mentioned in The Next Generation, distinguished by the horizontal creases across their noses. Next Generation's Lieutenant Ro Laren was a Bajoran.
34. Tritanium power coils (Episode 6)
Tritanium power coils are offered to Georgiou for purchase. In Star Trek, Tritanium alloy is a widely used construction material--Federation starships in the 24th century had tritanium bulkheads.
35. Baryon Sweep (Episode 6)
Vance tells Willa to "make sure they clear the ship before doing the Baryon Sweep." The Baryon Sweep was mentioned in the Next Generation episode "Starship Mine," and is a procedure that eliminates baryon particles, which are a side-effect of warp travel, from a ship.
36. Self-sealing stem bolts (Episode 6)
Burnham and Georgiou talk about needing self-sealing stem bolts. Stem bolts were a type of bolt used to fasten items, and the self-sealing variety were mentioned several times in Deep Space 9, in episodes including "Progress," "Prophet Motive," and "By Inferno's Light."
37. Unification III (Episode 7)
The title of this episode follows the Next Generation episodes "Unification" and "Unification II," which dealt with Spock’s quest to unite the Vulcan and Romulan races. The episodes were screened in 1991 as part of Season 5, and the presence of original Spock actor Leonard Nimoy helped make them the most-watched episodes of the series ever.
38. The USS Yelchin (Episode 7)
Tilly mentions the black box of the USS Yelchin. The ship is named after Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov in 2009's movie Star Trek and its sequels, and sadly died in 2016.
39. Ni'Var (Episode 7)
Ni'Var is the new name for Vulcan, renamed after the unification with the Romulans. Ni'Var was also the name of a Vulcan Suurok-class combat cruiser that was mentioned in the Enterprise episode "Shadows of P'Jem."
39. Spock! (Episode 7)
Burnham views footage of the older Spock, which had been stored by Jean-Luc Picard centuries earlier. The footage was taken from "Unification II," in which Picard and Data encounter Spock on Romulus.
40. Fascinating! (Episode 7)
Michael says Spock would find Ni'var "fascinating." Which of course was one of Spock's catchphrases, since the Original Series.
41. Surak (Episode 7)
Michael tells Saru that Vulcans have engaged in T'kal N'ket since the time of Surak. Surak was a legendary Vulcan philosopher, scientist and logician, considered the father of modern Vulcan civilization. He was first mentioned by Spock in the Original Series episode "The Savage Curtain."
42. Catchphrases (Episode 8)
Saru is having trouble deciding on his captain’s catchphrase. He and Tilly run through some possibilities, such as "Execute," "Hit it," and "Manifest." As Suru mentions, "Hit it," was used by Pike in Season 2. Other famous Star Trek captain catchphrases include Picard's "Make it so" and "Engage," and Janeway's "Do it."
43. Viridian (Episode 8)
Osyraa's ship is called the Viridian. Viridian is a blue-green pigment, taking its name from the Latin viridis, meaning "green," which is also the color of Orion skin. Also, although it has a slightly different spelling, Veridian is the name of a star and a star system in the Beta quadrant, shown in the movie Star Trek Generations.
44. Orion slaves (Episode 8)
Saru reminds Osyraa that the Orions were once enslaved themselves. He’s referring to Orion slave girls, who were victims of enslavement by the criminal organization Orion Syndicate. In the Original Series episode "The Cage," Susan Oliver played a slave girl (also the first Orion ever seen in Star Trek), while in the Enterprise episode "Borderline," female members of the Syndicate pose as slave girls.
45. Security Protocol 49.09 (Episode 8)
Saru mentions Security Protocol 49.09 when discussing the transfer of Ryn to Osyraa. This protocol deals with the treatment of prisoners held on a starship. It was previously mentioned in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, when Kirk accuses Spock of violating it after he is marooned on the planet Delta Vega.
46. Noah Averbach-Katz (Episode 8)
Ryn is played by Noah Averbach-Katz. In real life he's married to Mary Wiseman, who plays Tilly.
47. Kelvin Timeline (Episode 9)
Kovich states that the time soldier Yore travelled "from an alternate universe created by the temporal incursion of a Romulan mining ship." This is the Kelvin Timeline, the parallel universe that exists in JJ Abram's three Star Trek movies. This is the first confirmation that the Federation knows the Kelvin Timeline exists.
48. Betelgeusian (Episode 9)
Yore is a Betelgeusian, the second time we've seen this race in this season--a Betelgeusian smuggler also featured in Episode 1. The only other time a Betelgeusian has appeared in Star Trek was briefly in The Motion Picture in 1979.
49. Dannus V (Episode 9)
Burnham and Georgiou head to the planet Dannus V. This could be a tribute to writer Richard Danus, who worked on both The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.
50. The Star Dispatch (Episode 9)
On Dannus V, Carl is seen reading a copy of a newspaper titled The Star Dispatch. This fictional publication previously appeared in the Original Series episode "The City on the Edge of Forever." It was a go-to title when TV shows needed to show a newspaper and can be also spotted in classic series such as Bewitched and Mission: Impossible.
51. USS Hiraga Gennai (Episode 9)
The USS Hiraga Gennai is mentioned in the old transmission from Dr. Issa. Hiraga Gennai was an Edo period Japanese pharmacologist, physician, author, painter and inventor. He also write several fiction and non-fiction books on gay life in Japan and wrote the satirical essay "On Farting."
52. Landry and Airiam (Episode 9)
Much of this episode takes place in the Mirror Universe, allowing us to see the Terran versions of two characters who have been killed off in the Prime universe. Rekha Sharma returns as Commander Ellen Landry, who was killed by the tardigrade in Season 1, Episode 4. Hannah Cheesman plays Airiam once more, as a human rather than a cyborg this time. Airiam died in Season 2, Episode 9 after becoming compromised by Control and getting released from an airlock.
53. Tellarites (Episode 10)
Michael mentions several alien races while telling Georgiou about "The Coalition," including Romulans, Andorians, Tellarites, Klingons, Denobulans, Rigelians, and Coridanites. Tellarites are a pig-like species from the planet Tellar Prime, who first appeared in the Original Series episode "Journey to Babel." The Enterprise character Doctor Phlox was a Denobulan, Rigelians have appeared in Enterprise and Lower Decks, and Kal from Episode 2 of this season was a Coridanite.
54. Guardian of Forever (Episode 10)
Carl is revealed to be the Guardian of Forever, who has taken human form. This mysterious construct was created by an unknown alien race and allows access to other times, locations, and dimensions. It was first seen in the Original Series episode “The City on the Edge of Forever,"and this is the form that it returns to in this episode, complete with archival audio from original voice actor Bart LaRue.
55. Risa (Episode 10)
The Terran Discovery heads to Risa to intercept Duggan, one of Lorca's lieutenants. Risa is the popular "pleasure planet" featured in multiple episodes of Trek, including the Original Series episode "Captain's Holiday" and Enterprise's "Two Days and Two Nights."
56. Holo-program (Episode 11)
Michael, Saru, and Culber are beamed into a sophisticated holo-program designed to protect the lone survivor of the Khi'eth crash. Holo-programs (aka holodecks) were first introduced in The Next Generation and are used for training exercises, entertainment, and investigative purposes.
57. Hasperat (Episode 11)
One of the training holos mentions Hasperat. This is the second reference this season to this spicy Bajoran food, the other being in Episode 4.
58. Baryonic Residue (Episode 12)
Commander Willa states that the "baryonic residue" of the Discovery and Osyraa's ship match that of a Verubin Nebula. Baryon particles are a side-effect of warp travel and build up on starships over several years. A "baryon sweep" is carried out to remove them and avoid radiation damage. The Enterprise underwent a baryon sweep in the Next Generation episode "Starship Mine" and the procedure was also mentioned in the Discovery episode "Scavengers."
59. Vulcan Nerve-pinch (Episode 12)
Burnham performs the famous Vulcan Nerve-Pinch on Stamets. This is the second time Michael has used it in Discovery, the first being the very first episode, "The Vulcan Hello."
60. Overloaded phasers (Episode 12)
Burnham saves Stamets by overloading her phaser and blowing a hole in the side of Discovery so he can escape. Overloaded phasers were previously used in the Original Series episodes "The Conscience of the King" and "That Which Survives," and the Next Generation episode "The Hunted."
61. Dot-23 bots (Episode 12)
At the end of the episode, Tilly and the others encounter Dot-23 bots, updated versions of the worker robots Dot-7s,. We discover that Sphere's data is hidden in several of them, with their voices performed by Annabelle Wallis, who performed Sphere's voice in Episode 4 of this season. Intriguingly, Wallis was also the voice of Zora, Discovery's sentient AI in the Star Trek Short Treks episode "Calypso." In that episode, the Discovery has been abandoned and left floating in space for nearly a thousand years, suggesting that the seeds of this are planted in this episode.
62. Gormagander (Episode 13)
The opening shot is of a holo displaying a Gormagander, an endangered species described as a "space whale," capable of living in the vacuum of space. The Discovery encountered an injured female Gormagander back in Season 1, in the episode "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad."
63. Xahean (Episode 13)
Adira appears as a Xahean in the holo. The character Queen Po, who appeared in Season 2, was Xahean and queen of the planet Xahea.
64. Voyager (Episode 13)
After seeing the Voyager very briefly in Episode 5 of this season, in this episode, Vance commands the ship to take the lead on Viridian.
65. Alcorian Sorrowhawks (Episode 13)
Zareh references the Alcorian Sorrowhawk. The sound of this bird was previously mentioned in the Short Trek episode "Calypso," when the AI named Zora tries to relax Craft by playing him the natural sound of his homeworld Alcor IV, including the calls of Sorrowhawks.