'Star Trek: Discovery' Season 2 To See Return of Oldest 'Trek' Villains

Star Trek officially premiered with "The Man Trap" on Sept. 8, 1966. Two years prior, a pilot episode, "The Cage" was filmed but not turned into the series we know. It's like a broadcast from an alternate dimension which is like ours in every way exact for one key difference: Star Trek sucks there. The episode follows the Enterprise, captained by Christopher Pike, to Talos IV, where the Talosians entrap Pike in their private zoo and torment him with illusions.

The Talosians act high-minded with their super-advanced technology, shimmering silver robes and big, veiny heads, but they're essentially psychic vampires that feed off the emotional torment of their captive specimens. While Star Trek: The Original Series wasn't shy about Christianity (one episode, "Bread and Circuses," ends with an awed Uhura realizing the aliens are Jesus worshippers), "The Cage" is full on Old Testament, with the Talosians offering Pike illusory devil's bargains, with the threat of eternal flame should he turn down their many temptations.

Talosians-star-trek
The Talosians, who first appeared in the "Star Trek" pilot episode, "The Cage." CBS Television Distribution

And now they're back, according to TrekMovie. At the New York Comic Con Star Trek: Discovery panel, producer Alex Kurtzman confirmed the Talosians return. "You guys like Talosians?" he asked in response to an audience question. "We should see some."

While the Talosians are villains in "The Cage," their canonical legacy is a little more mixed. Footage from "The Cage" was eventually recycled for two-parter "The Menagerie," in which Spock disobeys Starfleet regulations to take Pike, his former captain, back to Talos IV. Pike, badly burned by radiation, confined to a now-famous beeping wheelchair (parodied on South Park and Futurama), wants to live out the rest of his life among the Talosians who supply him with an illusory reality.

star-trek-cage-spock-smile
Captain Pike and a smiling Spock (yes, he smiles and yes, it's awful) in "The Cage." CBS Television Distribution

It's meant to be uplifting in a way, a form of mutual symbiosis, with Pike helping the Talosians and the Talosians rescuing Pike from being locked into his own body, but it's hard not to be a little creeped out by the results.

We don't have any idea yet what role the Talosians will play in Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, but its place in the timeline provide some hints. Pike was first held captive by the Talosians in 2254 and returns voluntarily to Talos IV in 2267. Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 begins in the period between, in 2257, with Pike now played by Discovery newcomer Anson Mount. Could the Talosians reach back out to their wandering captive? At this stage in his life, Pike is unlikely to be too receptive of their overtures.

After the events depicted in "The Cage" (and in flashbacks in "The Menagerie"), Starfleet banned any ship from contacting the Talosians, going so far as to release General Order 7, making it a capital offense to visit Talos IV. Like Q and other godlike beings, the Talosians are simply too advanced and too dangerous for species-to-species cooperation. Whatever their role in Star Trek: Discovery, the Talosians are a threat unlike any Discovery has yet encountered.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 will premiere on CBS All Access on Jan. 17, 2019.

'Star Trek: Discovery' Season 2 To See Return of Oldest 'Trek' Villains | Culture