Star Trek: Discovery Just Made A Mirror Universe Theory More Likely

WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Star Trek: Discovery season 5, episode 1, “Red Directive”


  • The return to the Mirror Universe in Star Trek: Discovery season 5 is teased by a Terran Empire logo in the trailer.
  • Captain Saru mentions the Tholian Republic as a threat, setting up for a potential return to the Mirror Universe.
  • The USS Defiant from Star Trek: The Original Series could play a key role in a bridge to the Mirror Universe in season 5.

One line from Star Trek: Discovery season 5, episode 1, “Red Directive” makes a return to the Mirror Universe more likely, confirming a fan theory. Discovery last paid a visit to the Mirror Universe in the season 3 two-parter “Terra Firma”, in which the Guardian of Forever sent Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) back to her last day as Terran Emperor. The return to the Mirror Universe was part of an elaborate test by the Guardian, now assuming the form of Carl (Paul Guilfoyle), to prove the positive impact of Georgiou’s experiences in the prime Star Trek timeline.

Now it seems that Star Trek: Discovery could be making a final return to the Mirror Universe in season 5. The final trailer for Discovery season 5 appeared to show L’ak (Elias Toufexis) standing in front of what appeared to be the symbol of the Terran Empire. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine revealed that the Terran Empire had fallen in the 24th century, but it’s certainly possible that it could have risen again in the 800 years between DS9 and Discovery. How the USS Discovery’s treasure hunt would lead to a return to the Mirror Universe is unclear, but there’s a small hint in season 5’s premiere.


Star Trek: Discovery Season 5, Episode 1 Ending & TNG Treasure Explained

Star Trek: Discovery season 5’s premiere dropped a bombshell that ties all the way back to Star Trek: The Next Generation. We break it down.

Discovery’s Season 5 Premiere Made A Mirror Universe Theory More Likely

The Star Trek: Discovery season 5 trailer teased a tense gunfight aboard what appeared to be a 23rd century Constitution-class starship. This has led fans to speculate that it could be the USS Defiant from Star Trek: The Original Series, the starship that phased in and out of reality in “The Tholian Web”. That theory gets a further boost in Discovery season 5, episode 1, as Captain Saru (Doug Jones) outlines possible threats to the Federation in the 32nd century.

Saru reveals that the Breen Imperium and the Tholian Republic are potential threats to the Federation in Star Trek: Discovery season 5. It’s even possible that either of these classic Star Trek aliens could seek the Progenitors’ technology to gain an advantage over the Federation. Saru’s mention of the Tholians also gives Discovery a pathway back to the Mirror Universe later in season 5, perhaps affording the chance to settle some unfinished business.

Who Are Star Trek: TOS’ Tholians And How Do They Connect To The Mirror Universe?

In Star Trek: The Original Series, season 3, episode 9, “The Tholian Web”, the USS Enterprise encounters the stricken USS Defiant. The entire crew killed each other, driven insane by the effects of a spatial interphase caused by the non-humanoid Tholians. Star Trek: Enterprise revealed that it was the Tholians from the Mirror Universe that had actually dragged the USS Defiant out of their own time and reality, dragging it backwards into the 22nd century. Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) of the ISS Enterprise NX-01 stole the Defiant, but the knowledge contained inside it led to a revolt aboard the ship.

The events of Star Trek: Enterprise‘s Mirror Universe episodes later informed Star Trek: Discovery season 1’s Mirror Universe arc. When the USS Discovery was dragged into the Mirror Universe by the machinations of Captain Gabriel Lorca, they used the information about the USS Defiant to return to their own reality. At the end of “The Tholian Web” – which takes place after Star Trek: Discovery – the USS Defiant is phased out of reality to parts unknown. Given that the Defiant had been dragged through both time and reality, it could have ended up in the 32nd century, providing Burnham with a bridge to the Mirror Universe.

Star Trek: Discovery streams Thursdays on Paramount+.

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    Star Trek: Discovery

    Star Trek: Discovery is an entry in the legendary Sci-Fi franchise, set ten years before the original Star Trek series events. The show centers around Commander Michael Burnham, assigned to the USS Discovery, where the crew attempts to prevent a Klingon war while traveling through the vast reaches of space.

  • Star Trek The Original Series TV Poster

    Star Trek: The Original Series

    Star Trek: The Original Series follows the exploits of the crew of the USS Enterprise. On a five-year mission to explore uncharted space, Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) must trust his crew – Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Forest DeKelley), Montgomery “Scotty” Scott (James Doohan), Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), Chekov (Walter Koenig) and Sulu (George Takei) – with his life. Facing previously undiscovered life forms and civilizations and representing humanity among the stars on behalf of Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets, the Enterprise regularly comes up against impossible odds and diplomatic dilemmas.

  • Star Trek: Enterprise

    Star Trek: Enterprise acts as a prequel to Star Trek: The Original Series, detailing the voyages of the original crew of the Starship Enterprise in the 22nd century, a hundred years before Captain Kirk commanded the ship. Enterprise was the sixth series in the Star Trek franchise overall, and the final series before a twelve-year hiatus until the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery in 2017. The series stars Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer, with an ensemble cast that includes John Billingsley, Jolene Blalock, Dominic Keating, Anthony Montgomery, Linda Park, and Connor Trinneer.