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Did Star Trek: Prodigy Just Retcon A Major Detail From Star Trek: Discovery?

Janeway and her hologram ships Star Trek: Prodigy Paramount+
(Image credit: Paramount+)

Warning! The following contains spoilers for the Star Trek: Prodigy episode “Starstruck.” Read at your own risk!

Star Trek: Prodigy is Paramount+’s latest entry in the sci-fi franchise, and also a new series that prioritizes teaching younger kids about the basics of Star Trek and its universe. The alien crew of the USS Protostar certainly got a crash course of Starfleet info in the latest episode, and it was potentially more information than many actual Starfleet members were meant to learn. During Hologram Janeway’s explanation of Starfleet, eagle-eyed viewers spotted what appeared to be the USS Discovery, which has led to questions of whether the animated series retconned a significant detail from Star Trek: Discovery

Specifically, the sequence featured what appears to be a Crossfield class Starfleet ship, which is a science vessel. Only two of those types of ships exist in Star Trek shows, the USS Glenn and USS Discovery. The Glenn was destroyed to protect the secret of Starfleet’s novel Spore Drive technology, and the Discovery jumped through time around 900 years into the future. On official Starfleet record, though, it’s noted that the Discovery was destroyed, and its mere existence, and the survival of its crew, amounts to strictly classified information. This is backed up in Star Trek: Discovery Season 3, when future Starfleet has no idea who Michael Burnham is, or what the Discovery is, when the ship arrives in the future. 

So why, then, is Hologram Janeway seen depicting a picture of a Crossfield class ship, and what does it mean? There are a few theories to consider, so let’s briefly run down the options. 

Janeway Somehow Knew The Story Of The USS Discovery

In Star Trek lore, Kathryn Janeway is one of the most decorated captains of Starfleet. One has to imagine that prestige comes with a bit of access, so it’s possible she knew at least part of the story about Discovery. As such, a hologram with her intelligence would also retain that information. This much was confirmed in my conversation with the Star Trek: Prodigy showrunners, in which they talked about justifying characters like Chakotay and others in Starfleet. It’s a possibility she knows something, though I can’t say it's a theory I’m 100% committed to, since it would also mean she put that information into complete strangers' brains. 

The USS Discovery Was Somehow Remembered And Then Forgotten Again

Star Trek: Prodigy still takes place several centuries before Season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery is set, so a lot could’ve happened between the original lockdown of all information concerning the USS Discovery. After all, Starfleet and much of the 32nd-century world was crippled by the effects of The Burn, and a wealth of previously known knowledge that Starfleet had access to was lost in the process. It’s a theory that could be worked in after this potential blunder, and one that’s not that hard to explain as well. 

Someone In The Art Department Messed Up

All things considered, the most likely scenario here is that someone in the art department for Star Trek: Prodigy added the Discovery design because it's a major ship in the franchise and didn't think about the ramifications. I mean, sure, we could justify a Crossfield class ship in a history of Starfleet lesson. Again though, since there were only two confirmed ships with tech that Starfleet didn’t want the masses or enemies to know about, it doesn’t seem like a wise decision to have outfitted a hologram with knowledge of i, artificially intelligent though she may be. Therefore, I think it could just be a small animation-related hiccup and a funny moment to look back on in another entertaining Star Trek series. 

Star Trek: Prodigy is available to stream right now on Paramount+. Be sure to check in on the streamer Thursdays to catch new episodes and see what other antics the crew of the USS Protostar will get into next.

Mick Joest

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.