‘Star Trek: Discovery’ name-drops an iconic Starfleet captain in its season four premiere

Star Trek: Discovery

Star Trek: Discovery just returned for its fourth season and, in true Trek style, as much as it pressed ahead into the future by launching a new storyline it also tipped its hat to the past, too. The season 4 premiere, titled “Kobayashi Maru” (which is itself a classic reference), featured a fan-pleasing nod to another Trek series. Specifically, one that celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2021. Yup, viewers of the episode were treated to an unexpected nod to Enterprise‘s Captain Jonathan Archer. 

Following season three ending with Starfleet reborn thanks to the actions of Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and her crew, the U.S.S. Discovery team have become icons as they blaze the trail to reconnecting the Federation’s planets by sharing dilithium and giving the galaxy the gift of warp-drive travel. This leads Burnham to be invited to speak in front of a new generation of cadets at Starfleet HQ in the premiere. At the event, Federation President Laira Rillick introduces the freshly constructed Archer Spacedock. 

Archer was, of course, the pioneering captain of the original starship Enterprise who went where no one had gone before on behalf of United Earth, with his efforts to forge alliances and friendships with other races leading to the foundation of the Federation. So Starfleet naming their new space dock after him, which we’re told will be where it upgrades its fleet of ships for this new era of, uh, discovery, is very fitting. 

While characters from the likes of Next Generation and Voyager have returned in contemporary Trek shows, and Lower Decks has referenced Deep Space Nine a couple of times, Enterprise fans have been mostly shortchanged over the last few years. This Archer reference is for them, then. And while we’ve yet to get Scott Bakula back as the character, it was a nice touch for Dennis McCarthy’s “Archer’s Theme” from Enterprise to be played over the name-dropping in this episode. 

Star Trek: Discovery debuts new episodes on Thursdays only on Paramount Plus.