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Home Star Trek Franchise Discovery Who Are Star Trek’s Progenitors?

Who Are Star Trek’s Progenitors?

There’s been a lot of whispering about ancient powers and long-lost puzzles in Star Trek lately. Star Trek: Discovery’s Season 5 ramped it up with a new treasure hunt for an ‘ancient power’, later teased by franchise boss Alex Kurtzman as a major The Next Generation (TNG) Easter Egg. And that ancient power has now been revealed! Star Trek’s Progenitors, an ancient race of humanoids from TNG episode ‘The Chase’. And while there are many old, even god-like beings in the Star Trek universe, unlike the Q Continuum, Star Trek‘s Progenitors aren’t gods. They’re just regular aliens who developed long before any other intelligent life.

SPOILER WARNING – This article does not give any major spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery’s Season 5 premiere episodes. However, it is related to the storyline and the teased TNG Easter Egg.

Credit: Paramount+

The Progenitors have remained shrouded in mystery, never really touched on again. Now they’re back and their legacy and technology are key to the final season of Star Trek: Discovery. The Progenitors may have changed the universe forever, but what did they do? What do we know about these mysterious aliens? And what can they tell us about where Discovery Season 5 could be going? Let’s delve into Star Trek‘s oldest aliens, the mysterious Progenitors!

Captain Jack explores Star Trek’s first aliens – the Progenitors – in depth in Trek Central’s latest video.

The Chase

These ancient humanoids originate from an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, “The Chase”. The episode saw the USS Enterprise-D pick up a biological puzzle from the late Professor Galen (Norman Lloyd). It sounds like a standard set-up for a TNG episode, but in the end, the result was anything but. The revelation would have a massive impact on Star Trek canon. It is also the episode where Captain Picard (Sir Patrick Stewart) was gifted the Kurlan naiskos, a prop that would accompany him into Star Trek: Picard.

Credit: Paramount+

Galen found DNA links between 19 species across the quadrant. These protein blocks had existed on each planet for as long as its life had. It’s also proven that this was a kind of program, not a natural formation or coincidence. Whatever this was, it was designed over four billion years ago by a civilization far older than anything the Federation had ever encountered before.

“…it could be the most profound discovery of our time, or the most dangerous.”

Captain Jean Luc Picard – ‘The Chase’ (The Next Generation)

Professor Galen and Picard understood this was the most profound scientific discovery of the 24th Century. However, it could also be the most dangerous if the information got into the wrong hands. Tensions only escalated when the USS Enterprise-D ran into Cardassians, Klingons, and Romulans, who were also investigating this connection. Through an uneasy alliance, the group decoded a message from the Progenitors.

Credit: Paramount+


Star Trek’s Progenitors only appear through a holographic message from an ancient humanoid alien (Salome Jens). They confirm that their race evolved long before all other life in the Universe. In an attempt at longevity, they seeded oceans where life was in its infancy. Basically, they played god. It’s never explicitly confirmed, but it’s heavily implied this species is now extinct. The genetic code connection is, in effect, is their only lasting legacy.

The message ends with the line, “There is something of us in each of you, and so, something of you in each other”. This prompts a furious response from the Cardassians and Klingons, who couldn’t stand the idea of being related to their enemies. Interestingly, however, the Romulan captain and Picard share a dialogue, hoping that the Federation and the Romulan Empire could one day stand together in friendship.

This revelation of all the major Star Trek aliens being biologically connected to each other was never expanded on. Federation relations with the Cardassians and Romulans didn’t change in the slightest. It appears that this discovery then was probably covered up, leaving it to future generations to pick up the pieces. Who knows what kind of power one could wield or the technology one could develop with that kind of knowledge? With their technology being the basis for the latest season of Discovery, only time will tell!

Credit: Paramount+

Where will the trail lead?

So that’s everything we know about the mysterious Progenitors so far. Until now, they have only made a single appearance in Star Trek. Albeit, one with massive implications for the universe. The idea of all Star Trek‘s well-known species being related is one that was begging to be picked up. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this story develops over the course of Star Trek: Discovery Season 5. It is definitely a very exciting easter egg to base the latest season on.

Captain Burnham and her crews uncover a mystery that sends them on an epic adventure across the galaxy to find an ancient power whose very existence has been hidden for centuries.

Star Trek Discovery Season 5 – Official Synopsis

The synopsis for Star Trek: Discovery Season 5 mentions finding an ancient power that has been hidden for centuries. It appears the scientific discovery revealed in TNG’s ‘The Chase’ was indeed covered up. Assuming, of course, that this refers to what the Progenitors did. While there could be another twist around the corner, ‘Red Directive’ and ‘Under the Twin Moons’ center this idea as the basis for the season’s story. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how they build on this exciting piece of Star Trek lore!

Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Discovery stream on Paramount+, plus Netflix, SkyShowtime, and TVNZ. Check your local programming for where to watch. For more Star Trek lore discussions, theories, reviews, and more, follow the team here at Trek Central!

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