Star Trek: Discovery is currently on winter hiatus while it prepares to release the second chapter of its first season, but it has certainly left fans with a lot to chew on during the break.
Star Trek fans have been theorizing about Star Trek: Discovery practically since the series was announced. As the series came closer and closer to release, and fans got their looks at things like the new Starfleet uniforms, the USS Shenzhou and the USS Discovery, and the redesigned Klingons, those theories kicked into overdrive as fans began trying to reconcile the differences between classic and modern Star Trek.
Then came the announcement that lead character Michael Burnham was actually Spock’s previously unmentioned foster sister. Somehow Burnham isn’t even the most curious character on the show. Captain Gabriel Lorca is a Starfleet captain the likes of which fans have never seen, and he’s become the source of multiple fan theories all on his own.
Any character with a past as mysterious and arrival as timely as Ash Tyler’s is bound to spawn some fan theories, and that has definitely held true in Star Trek: Discovery, so much so that fans are even examining the history and backgrounds of possibly made up actors who have supposedly been starring in the show in order to piece this puzzle together.
Plus, knowing that Star Trek: Discovery is eventually dealing with the alternate timeline of the mirror universe, and the multiverse-spanning, time-traveling potential of Lt. Paul Stamets’ spore opens up the series to a lot of possibilities.
With so much going on in Star Trek: Discovery, it can almost be hard to keep track. Some of the major fan theories that were circulating early in the series have been weakened as the series has progressed, but there are still some strong ones going around. Here are five we hope that Star Trek: Discovery definitely addresses in its second chapter.
One of the earliest theories to come out of Star Trek: Discovery was that the ship itself was the product of Section 31, a deep cover special operations and espionage group.
Section 31 is known for going to extreme measures to further Federation of Planets interests, but also for working without the knowledge or supervision of Starfleet.
Some fans believed that the Discovery could be a part of Section 31 partly because of the black-badge armed officers that were on board, and that it would help explain why the ship looks so different and more advanced than what was seen in Star Trek: The Original Series. The fact that the ship's registry number is NCC-1031 was something that some took as a clue.
However, another big reason this was a theory was that Captain Lorca seemed to have such great leeway to do whatever he wanted aboard the ship. If he was actually a part of Section 31, that would make a lot of sense, but as the series has progressed we now know that Starfleet, and specifically Admiral Katrina Cornwell, have been keeping a very close eye on Lorca and the Discovery, making this theory seem less plausible than it once did.
This theory stems from the Star Trek: Discovery episode titled "Lethe," which is also the name of a character from the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Dagger of the Mind."
That name and the fate of Admiral Cornwell in the episode led to the theory that Cornwell could become Lethe by the time "Dagger of the Mind" takes place.
Cornwell, betrayed by Lorca after a confrontation over his command of the Discovery, was captured by the Klingons. The theory suggested that Cornwell would be tortured by the Klingons and that would leave her in a state where she would be sent to the institution seen in "Dagger of the Mind," with her memories repressed and her name now Lethe.
However, in the fall finale episode "Into the Forest I Go", Cornwell was rescued by Ash Tyler and Micahel Burnham, but, while she seemed physically hurt, her mind was intact.
That said, Lorca is still around, and he likely remembers Cornwell wants to remove him from command. Who knows what lengths he could go to to ensure Cornwell is in no state to strip him of his duties.
Captain Gabriel Lorca is such an unconventional Starfleet captain compared to the ones featured in past Star Trek series that some fans think he may be from another dimension.
The sentiment goes beyond Lorca's unorthodox and aggressive style of command, although Lorca being from the Mirror Universe would explain the aggression.
Lorca seems to play pretty loose and fast with command structure, promoting new crew members to be a bridge or senior officer. He's also fixated on Michael Burnham for reasons not revealed yet and curiously invested in Lt. Stamets' work with the spore drive for a captain who is a warrior at heart.
From what Lorca has revealed of his past, we know that his previous ship was destroyed by his own hand in battle with the Klingons, or at least that's how he tells it. Admiral Cornwell has known Lorca since long before that battle, and now feels he's practically a different person.
What if that sentiment ends up being literal? Perhaps something went awry in that battle that brought the mirror universe Lorca over to the prime timeline.
Arguably the most popular fan theory surrounding Star Trek: Discovery is that Ash Tyler is actually the Klingon Voq after being surgically altered to appear as a human.
This idea stems from the classic Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Trouble with Tribbles," in which a Klingon was modified to appear human in order to sabotage a Starfleet mission.
The theory presumes the when
A new wrinkle revealed in the fall finale is that, if this theory is true, Tyler does not remember he was Voq. The episode showed flashes of what looked like torture at the hands of Klingons and a forced sexual encounter with L'Rell, but these may end up being false memories covering up the surgery performed by House Mokai and his past relationship with L'Rell.
This theory may have more to do with how fans have received the new Star Trek series than anything that has actually occurred in it, but it's a theory that refuses to die.
The theory goes that all of the inconsistencies in the visual appearance of Star Trek: Discovery and all of the questionable continuity can be explained away by simply stating that the series takes place in a different timeline from past Star Trek series, and that this will ultimately be revealed to be the case in order to give the writers of the show a kind of "get out of continuity free" card.
Another version of this theory is that Star Trek: Discovery does begin in the prime timeline, but that it will end in another timeline. The USS Discovery will be a ship lost in time and history, and that's why it's never referenced again in future shows. This theory is slightly more plausible if only because the spore drive opens up so many possibilities.
That said, the producers of Star Trek: Discovery have refuted this claim at every turn. From even before the series premiered, they've said that it definitely takes place in the prime timeline. The series' tie-in novels have further interwoven the show's character's into the history of Star Trek, and one of the showrunners has stated that the series will begin to reconcile with established canon as it moves into its second season.