A few weeks ago Bryan Fuller unveiled some details about the new Star Trek show. Set 10 years before the events of the original Star Trek series, Fuller revealed that Discovery will tell the story of an event in Star Trek lore that has been discussed but never shown on screen.
Let’s try to figure out what it is!
The original series occurs during the period of 2265-2269. Since the original pilot episode The Cage occurs in 2254, I decided to extend the possible time period from 2244-2259. Diving into the shockingly detailed Star Trek Wiki (Memory Alpha), I have created a list of possible events that we can see.
2247- Eminiar-Vendikar War
Showcase in the TOS episode “A Taste of Armageddon”, the Eminiar-Vendikar War was a destructive conflict fought between two sister planets in the same solar system. The war was a weird one, fought virtually between two computers on Eminiar and Vendikar. In the virtual battles, the computers would designate citizens on their planets as “kills”. When a person “died” in the virtual battle, they had 24 hours to report to a disintegration station that would painlessly kill them. The inhabitants of the two planets viewed this as a social contract to avoid a real war being fought. 2247 was the year the Federation became aware of the war.
It’s pretty unlikely that this will be the central event of Discovery. The Federation did not have much to do with the war until Kirk and the Enterprise attempted to create a treaty in the sector. “A Taste of Armageddon” gave us all the information we needed about the planet, so I can’t see more stories revolving around it. There might be references now and again though.
2254- The events of The Cage
In 1966 Gene Roddenberry filmed the original pilot episode of Star Trek. Entitled “The Cage”, the episode had a different cast than the original show, with the exception of Leonard Nimoy as Spock. NBC rejected the pilot episode and Roddenberry started again. However, “The Cage” is still a part of Trek canon due to the TOS two-part episode “The Menagerie”. “The Cage” follows Captain Pike in his adventures on Talos IV, a planet inhabited by super-intelligent beings with mind-control powers.
We probably are not going to see too much of this. Fuller said that the event that kicks off the series is something that we have not seen before, and we have already seen the events of “The Cage”. However, I am expecting a Captain Pike cameo.
2257- The encounter of the USS Farragut
The Farragut was Captain Kirk’s first deep-space assignment. Serving as the navigator on the Farragut, Kirk was responsible for firing the phasers. When the ship came in contact with dikironium cloud creature the ensuing battle killed two hundred of the Farragut crew members, including the captain. Kirk blamed himself for the deaths since during the battle he hesitated to fire the Farragut phaser arrays.
We could get the story of the Farragut from a different viewpoint. For example, in DS9 the first episode started with Benjamin Sisko losing his ship during the Battle of Wolf 359 and later getting command of Deep Space Nine. A similar thing could happen here: a crew member on the Farragut survives the attack and gets the Discovery. But that is not really enough of an impetus to base a whole series around, so this is probably unlikely.
2246- The massacre of Tarsus IV
Tarsus IV was an Earth colony whose food supply was destroyed by an exotic fungus. Kodos, the governor of the colony decided to kill off half the population so that the other half would survive. Deciding who would die based on his own eugenics theories, Kodos killed four thousands people before Earth supply ships arrived. Among the survivors of the massacre was Captain Kirk.
This is a possibility for the event that starts Discovery. We never actually see the massacre on screen, it is only discussed in an episode of TOS. Fuller could have the main character of Discovery live on Tarsus IV and survive the massacre before joining Starfleet. Fuller likes characters who are emotionally and psychologically disturbed. Watching four thousand people die would certainly do that to a person.
2245 – Battle of Donatu V
During the period of the original Star Trek series the Klingon-Federation Cold War always sat in the background, getting hot during a few episodes of Star Trek. The Cold War lasted for 70 years. One of the biggest brush battles during the war was the battle of Donatu V. The battle proved inconclusive and set up a military escalation between the two powers over the disputed area. Tensions became so bad over Donatu V that the Klingons sent an ultimatum to the Federation to withdraw from the area. Unwilling to bow to the Klingon ultimatum, the Federation set up a blockade around Klingon territory. In response, the Klingons invaded Federation territories on their border, leading to the Klingon-Federation War of 2267, which involved the original Enterprise.
This is most likely the event that Bryan Fuller was referring to. The battle of Donatu V was an incredibly important event that influenced galactic politics up through the Deep Space 9 era, but has never been seen on screen. A story revolving around the battle would allow Fuller to show battles, dive into galactic politics and showcase the Klingons. Interestingly, in the trailer Fuller showed at Comicon sharp-eared fans heard the sound-effect used for the Klingon cloaking device.