Star Trek: Discovery just connected with Star Trek: Picard in a major way. The longest-running of the current glut of Trek series returned for its fourth season last week, and it’s wasted no time in weaving in easter eggs and references to the wider universe. The season premiere namedropped Enterprise‘s Jonathan Archer and episode 2 mentions another of Starfleet’s finest, Sir Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard himself.
It’s not just a random namedrop either as Picard is mentioned as part of a major link between the storylines of Discovery season 4 and Picard season 1. In episode 4×02 “Anomaly”, Dr. Culber (Wilson Cruz) attempts to develop a new body for the spirit of Gray (Ian Alexander) to occupy. In doing so, he utilizes some “ancient technology” from 800 years in the past — the same tech, pioneered by Dr. Altan Inigo Soong (Brent Spiner) that allowed Picard to have his mind moved into an android body in the Picard season 1 finale.
Upon learning of this tech, Adira (Blu del Barrio) asks why don’t they use it to make themselves “live forever”. Culber explains the reason, also revealing why the tech has fallen into disuse in the centuries since Jean-Luc’s time.
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“The process was attempted a number of times after Dr. Soong first used it on a Starfleet Admiral. Picard was his name?” Culber states. “But the success rate was so low, people just stopped trying.”
In the end, the process works for Gray as well, with Culber explaining that Gray having already shifted their consciousness into Adira’s body gave the process a much higher chance of succeeding. What fans are now left to ponder, however, is why Picard was able to successfully complete the transfer when he has no such history with body-hopping. It’s possible some further exploration of this tech on either series could provide us with an explanation.
Star Trek: Discovery continues Thursdays on Paramount Plus.