The Star Trek: Discovery season finale brought the war between the Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire to a close, but it also includes a surprising reference to another major empire in the Star Trek universe.
In the final episode, “Will You Take My Hand?”, Discovery beams an away team down to an Orion outpost on the Klingon homeworld of Qo’noS. The outpost is exactly what classic Star Trek fans would expect from the Orions, given that so many of them are space pirates.
One fan noticed something else in the background. One of the tents in the outpost bears a marking that looks very close to the emblem of the Romulan Star Empire. Take a look below.
At this point in Star Trek history, Earth would have already fought a war with the Romulan Star Empire. The war fought during the decades between Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: Discovery, though the Romulans began covert hostilities during the Enterprise era. The war would result in the creation of the neutral zone between Federation and Romulan space. The war was fought before visual ship-to-ship communications technology was standard. Because of this, the Federation will not learn the face of its enemies until the classic Star Trek: The Original Series episode “Balance of Terror”.
While the Federation may not be particularly familiar with the Romulan Star Empire at this point in time, it is likely that the Klingon Empire, being much older, has encountered the Romulans. However, later Star Trek canon shows that the Klingons mostly consider the Romulans to be dishonorable and untrustworthy, so their relationship probably isn’t a friendly one.
It still makes sense that the Romulans could be present in the Orion outpost. After all, Klingons are in the midst of open warfare with the Federation and an entire party of humans are able to mingle in the outpost without a problem. The Romulans are probably there trading weapons and technology with the Orions, and possibly even some Klingons.
Whether this nod is just an Easter egg or a clue about where Star Trek: Discovery is headed remains to be seen.
Star Trek: Discovery Season Two begins filming in Toronto in April.