The latest Season 2 trailer for Star Trek: Discovery has people talking, and not just about Ethan Peck's sexy bearded Spock. Folks are working up theories as to the identity of the "Red Angel" and speculating it's not an angel, but rather a race fans are familiar with. Some are convinced this angel is actually an Iconian, and they're using a video game and some potential breadcrumbs from the series as evidence.
One would imagine the clear visuals on the computer screen in the latest Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 trailer would've confirmed this, but Iconians have never physically appeared in a Star Trek series. While only mentioned by name in shows, the beings are the main villains of the video game Star Trek Online and do bear some resemblance to the figure shown in quick flashes in the trailer. It's unknown, however, whether Star Trek Online's design of the Iconians is actually canon or just a design they made up to put a face to the mythical species for the game. Therefore, some are dismissing the game as evidence unless something comes from Star Trek: Discovery staff confirming that the game's character design of Iconians are legit.
Star Trek: Discovery made a couple of mentions of the Iconians in Season 1, although they were the kind of references only eagle-eyed viewers would scope out. One mention came in the form of a tactical map seen in "Choose Your Pain," and the Iconian territory was marked off on a star chart in the episode "Magic To Make The Sanest Man Go Mad." This could've been the CBS All Access series laying the groundwork for Season 2, or it could be just another Star Trek series making mention of a long-gone ancient civilization.
The Iconians were believed to be wiped out 200,000 years ago by orbital bombardment. Known as the "Demons of Air and Darkness," they could travel to planets far away instantly without the need for a starship thanks to advanced gateway technology. In the timeline of Star Trek: Discovery the Iconians are still widely believed to be a myth, but with the homeworld of Iconia being discovered in Star Trek: The Next Generation, it's clear they were real.
So, is it possible the Red Angel is an Iconian who survived the destruction of the species? The seven red bursts the Discovery crew is seeking out in Season 2 could be signatures left behind by that advanced gateway technology, which would make sense. The signals, which Captain Christopher Pike confirms in the previous trailer, are 30,000 light years away. Distance doesn't appear to be an issue when it comes to the Iconians' tech, which means one Red Angel could seemingly hop across the galaxy to create that message via gateways. That's assuming, of course, that there's only one angel floating about in the upcoming season, and that others aren't in on this big message.
As to what message the Iconians would wish to send, or how it all relates to sexy bearded Spock we can only guess. The Iconians were believed to be conquerors and are the main antagonists of Star Trek Online, but the supposed Iconian Michael Burnham saw once before didn't seem to be aggressive. Burnham even mentioned in the trailer she had an "unmistakable feeling everything was going to be alright," during the encounter, which would appear to mean this creature is nonviolent. With the species' future possibly in jeopardy, is it possible this signal and Spock's vision could be a cry for help that the Vulcan recognized and tried to answer?
Is a theory like this plausible in the world of Star Trek: Discovery? It's certainly possible, as this wouldn't be the first time some previously unknown information or advanced tech has fallen in the lap of Discovery well before its time. The series was able to introduce the "spore drive" and its warp jumping abilities despite it not existing in Star Trek shows that happened down the chronological timeline. If the Iconians are discovered by the Federation now, odds are Burnham, Captain Pike, and the rest of the Discovery crew can keep it an off-the-books secret until the civilization is rediscovered decades later in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
There is some skepticism with the Iconian theory. Again, many who take issue with it point to the fact that Star Trek Online's interpretation of Iconians is not confirmed canon, so people shouldn't jump to conclusions just yet. After all, it's very easy to make that connection and start making sense of things when we're not even sure the Red Angel is connected to those red bursts happening around the galaxy. It's possible those could be two entirely separate storylines in Star Trek: Discovery, and this creature Spock is searching for has nothing to do with the signals.
One thing no amount of Iconian theorizing can explain is how this angel managed to be seen by both Spock and Burnham. If this is a rare species, what are the odds that siblings (who aren't actually related) would happen to witness them at separate times in their lives? Early reports about Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 mentioned that the series will dive into spirituality, so it's possible this creature is, in some way, connected to someone from their shared past. These reports came prior to Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts being ousted as showrunners, however, so it's unknown whether or not the story has been tweaked or changed any since their exit.
There haven't been many other theories posed about the Red Angel ahead of Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, but there have been a couple worth mentioning about the red bursts. Some think the bursts are tied to the "red matter" from the J.J. Abrams Star Trek films, while others have speculated the bursts are just a trap laid by the Romulans. All we know so far is that there are various red things appearing across the galaxy, and that Christopher Pike and the Discovery crew intend to get to the bottom of it.
Star Trek: Discovery returns to CBS All Access for Season 2 in 2019. Many shows are coming back to television before that, so be sure to head over to our fall premiere guide and see what's on the way.