The latest episode of Star Trek: Discovery featured a major revelation which has officially made the Kelvin timeline movies canon. Starting with 2009’s Star Trek, director J.J. Abrams and his team begun a brand new continuity for the franchise which was separate from the one established with The Original Series. CBS All Access’ contemporary Trek shows have reverted to the prime timeline, but Discovery has now made an effort to bridge the two universes.
Episode 3×09, “Terra Firma, Part 1,” revealed that the Federation is aware of the existence of the Kelvin timeline. As the mysterious Kovich, who may be a Section 31 agent, explains to Dr. Hugh Culber, there was a 24th century Starfleet officer named Lt. Commander Yor who was a time soldier and a veteran of the Temporal Wars. Not only was he the first person to travel forwards in time, but he was also the first to cross over to a parallel universe. Specifically, he traveled to an alternate reality created by “the temporal incursion of a Romulan mining ship.”
This is clearly a reference to Nero, the Romulan villain of the 2009 movie, who instigated the alternate timeline when he traveled back a hundred years and destroyed the U.S.S. Kelvin, killing George Kirk, father of James T. Kirk. Yor, who came from 2379, is depicted as wearing a Next Generation uniform as well, which tells us that a version of the TNG era must’ve taken place in the Kelvin timeline after Chris Pine’s Kirk and co. retired from the Enterprise.
This could just be a neat tie-in to appeal to the fans, but it may also have major repercussions for the future of Trek. Now that both timelines are aware of the other’s existence, this establishes that they can crossover at some point. After all, Kovich does imply that Starfleet has a way to travel between universes (though this was banned due to the Temporal Wars). Could EP Alex Kurtzman – who co-scripted Abrams’ movies – have something up his sleeve?
Time will tell, but for now, Star Trek: Discovery season 3 continues next Thursday on CBS All Access.