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Illyrians explained in Star Trek Strange New Worlds

With the release of Star Trek Strange New Worlds season 2 episode 2, we've unpacked everything you need to know about the Illyrians in the new sci fi series.

Illyrians explained in Star Trek Strange New Worlds

What are Illyrians in Star Trek Strange New Worlds? When you spend your time boldly going, seeking out new life and new civilizations, it’s inevitable that you’ll stumble across one or two alien species.

Or, in the case of Star Trek, many, many more than that. In the first episode of Star Trek Strange New Worlds season 2 audiences were introduced to Pelia and the Lanthanites. Now, in the new episode, Illyrians play a major role.

But what are Illyrians? Where have we seen them before, and what exactly do we know about them? You may as well call us Q, because when it comes to this we’re essentially omniscient.

What are Illyrians in Star Trek?

Illyrians are a humanoid species of aliens whose cultural practices are deeply rooted in genetic engineering and modifications.

They believe in using these genetic modifications to adapt themselves to new planets and environments, rather than waiting to adapt through natural evolution or changing their environments. Because of this Illyrians are seen to vary physiologically, with some looking identical to humans and some having distinct non-human features such as forehead ridges.

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Genetic modifications are also used to enhance Illyrian physiology more broadly. For example, they include improved immune systems and physical strength.

Due to the Federation’s rigid anti-genetic modification stance, Illyrians are segregated from many societies, and excluded from joining Starfleet. This is why Commander Chin-Riley was arrested in the season 1 finale after it was discovered she had hidden her Illyrian identity from Starfleet.

Illyrians are first seen in Star Trek: Enterprise, when a group is encountered by Archer (who then goes on to steal their warp coil, sorry folks) but are primarily explored in Star Trek Strange New Worlds through Una. Other notable Illyrians include Neera, who fights for Illyrian fights and assists Una in her trial.

That’s it on Illyrians. For more, check out our Star Trek Strange New Worlds season 2 review, as well as our explainer on the Crossfield class. You can also find out how we celebrated Captain Picard Day, before learning how Patrick Stewart’s pride nearly killed Picard season 3.