Warning! Spoilers ahead for the endings of Star Trek: Discovery season 2 and Star Trek: Picard season 1!
Because Star Trek: Discovery season 3 will take place 930 years after 2257, in the year 3187 and beyond, it doesn’t seem at all likely that we’ll see any familiar faces from Star Trek’s lengthy mythology.
Or will we? A show brazen enough to have already made Spock and Pike central (and very well-depicted) characters could definitely figure out how to feature a few more familiar faces, even centuries past their prime. There are very specific, and surprising, ways for a few characters to return without having to utter the phrases “temporal anomaly” or “space-time continuum” at all.
Here are five Trek characters from across the entire franchises who could crash the far-future party of Star Trek: Discovery Season 3.
What’s that you say? Soji can’t appear in Discovery season 3 because she lives in the year 2399? Well, putting aside the idea that Soji was only 3 years-old by the end of the season 1 finale of Picard, we don’t know that she’s not built for super-longevity. (In fact, the finale episode makes a point of telling Picard himself that they had to engineer longevity out of his new synth body.)
Also, in Picard, we were made aware of at least four synths who looked exactly like Soji, who’s to say there couldn’t be a fifth? In the original series episode “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” the Enterprise encountered one android, Ruk, who was thousands of years old. Soji could live to the year 3187, and even if she doesn’t, it’s possible some remnants of those snaky Lovecraftian/Mass Effectian uber-synths she nearly brought into our universe could be lurking around. We’ve always wondered about possible links between the synth revolution in Picard and the A.I. Control from Discovery. It could be that Discovery popping into the 32nd century, possibly with a seemingly inert copy of Control, marks the next wave of this fight.
Ever since Star Trek has returned to TV, everyone has been wondering about Q. While it might have been a little on-the-nose for him to appear in Picard, it would actually be very slick for John de Lancie to reprise his role in Discovery season 3. Obviously, Q is totally immortal and could appear at any point in the Trek timeline whenever he wants to. But, because he’s always had a soft spot for humanity (kind of) it would be interesting to see how he felt about the very naive-yet-hopeful-yet-weird crew of the USS Discovery popping into an otherwise dreary period in humanity’s galactic history.
Famously, Q also was going to whisper something into the ear of Jean-Luc Picard at the end of “All Good Things…” but then changed his mind and just said, “You’ll see.” We’ll see what? Can we know what he was gonna say, now?
3. The Doctor
It’s been a good year for people who love Star Trek: Voyager (unless you also loved Icheb), as Picard featured lots of references and characters from that series, including an expansion on the capabilities of Voyager’s prominent Emergency Medical Hologram, The Doctor.
We know that a holographic lifeform can last as long as its database and emitter can last, which means that The Doctor could feasibly be around in the 32nd century.
In fact, two of him could be present! In the Voyager episode “Living Witness,” we learn that a copy of the Doctor’s holographic program was left in the Delta Quadrant and remained fully functional into the far away year of 3074. Granted, that’s still about 100 years before the new season of Discovery, but that version of The Doctor ends “Living Witness” by venturing back out into the stars in search of news of his old crewmates. The Star Trek: Discovery season 3 trailer hints very heavily that the Federation is long gone. It might be that the USS Discovery is the only thing that the Doctor would recognize as clearly being part of the Federation, meaning that he might make a beeline to the ship once it shows up.
This seems crazy, but it’s not. When Captain Pike goes to live on Talos IV with the Talosians at the end of “The Menagerie Part II,” it’s not totally clear if he’s left his physical body behind and become pure consciousness or what. And, if Pike did leave his human body behind, it’s kind of a hop-skip-and-jump over to him becoming a kind of quasi-space god. What better person to help Burnham and friends out in 3187 than space god Pike? Hit it!
Of all the older “legacy” characters from Star Treks past, some new version of Dax makes the absolute most sense for Discovery season 3. In the trailers, we’ve seen some Trills hanging out, and it even looks like Burnham hits up the planet Trill to check on some symbionts. Obviously, because “Dax” refers to the symbiont itself, literally anybody could play the new Dax. Who knows what person Dax would be joined with now? Hell, maybe Burnham will briefly become the new Dax! If it was good enough for Riker, it’s good enough for Michael.
Star Trek: Discovery is set to debut sometime in 2020 on CBS All Access.
Ryan Britt is a longtime contributor to Tor.com and the author of the book Luke Skywalker Can’t Read and Other Geeky Truths (Plume 2015.) His other writing and criticism have been published in Inverse, SyFy Wire, Vulture, Den of Geek!, the New York Times, and StarTrek.com. He is also an editor at Fatherly. Ryan lives with his wife and daughter in Portland, Maine where he teaches creative non-fiction for the Maine Writers and Publisher’s Alliance. He is represented by the Fischer-Harbage Literary Agency.