Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Brings Back a Classic Character No One Expected

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds has already brought back some familiar faces from Star Trek history. In addition to starring Capt. Pike, Science Officer Spock, and Number One, as seen in the second season of Star Trek: Discovery. The spinoff series also counts Dr. M'Benga and Nurse Christine Chapel among its core cast and even has a Kirk in its crew (and another set to appear in season two). However, the show's seventh episode features the most unexpected Star Trek character return yet. It could be setting up big things for Strange New Worlds' future. SPOILERS follow for today's new Star Trek: Strange New Worlds episode, "The Serene Squall."

"The Serene Squall" see the USS Enterprise on the edges of Federation space, helping a former Starfleet counselor deal with pirate troubles. At least, that's what they think they're doing. It turns out that the would-be therapist is Captain Angel, the leader of the pirates. She's brought the Enterprise out to the fringes of space for a specific reason: Spock. She plans to leverage Spock as a hostage to convince his fiancée, T'Pring, to release a Vulcan prisoner, one who knows Spock personally. Though this prisoner goes by what Spock assumes to be an alias, he can discern that it is his half-brother, Sybok.

Longtime Star Trek fans will remember Sybok as the antagonist of the movie Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Up until then, even Capt. Kirk didn't know Spock had a brother (he doesn't seem to talk much about his siblings). Star Trek V revealed that Sybok is the son of Sarek and a Vulcan Princess, with "The Serene Squall" confirming the birth took place out of wedlock.

As a child, Sybok appeared to be a brilliant Vulcan thinker. However, as he grew up, Sybok rejected Vulcan philosophy, becoming a V'tosh ka'tur, "Vulcan without logic." His revolutionary acts are likely what led to his imprisonment.

We know that by the time Star Trek V takes place, almost 30 years after this episode of Strange New Worlds, Sybok is free. By then, he leads the terrorist group called the Galactic Army of Light, recruited via Sybok's ability to heal trauma with his telepathic talents. One wonders if the pirate collective seen in this episode could be the earliest form of the Galactic Army of Light, especially given Angel's nearly fanatical devotion to Sybok. The pirates use similar tactics to those used by Sybok and the Galactic Army in Star Trek V, taking hostages and hijacking the Enterprise.

Whether this is an Easter egg or setting up a bigger Sybok story remains to be seen. Sybok is certainly a character, given his sudden appearance in Star Trek V, that could stand to benefit from some retroactive backstory. Whether or not Sybok returns, Angel's escape seems to set her up as a recurring Strange New Worlds villain.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier are streaming now on Paramount+.