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Who is Red Angel on Star Trek: Discovery? The candidates, ranked

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Feb 21, 2019, 8:35 PM EST

In the final moments of the latest Star Trek: Discovery episode, “The Sound of Thunder,” Pike and Tyler discuss the new intel they’ve received on the Red Angel. We now know that it is definitely a person and not a thing.

Tyler says, “It’s a humanoid ... wearing a mechanized suit, exhibiting technology far beyond present Federation capability.”

So, now that we know the Red Angel is “someone,” to quote Pike, who could it be? Here are seven possibilities, ranked from least to most likely.

Kirk TOS Star Trek

Captain Kirk

This one is dead-last only because Discovery showrunners Alex Kurtzman and Heather Kadin have said on more than one occasion that James T. Kirk will not appear on Discovery this season.

But what if there were a future, time-traveling version of Kirk?

This one seems very unlikely, but because people are talking about Captain Kirk, it’s worth thinking about. William Shatner has reminded fans that in order for Prime Kirk to return, he’d need to be brought back from the dead, since he died in Star Trek: Generations, and got buried under a pile of rocks by Captain Picard.

Captain Lorca star trek

Prime Captain Lorca

Now, there’s no way the Discovery writers would have another twist revolve around Captain Lorca, right? In the first season, we actually never met the Prime Universe version of Gabriel Lorca, only his Mirror Universe doppelgänger posing as the good version. So what happened to Prime Lorca?

In Season 1, Admiral Cornwell assumed he was dead, but you never know. Prime Lorca could have survived, traveled back to our universe, and decided after everything terrible that happened to become some kind of time traveling vigilante for cosmic justice. It’s even conceivable that the fortune cookie Pike reads in Season 2, Episode 1 was planted there by Lorca, since they were originally his fortune cookies.

Lorca actor Jason Isaacs certainly hasn’t said anything about coming back, but he does tweet his support of Discovery pretty much on a weekly basis. 

Talosian TOS Star Trek

A throwback Talosian

First introduced in “The Cage,” the Talosians are telepathic aliens who stopped relying on technology in favor of refining their mind powers. In “The Cage,” Vina tells Captain Pike that the Talosians forgot “how to repair the machines left behind” by their ancestors, but what if some Talosians with advanced tech are still around?

In October 2018, Alex Kurtzman hinted that the Talosians could return this season, which makes sense since they are so wrapped up in Captain Pike’s story.

pike star trek discovery anson mount

Future Captain Pike 

Pike actor Anson Mount has said that the goal of putting Captain Pike in Discovery is to render his eventual fate in the original Star Trek as a “victory and not a tragedy.” How would that work, realistically?

Well, in the original series, we know Pike ends up crippled with a perfectly active mind, unable to communicate with his body. In the classic episode “The Menagerie,” Pike is left on Talos IV where the Talosians promise Kirk and Spock that they’ll take care of him, mostly because they’ll give him the illusion that he can use his broken body again.

The thing is, who knows what happens to Pike after that point in 2267? Here’s the theory: Old Pike finds some super-advanced Talosion tech that they’ve just left lying around, unused. (The Talosians don’t care about their tech, remember?) Next, he finds a sick time-travel suit with a cool EM-Pulse weapon and travels back in time to help out everyone he cares about. This would neatly explain why the Red Angel has saved so many things connected to Pike. 

Star Trek: Discovery, Spock


Spock feels like both the most obvious and least likely choice at the same time.

And yet, current Discovery showrunner Alex Kurtzman would be in familiar territory if a Spock time travel twist was central to this iteration of Trek. In the 2009 reboot film — co-written by Kurtzman — an older Spock from the Prime Universe travels through time using something called “Red Matter.” Now, we’ve got a younger Spock on the run, following “Red Signals” and the “Red Angel.” Seems familiar!

picard happy first contact


Come on, this would be awesome!

Maybe the time traveler is Captain Picard from the far future, and this season of Discovery directly connects to the Picard show debuting later this year. Kurtzman has already said that in the new show, Picard feels terrible about the planet Romulus getting destroyed in the far future, which, like time traveling Spock, also happened in the 2009 movie. Why would a future Picard want to travel a century and a half into the past? That would be a question the Picard series could potentially answer.

Here’s one thing no one ever talks about though: Picard probably has some of Michael Burnham’s memories. How? Well, in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Sarek,” Picard mind-melded with Sarek, and it was heavily implied that he got all of Sarek’s memories in the process. In Discovery, we know Sarek mind-melded with Michael Burnham on at least a couple occasions, which means Picard must know that in the future, too. The point is, Picard might have a connection to Burnham and the Discovery through Sarek. 


Michael Burnham

The main character of Star Trek: Discovery, is, in some ways, the best option for the Red Angel because it would be the most interesting.

If the Red Angel saved Michael Burnham when she was a child, and the Red Angel is Michael Burnham, it would explain a lot. All the connections to Spock, the mission of the Discovery, literally everything could be explained if the Red Angel were Michael Burnham time traveling from the future.