Star Trek: Discovery Addresses Temporal Cold War Continuity

Star Trek: Discovery returns to CBS All Access today for its third season. The show sees a significant shift in setting this season after Michael Burnham, the Discovery, and its crew jumped 930 years into the Star Trek universe's future. Some fans were concerned about how this jump into the future would interact with or contradict the Temporal Cold War, as laid out in Star Trek: Enterprise. Star Trek: Discovery provides an answer to those questions in the first episode of season three, "That Hope Is You, Part 1." SPOILERS for the episode follow.

If you haven't watched Star Trek: Enterprise, you may be unfamiliar with the Temporal Cold War. It established that, in the Star Trek universe, time travel technology would eventually become obtainable to spacefaring civilization. In the 28th century, influential factions in the galaxy sign temporal accords to restrict time travel to scientific research.

Not everyone follows the accords. By the 31st century, a temporal cold war is in effect involving the Federation, with parties traveling back in time to alter the future. Capt. Jonathan Archer of the USS Enterprise NX-01 meets a temporal agent named Daniels from the 31st century tasked with upholding the accords. Together, over several episodes of the series, they end the Temporal Cold War and restore the timeline to its proper state.

Until this episode of Star Trek: Discovery, the 31st century is the furthest into Star Trek's future that fans have ever seen. Discovery is in the 32nd century. Why can't it obtain time travel technology and return to the era it left behind?

Cleveland "Book" Booker has the answer. The courier from the 32nd century tells Michael Burnham that time travel technology was outlawed after the temporal wars to avoid another similar incident.


Now Discovery and Star Trek fans are in truly uncharted territory. Besides the loss of time travel technology, the Burn has restricted most space travel to sub-light speeds as dilithium is now incredibly and increasingly rare. Finding whatever remains of the United Federation of Planets will be no small task for Burnham and the rest of the Discovery crew.

What do you think of this reference to the Temporal Cold War from Star Trek: Enterprise? Do you think time travel technology is gone in the Star Trek universe? Let us know what you think in the comments section. New Star Trek: Discovery episodes stream Thursdays on CBS All Access.