Star Trek: Discovery executive producer Alex Kurtzman has confirmed that the new show will include Tribbles, the fluffy little fast-multiplying creatures first seen wreaking adorable havoc on a space station in one of the most memorable episodes of the original Star Trek series. Star Trek: Discovery marks the return of the franchise to the small screen, and to lure in hardcore Trek fans the show is beaming in plenty of nostalgic elements from prior shows, while also introducing certain updates including a new look for the Klingons.
The crew of the Enterprise first encountered Tribbles in the aptly-titled The Trouble With Tribbles, the 44th overall episode of the original Star Trek series. In the story set at a remote space station, a single Tribble is given to Uhura and soon begins multiplying until there are Tribbles everywhere. Amusingly, though humans love Tribbles and their soothing cat-like purr, Klingons hate them and the Tribbles somehow sense the animosity and hate them back. Ultimately, the troublesome Tribbles prove to be useful as they help uncover a Klingon plot to poison the grain stores on the space station.
Speaking withCinemaBlend at last week’s SDCC, executive producer Alex Kurtzman confirmed Tribbles will make their return to the Star Trek universe at some point during the new series. Kurtzman said simply “Yes, Tribbles, yes” in response to a press conference question about whether the lovable (unless you’re a Klingon) alien fuzz-balls will be squeaking and purring their way onto the upcoming show.
Tribbles have made several other notable appearances in Trek properties since their debut on the original series. A sequel to The Trouble With Tribbles episode called More Tribbles, More Trouble was actually planned for Season 3 of Star Trek: TOS but was scrapped, with the story later being used for an episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series. Tribbles popped up briefly in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, then showed up again in both of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek films (Abrams just loves his Tribbles). They also showed up in an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise.
On an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine it was revealed that Klingons finally got sick of Tribbles and went on a mission to eradicate the species, sending agents all over the galaxy to kill every Tribble they found. Happily, the species was re-introduced after a time-travel mission back to the era of the original Trek to prevent Captain Kirk from being assassinated on the space station from The Trouble With Tribbles episode. Of course this led to Tribbles overrunning Deep Space Nine.
The original design of the Tribbles is fairly simple – they’re literally just little balls of fluff of varying colors that mostly just sit there – and it will be interesting to see if Star Trek: Discovery adds any features or just goes with the classic incarnation of the creatures. Given the connection between Tribbles and Klingons, it’s a fair assumption that at some point Tribbles will become a plot device in an episode involving the Federation’s old enemies.
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