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Star Trek Easter Eggs You May Have Missed In Star Trek: Prodigy

"Star Trek: Prodigy" signals a new era for the iconic science fiction franchise as it boldly goes where it's (almost) never gone before: targeting kids, with a fun, fast-paced animated adventure. Save for two seasons of the painfully dull "Star Trek: The Animated Series" in the mid-1970s, it's the first time a "Trek" show has been aimed squarely at children, and this time it seems they've found the right mix of humor, strong storytelling, and importantly, high quality animation (something "TAS" lacked in spades). Focused on a group of rag-tag alien misfits on the edges of the far-flung Delta Quadrant who discover a crashed — and abandoned — Federation starship with mysterious origins, they escape their prison colony and set out on bold new adventures, all while being hunted by the sinister overlord called The Diviner.

Aided by a holographic program in the form of ex-"Star Trek: Voyager" star Captain Janeway (voiced by original actress Kate Mulgrew) in her long-awaited return to the series, the group finds the adventure they're looking for. But despite taking place far away from Federation territory, and holo-Janeway seemingly the only character with a connection to "Star Trek," the series is brimming with Easter eggs and references to past episodes and movies. Some are front and center and can't be missed, while some you may not have noticed. Here's a list of our favorites from the first season.

The Kazon return

In one of the premiere episode's darker moments — for a kids' show at least — we meet Drednok, one of the lead villains, and Gwyn, the daughter of the series' big bad The Diviner. They are meeting with a slave trader and freighter captain revealed to be the man who provides labor to the colony. Unfortunately, the captain has run out of escaped convicts and criminals, and is now selling orphaned children to The Diviner. But it's the captain himself that nets us our first Easter egg, as he's a Kazon, the race of gangster aliens that tormented the crew of the U.S.S. Voyager in the Delta Quadrant for its first three seasons.

Despite their many appearances on "Voyager" — a total of 15 across its first three years, as they acted as the primary antagonists on the series early on — this is also the first time we hear the Kazon language, as the captain speaks in his native tongue, with no universal translator present. It's also worth noting that the little orphaned child the Kazon provides for labor is a member of the species called the Caitian, the same feline race as Doctor T'Ana from "Star Trek: Lower Decks."

Zero's containment box

In the series premiere, "Lost and Found," the mysterious robot known only as "Fugitive Zero" tells her backstory to Rok-Tahk and Dal. In a brief flashback, Zero tells them how she was first brought to the slave world of Tars Lamor, and forced to do "terrible things" — in this case, torture prisoners and malcontents. Zero is a Medusan, a race of beings Trekkies haven't seen since the "Original Series" episode "Is There In Truth No Beauty?" Medusans are non-corporeal and exist as pure energy, with no physical form, and cannot be viewed by humanoid eyes lest the sight drive them mad. In the classic "TOS" episode, the Medusan Ambassador arrives aboard the Enterprise in a unique containment unit in the form of an angled box.

In Zero's flashback, when The Diviner and his Watcher droids use Zero to punish an upstart slave on Tars Lamor, Zero hasn't yet built his more sophisticated robotic body. In a clever callback, he's housed in a containment box that is a near perfect match for the one seen in the original "Star Trek" episode. In a double Easter egg, the alien that Zero is forced to torture is a Lurian, the same race as recurring character Morn on "Deep Space Nine."

The Window of Dreams

After both Gwyn and Dal are captured by the villanous Drednok, Gwyn is throw in detention and Dal is sent back to perform labor in the mines. While lamenting their situation, Gwyn asks Dal to retell her the story of a unique star cluster he'd once seen called The Window Of Dreams. He does so, and describes a site so incredible he failed to find the words for it, asking, "How do you describe the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?" This one is a pretty deep cut, going all the way back to an off-hand remark made by an alien starship captain in the "Star Trek: Voyager" episode "Body And Soul."

In that episode, the alien captain Ranek is courting Seven of Nine (who happens to be taken over by the Doctor's programming and personality, but that's a story for another time) and he briefly looks out the starship's viewport and points out the same star cluster to her. While flirting with Seven, he says of the cluster, "You could travel from one end of the quadrant to the other and not see anything like it," calling it "the most beautiful sight in the sector."

'Qu'vatlh!'

In the second "Prodigy" episode, titled "Starstruck," Gwyn is looking to escape the U.S.S. Protostar and calls up a schematic of the ship. Discovering a section of escape pods, she rushes off to locate them in the hopes of leaving the ship unnoticed. But when she gets to the escape pod bay, it happens to be in the same moment when "Captain" Dal is ordering the ship to dump non-essential materials, and the escape pods are quickly jettisoned as a result. Frustrated by her inability to access the pods, Gwyn exclaims, "Qu'vatlh!" as she pounds on the glass pane of the escape pod entrance.

Fans of "Star Trek" will recognize the Klingon curse "qu'vatlh" as the expletive spoken by General Martok on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," most notably in the episode "Sons and Daughters." In that episode, Worf's son Alexander comes aboard the IKS Rottaran and, despite having little training, attempts to become a Klingon warrior. When pressed about his motives, the young warrior is obstinate, and Martok likens his brusque nature to that of Alexander's father, noting that both he and Worf are "stubborn, tiresome qu'vatlh." How Gwyn knows Klingon curses despite being in the Delta Quadrant is not yet revealed.

The vehicle replicator

When Gwyn finds herself unable to access an escape pod in her attempt to leave the U.S.S. Protostar, the computer asks if she'd like to use the services of the "vehicle replicator." Up to this point in "Star Trek" lore, no such device has ever been referenced, and its inclusion here seems to be a response to common fan criticism of Janeway's U.S.S. Voyager, which inexplicably seemed to have an endless supply of shuttlecraft. Fans have long argued over the apparent inconsistency, such as in this Reddit post, which argues that the ship was constantly losing her shuttlecraft, either having them repeatedly destroyed, abandoned, or broken down for parts... and yet she always had more. 

Though we've heard of "industrial replicators" that could produce large equipment, this new vehicle replicator (which acts more like a futuristic 3D printer than a simple matter materializer) could retroactively explain how Voyager was able to have a steady stream of long range shuttles. Either that, or it was the writer's way of taking a friendly jab at long-running fan theories and inconsistencies. Whatever the case, we no longer have to worry about Federation starships ever running low on shuttles.

The Argo's better-looking stepbrother

The two-part story in the episodes "Dreamcatcher" and "Terror Firma" begins with a few fun Easter eggs. In the first half, holo-Janeway urges the crew to explore a newly discovered M-Class world, following Starfleet's mission to seek out new life and new civilizations. The crew excitedly go along, happy to get off the ship and hoping for a respite from their travels.

While exploring the new uncharted planet, Jankom discovers a derelict Klingon Bird of Prey, the same kind seen frequently throughout the classic "Star Trek" films and "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Meanwhile Dal takes a joyride in a Starfleet dune buggy of sorts taken from the Protostar. We've only seen such a Starfleet vehicle once before, in the much-maligned "Star Trek: Nemesis," with the Argo piloted by Captain Picard. It seems the Enterprise-E may not be the only Starfleet ship equipped with one. Then again, with a vehicle replicator, Dal may have just created one to go exploring.

Exocomps return

"Terror Firma" picks up right where "Dreamcatcher" left off, with the ragtag crew trapped on a violent alien world using their own dreams and nightmares against them. Stuck alone aboard the Protostar, the holographic program of Captain Janeway does what she can to help, but first she's got to get the ship back in working condition. Entangled in nasty vines, she orders "photonic scrubbers" to clean up the ship. At her command, a series of pod-like droids scurry out of the ship and begin using energy beams to clean off the vines. You might think this sequence has a bit more of a "Star Wars" look to it, but the droids themselves have some precedent, as they appear to be modified versions of the exocomps seen in the "Next Generation" episode "The Quality of Life."

In that original episode, an alien scientist has created the exocomps to be advanced, artificially intelligent drones that can perform dangerous work that might endanger humanoid workers. Data of course discovers that the exocomps might be sentient, and sets about to prove it, in the hopes of ending their forced servitude. If these are indeed exocomps in "Terror Firma," the noticeable differences could suggest they've been stripped of their sentience, allowing them to be the original AI tools they were invented to be.

Playing the game

"Kobayashi" is absolutely jam-packed with great references for Trekkies, culminating with an appearance by Voyager's first officer, Chakotay (voiced by original actor Robert Beltran). As the episode opens, the ship is cruising through space while the crew is still trying to figure out exactly how its newly discovered "Protostar Drive" works. Even holo-Janeway seems mystified, but when we cut to Dal in his ready room, he's engaged in a harmless bit of recreation. From a POV perspective, we see Dal is playing a game first seen in the "TNG" episode appropriately titled "The Game." It's a device that fits around the temples and projects a virtual disc-throwing game into the wearer's eyes. In the original 1990 episode, it was used by a villainous criminal Ktarian to brainwash the crew of the Enterprise in the hopes of conquering the Federation.

Here, it seems to have no such ill effects as Dal casually tosses it off his head when interrupted by Zero, Jankom, and Rok-Tahk. Why the U.S.S. Protostar would have a version of this device — even a non-brainwashing version — is a mystery, but perhaps the game itself was used in a more innocent way before the Ktarians deployed it to attempt their hostile takeover of the Federation.

Holodeck programs on the Protostar

When Dal and Jankom Pog discover the Protostar's holodecks, holo-Janeway runs them through some of the possible programs the room can create for them. Several of the holodeck programs mentioned by holo-Janeway have been seen before, and are clear references to previous "Star Trek" episodes and movies from its long history. The program focused on skydiving on Ceti-Alpha V is a clear nod to the planet that Khan was exiled to in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" — and possibly a reference to the "Star Trek: Voyager" episode "Extreme Risk," which involved B'Elanna going orbital skydiving. 

After Jankom and Dal fall through the clouds, she conjures a kal-if-fee match on Vulcan — the gladiatorial combat between Spock and Kirk in the classic "TOS" episode "Amok Time" — complete with the original series' iconic fight music. She suggests a Jane Eyre holo-novel, similar to the program the real Janeway enjoyed on "Voyager," and notes it as a personal favorite. Before Dal settles on trying out the Kobayashi Maru scenario, he scrolls through a menu that also mentions an adventure in Deadwood (a reference to the "TNG" episode "A Fistful of Datas") and Paxau Resort (one of Neelix's favorites).

Kobayashi clips

The episode "Kobayashi Maru" had the Protostar's misfit crew undergoing a famed training exercise, and the holodeck puts them on the bridge of the Enterprise-D, which we get a look at for the first time since the finale of "Star Trek: Enterprise." Dal populates the scenario with characters from throughout Trek's past: Spock, Uhura, Dr. Crusher, Odo, and Scotty. While Crusher's dialog is newly recorded by Gates McFadden, the others all speak through archival audio from old "Star Trek" episodes, allowing three deceased actors — Leonard Nimoy, Rene Auberjonois, and James Doohan — to return to life.

Trekkie YouTube channel "Ryan Edits" compiled every source for the archived audio, revealing Spock's lines were taken from the episodes "Balance of Terror," "The Immunity Syndrome," "The Enterprise Incident," "The Ultimate Computer," "Journey To Babel," "The Doomsday Machine," and "The Changeling." His final speech includes clips from the episodes "Obsession" and "The Enemy Within," the film "The Wrath of Khan," the "TNG" episode "Unification," and his appearance in J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" film.

Uhura, meanwhile, was given dialogue from "The Wrath of Khan" and the episodes "The Gamesters of Triskelion," "The Enterprise Incident," "Balance Of Terror," "The Mark of Gideon," "Space Seed," and "The Trouble with Tribbles." Odo's audio was lifted from the "DS9" finale, along with the episodes "Fascination," "Shadowplay," "Heart of Stone" "The Way of the Warrior," "A Call to Arms," and "Things Past." Oddly, most of Scotty's dialogue was from "The Next Generation" episode "Relics," with one short clip from the "TOS" episode "The Doomsday Machine." Lastly, even the Kobayashi's distress signal was directly pulled from "The Wrath of Khan."

The Phage

After a hilarious opening gag where the young crew discovers, and experiments with, the ship's transporters — having never seen any device like it before — they answer a distress call from a mysterious woman who needs their help. Her face hidden under a cloak, she holds what appears to be an alien baby in her arms as she cries out for help, insisting she needs immediate transport because she has sick orphans that need assistance. But Dal isn't fooled by the obvious ruse and seems to know what's going on. Approaching the viewscreen, Dal asks, "Let me guess, your sick orphans have a bad case of the Phage?"

As it turns out, this is no woman in distress, but Dal's old mentor, Nandi, who also happens to be a Ferengi. "The Phage" may jog the memory of longtime "Trek" fans, particularly those who've watched "Star Trek: Voyager." In the early years of the series, one of their primary foes was a race called the Vidiians, who would steal organs from healthy living humanoids to help them battle a life-threatening disease called the Phage that destroyed their bodies. Though it was cured by a group called "The Think Tank," it's clearly now used by con artists to lure in their marks.

The Rules of Acquisition

Once it's revealed that the mysterious "damsel in distress" is actually Dal's old mentor Nandi, the crew of the Protostar goes to meet her, with Dal excited for a family reunion. We see the classic Ferengi starship first introduced in the "Next Generation" episode "The Last Outpost" and not seen since the "Star Trek: Voyager" 7th season episode "Inside Man." In Nandi's cargo bay, the crew finds a Klingon cloaking device which becomes a focus of the episode, as Dal and crew want to trade for it to help them stay off The Diviner's radar. But we've seen this device before, in the "Deep Space Nine" episode "The Emperor's New Cloak," which ironically was a Ferengi-focused episode.

The best Easter eggs come when Nandi and Dal begin to quote from the Rules of Acquisition, the Ferengi precepts that govern their society and are often quoted in "Star Trek" spinoffs. Dal seems intimately familiar with them, so clearly his upbringing with Nandi had him memorize them, as he mentions Rule of Acquisition #208 ("Sometimes the only thing more dangerous than a question is an answer," first mentioned in the "DS9" episode "Ferengi Love Songs"). Nandi later quotes Rule #21 ("Never place a friendship above profit," from the "DS9" episode "Rules of Acquisition") and of course, Rule #1: "Once you have their money, you never give it back."

Hor'gahn

After Nandi's plan to fleece an alien race of precious crystals is foiled by a clever Dal, she returns to her ship understandably angry. Sitting in her ship's cargo bay, Nandi shows her annoyance by tossing an item across the room in a fit of rage. Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed something familiar about the unfortunate relic that Nandi uses to take out her frustration, as it flies across the cargo bay, bangs into a shipping container, and falls to the floor. A quick pause will reveal the item is none other than a hor'gahn, a fertility idol from the pleasure planet Risa, possession of which indicates that one is seeking "jamaharon." 

Though we're never told quite what jamaharon is, it's implied that it's an adult activity decidedly not for children, making the inclusion of the hor'gahn a bit suspect in a kids' cartoon. Nevertheless, the idol — first seen in the "TNG" episode "Captain's Holiday," which is by no coincidence a Ferengi-centric episode — is clearly visible to fans in the know. Diehards may also have recognized some other bits from "Star Trek" lore in this episode, including Nandi's love of the tube grubs, her Klingon disrupter pistol, and her mention of losing her money on the popular casino game called Dabo.

A classic Trek temporal anomaly

There's been much debate over the last decade as to whether more recent "Star Trek" shows and movies are "real" "Star Trek," with many fans feeling they depart from past formulas. But somehow, "Star Trek: Prodigy" has proven itself as true to the ideals and tropes of classic "Trek" as any, and there has been little debate as to its "Trekness." It proves it once again in "Time Amok," an episode whose title pays homage to the "Original Series" episode "Amok Time" and draws concepts from a number of past franchise tales. It's also the first episode of "Prodigy" to give an official stardate.

When the episode begins, the Protostar comes into contact with a space anomaly that fractures the ship in time. As result, each member of the crew is trapped in a different part of the ship existing in a different temporal phase. Holo-Janeway finds a way to help them communicate back and forth, but when the anomaly causes the ship's engine to overload and destroy the ship in one of the time phases, they must find a way to work together to go back and stop it from happening. The concept of the ship being repeatedly destroyed due to a time travel mixup, and the crew trying to stop it from happening again and again, was seen in the memorable "Next Generation" episode "Cause & Effect." Meanwhile, fans of "Star Trek: Voyager" will note the ship fractured in time being awfully similar to the episode "Shattered."

Rok-Tahk's hard time

To solve the temporal problem in "Time Amok," each member of the Protostar's upstart crew must help build a new warp matrix. Holo-Janeway helps, but it's up to the kids to actually build it and install it. Unfortunately, none have the expertise or know-how to do it on their own, but together — working across time — they may have a chance. It's a great lesson in teamwork, but in the final moments, the last member of the crew, Rok-Tahk, can't do it.

Thankfully, Rok-Tahk exists in the slowest time period, and spends years there learning how to accomplish the task. She claims to have spent the time learning quantum science and computer engineering, and teaches herself the skills she needs to do the job. Janeway and Gwyn privately discuss the great amount of time that Rok-Tahk spent alone, clearly concerned for her well-being. Whether this is an Easter egg or a reference, it clearly recalls the "Deep Space Nine" episode "Hard Time" in which Chief O'Brien spends decades in isolation in a virtual prison, and emerges a traumatized man. It remains to be seen if Rok-Tahk will suffer any long-term effects — though given that it's a kids cartoon, it's unlikely– but it's a new and clever use of the same idea.

Anomaly effect

Halfway through the episode "Time Amok," the crew is still struggling with the effects of the spatial anomaly. Holo-Janeway is having trouble convincing the crew of what's happening to them and how they'll have to work together through different time phases to solve the problem. Zero is having the easiest time understanding the problem and helping Holo-Janeway to fix it, but when the rushed time phase collapses, she's once again thrust into a different part of the ship. To serious Trekkies, the effect used to show the move to a new time phase should look awfully familiar.

At the moment when Holo-Janeway is pushed out of phase, we are treated to an abstract visual montage of all of the main characters floating in space, frozen in time, as the "camera" moves past each of them in an arch. This is similar — and a clear reference — to the time travel effect used in "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" when Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the Enterprise crew slingshot around the sun to travel back in time to the present day of 1986. There, the computer-generated recreations of the crew floated past the camera in an eerie effect that was a cutting edge use of CGI in its day and one of the earliest examples of 3D morphing in a major motion picture.

Corrupted Janeway

In the first part of "A Moral Star," The Diviner tells the crew that if they return to Tars Lamora and give him the Protostar, he'll free the laborers he has enslaved in his mining colony. Conflicted over whether they should help the enslaved people while empowering their enemy, they ultimately decide to engage in a risky plan that will both save the miners and keep the ship. Holo-Janeway says that taking on an impossible mission to save others and bring hope to a hopeless cause is the most Starfleet thing they could ever do. Little do we know it's the last time we'll see our normal Holo-Janeway in the episode.

When they arrive at The Diviner's world, the villain changes the terms of their deal and takes Gwyn aboard the Protostar. Once there, he reprograms Holo-Janeway into an "evil" version of her former self (noted in the credits as "Corrupted Janeway"). Her new all-black uniform and cold personality feel like a reference to the "Star Trek: Voyager" episode "Living Witness," where a future society envisions Voyager as a sinister warship and Janeway as a calculating, black-clad captain. Reprogramming the holo-assistant to turn them evil has been done before, too, in the "Voyager" episode "Equinox," when the Doctor has his ethical subroutines gutted to turn him into a vicious surgeon. Whether these are intentional references or mere coincidence, it's nice to see "Prodigy" playing with classic "Star Trek" tropes like evil alternate versions of its main cast.

'Go fast!'

With their plan in place, the young crew of the U.S.S. Protostar prepares to jump to the Diviner's colony world, Tars Lamora. They enter the bridge in snazzy new Starfleet uniforms — which Holo-Janeway wholeheartedly endorses, even reprogramming her visual matrix to match — and set a course. When the ship reaches Warp 9.7, Captain Dal tells his crew to ready the ship's advanced proto-drive, and as they respond with all hands ready, he gives the order: "Go fast!" 

The ship accelerates to speeds that Captain Janeway's U.S.S. Voyager can only dream of, and fans will surely recognize Dal's order as his new command catchphrase. The tradition was popularized in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" when Captain Picard made the phrase "Make it so" a pop-culture catchphrase, and it continued in the J.J. Abrams movies with Captain Pike's "Punch it." Elsewhere, the same character on "Star Trek: Discovery" used a slightly altered "Hit it!" The young Dal seems to have finally accepted his role as captain in "A Moral Star, Part 1" as he confidently takes the center chair for the first time. The introduction of his own catchphrase command order is a nice touch to cement him as the true leader he is destined to be on the series.

First contact gone wrong

In "A Moral Star, Part 2" the Diviner finally reveals the secrets he's been keeping all season: his past with Gwyn, his vengeful hatred for the Federation, and his reason for wanting the Protostar so badly. When the episode opens, he's now in command of the U.S.S. Protostar. However, Gwyn's failsafe meant that Holo-Janeway wasn't corrupted after all and easily overpowers The Diviner. He then pleads with his progeny to let him complete their mission to save their homeworld.

The Diviner claims that he's actually from a future where their homeworld has been ravaged by a war sparked by first contact with Starfleet and has come back in time to stop it. After first contact, their people fight over whether to join the Federation or remain isolationists, and it sparks a devastating civil war that destroys their world. 

The possibility of a newly discovered world being brought to the brink of war over first contact has been mentioned before, specifically in the appropriately titled "The Next Generation" episode, "First Contact." In that episode, the Enterprise arrives on the planet Malcor III just as they develop warp drive technology. The crew meets a government bureaucrat who represents the world's more hard-line conservative elements and fears that if they have relations with Starfleet, it will spark just such a civil war. Now, on "Star Trek: Prodigy," we see just how devastating a first contact can be and the effects it can have on a fractured people.

The U.S.S. Dauntless

As "The Moral Star, Part 2" comes to a close, the crew stops the Diviner and rescues the unwanted from Tars Lamora. The scene then cuts to a different Starfleet ship that has detected the Protostar's power signature. The bridge is full of easter eggs, including the crew's combadges that mirror the ones seen in alternate future timeline episodes like "Voyager" finale "Endgame." However, the biggest reveal is that the ship's leader is none other than the real Admiral Janeway, commanding the U.S.S. Dauntless, which is a ship Trek fans should be familiar with.

The Dauntless appeared in the "Voyager" episode "Hope and Fear," but what makes its reappearance odd is that the Dauntless isn't a Starfleet vessel. In the episode, the crew of the Voyager encounters a man named Arturis, who helps them decipher a Federation message that leads them to the Dauntless, supposedly a new Starfleet ship. However, it turns out to be an elaborate ruse by Arturis to lure them into a trap. Despite previously being a deception, the ship's appearance on "Prodigy" resembles its Starfleet facade in "Hope and Fear," with its bridge design specifically being a near match, making it a curious inclusion. 

Is this the same alien ship repurposed by the Federation, or a new Starfleet vessel designed to mimic the one we saw before? Thematically its appearance makes sense, as the Dauntless was, like the U.S.S. Prodigy, intended as a ship with an experimental engine. Hopefully, we'll get some answers when we see more of it in future episodes.