Based on the massive twists and turns we’ve seen in this season of Star Trek: Discovery, the remaining two episodes will offer enough surprises to fill not one, but two starships. It’s now no secret that the USS Enterprise is returning for the big finale episodes, but what does that mean for the canon of the original series? We know Rebecca Romijn will return as Number One—the first officer of the Enterprise—but who else? Could other classic characters from The Original Series be hanging around the Enterprise? Could we get a glimpse of them in this episode? Or even a passing reference?
Based on the timeline, here are eight characters from Star Trek: The Original Series who could feasibly be on the USS Enterprise in the last two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery season 2.
Warning: Speculative spoilers could follow. When this list was compiled, the writer of this article had not yet seen Discovery season 2, episode 13, “Such Sweet Sorrow.”
8. Dr. Boyce
In the original pilot episode “The Cage,” Dr. Boyce was the chief medical officer of the USS Enterprise. He was known for making Captain Pike warm martinis and dropping some solid advice (none of which Pike really took until he got kidnapped by telepathic aliens, but whatever). We know Boyce must have left the Enterprise sometime between the events of Discovery and the Original Series, mostly because Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy takes his place permanently. Still, at this point in time, it’s reasonable Boyce is still onboard. Don’t think a passing reference to Boyce is possible? Well, in Star Trek Into Darkness, Boyce’s name was listed on a screen as the attending physician for Captain Kirk after all of the Cumberbatch-Khan action. Into Darkness was co-written by Alex Kurtzman who is the showrunner of Discovery.
7. Nurse Chapel
Famously, Majel Barrett played not only Number One in “The Cage,” and Lwaxana Troi in The Next Generation, but also Nurse Chapel in the Original Series. When did Nurse Chapel join the USS Enterprise? We have no idea, but it’s not crazy to think she’s been there for a while. Could Chapel have served with Pike and Spock before Kirk took over? In some ways, this would make sense if only because you get the sense that she’s known Spock for a long time in the Original Series.
6. Dr. Piper
Oh yeah! You forgot about this guy, didn’t you? That’s right, after Boyce and before Bones, there was nobody’s favorite Star Trek doctor: Dr. Piper. In the second pilot, “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” Piper has replaced Boyce as the chief medical officer of the USS Enterprise. Obviously, this is the only episode featuring this character, and why Bones eventually replaces him is the subject of a decent amount of non-canonical apocryphal reconciliation. Some examples: In the 1985 DC Comics story “All Those Years Ago,” Bones replaces Boyce as the chief medical officer of the Enterprise, but has to take a leave of absence because he’s going through a divorce. Bones’s divorce is also the reason given for his absence in “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” in the novel Strangers From the Sky. In all of these scenarios, Piper was the temporary replacement for Bones. All of which could mean he’s temporarily serving on the Enterprise during the time of Discovery.
5. Gary Mitchell
In original series canon, Gary Mitchell was supposedly someone Captain Kirk personally requested for the Enterprise. So, in theory, there’s no way we could see—or hear about—Gary Mitchell on Discovery, if only because he’s not really supposed to be on the Enterprise, yet. But then again, all we know is that Kirk wanted Mitchell on the Enterprise, which could mean Mitchell was already there, and Kirk simply made sure he stayed on the Enterprise. It seems unlikely Mitchell is already on the Discovery, but you never know.
Sitting next to Mitchell in “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” was Lee Kelso. In some ways, this guy was destined to become one of Trek’s very first “red shirt” even though he was wearing a kind of off-salmon tunic. Anyway, Lee seems pretty familiar with the Enterprise in “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” which means it’s totally possible he’s already on the Enterprise in these Discovery episodes.
This is a big one. In the Discovery episode, “An Obol For Charon,” Pike mentions that the Enterprise has a chief engineer named Louvier. In the same episode, Pike says “I don’t think the Enterprise will ever have a chief engineer more in love with his ship.” Obviously, this is a foreshadowing joke about Scotty, who clearly will love the Enterprise more than whoever this Louvier person is. As Discovery has demonstrated this season, it’s common for a starship to have more than one engineer, meaning Scotty could be a junior engineer on the Enterprise at this point in time, serving under Louvier and loving the Enterprise really hard.
Weirdly, at this point in time Scotty could also be serving aboard…the USS Discovery. Why? Well, believe it or not, we’ve never actually seen the chief engineer of the Discovery. Stamets is an engineer, but not the chief engineer, and Reno is an assistant engineer, too. In the second season of Discovery, there have passing references to “the chief engineer,” but we’ve never actually seen this person. Plus, in the first season of Discovery, in the episode, “Despite Yourself,” Captain Lorca impersonates the chief engineer of the Discovery, by doing an impression of…Scotty! So, if Mirror Lorca knows about Scotty, it seems really likely Scotty is hanging around, either on the Enterprise or close by on the Discovery.
This actually feels super-likely. Even if Sulu doesn’t appear or isn’t referenced in the final two episodes of Discovery’s second season, the notion that he’s already on the Enterprise feels very high. In, “Brother,” the first episode of Discovery’s second season, Stamets mentions he knows an “ethnobotanist” on the Enterprise. In the original series, Sulu is totally obsessed with botany, specifically in the episode “The Man Trap.” Plus, “Where No Man Has Gone Before” establishes that Sulu has had at least one other job on the Enterprise before becoming the helmsman. In “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” Sulu was the head of the astrophysics department, clearly part of the sciences division.
Of all the characters who could appear on the Enterprise in the second season of Star Trek: Discovery, Uhura would be the coolest. In terms of on-screen canon, we don’t really know much about what Uhura was doing in Starfleet before joining the Enterprise in The Original Series. Meaning, it’s not crazy to think she was on the Enterprise during the transition between Pike and Kirk. Plus, like Sulu, it seems like the department Uhura worked for changed a little bit during her early years aboard the Enterprise. In “The Corbomite Maneuver,” Uhura wears gold, indicating she’s in the command section. But for the rest of the series, Uhura wears the red of the operations sections. So, again — like Sulu — did Uhura have a totally different job on the Enterprise prior to Kirk taking over? If so, seeing Uhura on Discovery would be the biggest treat for Trekkies, perhaps since the new series began.
The final two episodes of season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery air over the next two Thursdays — April 11 and April 18 — at 8:30 pm eastern time on CBS All-Access.