Star Trek Discovery Season 3: Everything We Know So Far About The Next Season
The popularity of Star Trek on TV has varied hugely over the decades. The original 1960s series was a groundbreaking show that influenced dozens of sci-fi shows in the following years, and remains one of most iconic TV shows ever made. And yet, it wasn't until 1987 that a second series--Star Trek: The Next Generation--hit screens. In the meantime, the franchise had transformed into a blockbuster movie franchise featuring the original Enterprise crew.
Since then, Star Trek has continued to deliver shows and films with varying degrees of success and popularity. The movies took another hiatus throughout the 2000s, while TV series such as Voyager and Enterprise kept fans happy without ever quite achieving the popularity of the earlier shows. And while JJ Abrams' big screen reboots started off very well, disappointing box office results of 2016's Star Trek Beyond seem to have stalled cinematic Trek for the time being.
In 2017, Star Trek made its return to the small screen on the CBS All Access streaming service. Star Trek: Discovery was set ten years before the original series and delivered a new crew, ship, and series of adventures. It was co-created by Alex Kurtzman, who had co-written two of the recent movies, and did a good job of keeping old-school fans happy while introducing the world of Trek to younger viewers who might not have grown up with earlier shows.
Discovery Season 2 followed in 2018, and Season 3 was greenlit soon after. Luckily, the third season had been entirely shot before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down most of Hollywood, and the post-production was completed remotely. The series is now set to premiere later this year.
With the future of Star Trek on the big screen unclear, the franchise continues to thrive on TV. A second show, Picard, premiered late last year, and there's lots more on the way, including the animated shows Lower Decks and Prodigy, and the Discovery spin-off Strange New Worlds. In short, it's a great time to be a Star trek fan. So here's our guide to everything we know so far about Star Trek: Discovery Season 3
When does Discovery Season 3 premiere?
Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 will premiere on CBS All-Access on Thursday, October 15.
How many episodes will it be?
This season will be 13 episodes long, and will be streamed weekly. This is the shortest Discovery season to date--Season 1 had 15 episodes, while Season 2 had 14.
Who's coming back?
All of the regular Discovery cast will be back for the next season. That includes Sonequa Martin-Green (Burnham), Doug Jones (Saru), Mary Wiseman (Tilly), Oyin Oladejo (Owosekun), Emily Coutts (Detmer), Anthony Rapp (Stamets), Wilson Cruz (Culber), and Michelle Yeoh (Georgiou).
We know about a couple of new additions to the Discovery cast. Supergirl and Nightflyers actor David Ajala will play a regular new character that the Discovery encounters named Cleveland Booker, also known as Book. He's described by Deadline as "smart and capable [with] a natural charisma and devil-may-care attitude that tends to get him into trouble as often as it gets him out."
In addition, veteran actor Adil Hussain (Life of Pi) can be seen in the season's trailer, playing a character that looks like an important Federation official.
Who's in charge?
It's fair to say Discovery has had a troubled history in terms of showrunners. The series was created by Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman, with Fuller initially acting as showrunner. But behind-the-scenes arguments and schedule conflicts with Fuller's American Gods, led to him be replaced by Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts during production of Season 1. Berg and Harbarts were themselves fired while Season 2 was being made, with Kurtzman assuming full showrunner status as well as producing. For Season 3, Kurtzman promoted writer Michelle Paradise, and the pair will act as co-showrunners.
What's the story?
Discovery Season 2 ended dramatically, with the Discovery and its crew travelling forward 930 years into the future. This previously undocumented era of the Star Trek universe will be the setting for Season 3, and while specific plot details haven't been revealed yet, interviews with the cast and crew have hinted at a few things.
Kurtzmzan has stated that the time jump has allowed the writers to break free of the franchise's established--and restrictive--timeline. "The fun for us was actually to take the shackles off and free ourselves from established canon by jumping almost a thousand years into the future, and yet what we're not doing is divorcing ourselves from canon," he revealed at San Diego Comic-Con last year.
Regular director Jonathan Frakes suggested that the next season will have a lighter tone than the often very dark Season 2. "Discovery has primarily to do with Sonequa's character," he said. "At the end of Season 2, we flash-forwarded I think 930 years. Michael Burnham has found a new core, not to mention a new partner in crime. So again, there's a big tonal shift on that show, less driven by the pain and guilt of her past and more about the magical reunification of the Discovery crew and wherever she went off to."
In an interview with StarTrek.com, Martin-Green provided a few details about some of the other characters. "You have Saru going from fear-based to power-based," she said. "Culber came back to life, so it's Culber and Stamets having to realize who they are to each other. Tilly is realizing herself in this new way, separate from her mother. Then, obviously, Burnham had all these cornerstones of shame taken down one by one. Spock realized the balance between being Vulcan and being human at the same time. Michael helped him realize that, and he helped her realize herself. There's all this self-actualization, and I love that we're finding ourselves as a family and as a crew."
Is there a trailer?
The first trailer for Discovery Season 3 was released way back in October last year, at New York Comic-Con. It revealed plenty of action as well as setting up the time-jumping story for the new season and confirming the return of many cast members. There was also this short teaser released to announce the show's premiere date.
Will there be a fourth season?
While CBS hasn't officially announced Discovery Season 4, it looks like it might be happening. In January, the industry website Production Weekly listed the fourth season as being in "active development." With CBS continuing to expand its Star Trek TV universe, it seems highly likely its flagship show will continue for a few more seasons yet.
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