When Season 3 ended for Star Trek: Discovery, it put series lead Sonequa Martin-Green in the position her character Michael Burnham had been building toward since the beginning of the series – the Captain’s chair. Her journey was a long one that included her turning down the chair earlier in the season. Now that Michael Burnham has finally accepted her role as Captain, what comes next in Star Trek: Discovery season 4?
Where We’ve Been
Leading up to Star Trek: Discovery season 4, the first three seasons have been somewhat of a roller coaster for Burnham. The series itself was the first in Star Trek history not to have its main character a captain, though Martin-Green says the plot was to always have Burnham fill that role. “…that has always been in the ether, that this was something we were headed toward, that Burnham would be on this journey of self-actualization that would also be the journey to the chair. It’s something we’ve believed in very firmly,” she explained to Vulture.
The journey saw Burnham and eventually, Discovery’s crew take a massive leap in time, jumping 930 years into the future, virtually resetting the show’s narrative. But it also kicked off a season 3 that would not only show Burnham’s weaknesses but her true strength as a leader. She was allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. She also made decisions that ultimately paid off. How this helps her in Star Trek: Discovery season 4 is an unknown at this point but we are sure mistakes will continue as will victories.
Season 3’s main storyline was to figure out the cause of an incident called The Burn, which happened some 125 years ago. The Burn was a galaxy-wide disaster where most of dilithium went inert. This caused the detonation of every active warp core, ending in massive destruction and death. Where season 3 varied from the previous two seasons is that each episode was made to feel like a standalone, much like the original Star Trek series, while continuing to drop breadcrumbs concerning The Burn. As season 3 came to an end, the crew of Discovery, led by Burnham, found the source of The Burn and also found a source of massive amounts of dilithium. This will go a long way in rebuilding the Federation, a journey that the new captain undertakes at the end of season 3 and will likely continue in Star Trek: Discovery season 4.
The People Making Star Trek: Discovery Season 4
Alex Kurtzman and Michelle Paradise were the co-showrunners for season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery and Paradise has made one thing clear as they enter Star Trek: Discovery season 4 – There is no going back.
Michelle Paradise explains, “I don’t expect [the crew trying to return to the 23rd century]. All of them know going into that at the end of Season 2, this is a one-way trip. Now that they are here, we’re not looking to go back.” So, from here on out, expect the crew to remain in the 32nd century. Star Trek: Discovery season 4 will not reset things.
The Cast Of Star Trek: Discovery Season 4
The table has been set, so to speak, but one thing many fans are curious about is what will happen to Saru since he is no longer running the helm of the Discovery? Paradise assured fans, Saru (and actor Doug Jones who portrays him) will be back in Star Trek: Discovery season 4. “No, no, no, no, no. Doug Jones is not going anywhere,” she told ComicBook. “Saru will be back, a hundred percent in season four. So rest easy, sleep well. We’re not letting Doug go anywhere. We’re holding onto him.”
One more thing that Paradise made perfectly clear is that inclusivity will continue in Star Trek: Discovery season 4. “Representation matters,” Paradise said via Inverse. “It matters to see a version of yourself on screen. It matters there are non-binary and transgender characters. It matters that there is a Black woman in the captain’s chair. It matters that there is a gay couple on our show. We will continue to do that for the show, and the world we live in, but also, to honor the Star Trek legacy. And to be super clear, we will pay that moment off in Season 4. Gray will be seen. That promise will be paid off.”
In the season 3 finale, Gray, who is a Tal symbiont and can be seen by very few people, suddenly becomes visible to those who had never seen him before. When Dr. Culber (Wilson Cruz) tells Gray that he is going to do everything in his power to make sure Gray is seen by all, it’s crystal clear what the show is saying. Gray is played by Ian Alexander, Star Trek’s first transgender actor. This goes along with Star Trek’s first explicitly non-binary character Adira, played by Blu De Barrio.
Expect the rest of the cast to be back for Star Trek: Discovery season 4 as well, Especially, of course, Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham.
The Narrative Path Forward
Another storyline sure to be played out in Star Trek: Discovery season 4 will be how Burnham deals with Paul Stamets, who bears ill-will toward her for how she removed him from Discovery while he was trying to save Hugh. As Martin-Green puts it, this storyline will definitely make an appearance. “Yeah, we don’t leave stones unturned. If it’s introduced, it’s going to be dealt with. Who knows how long it’ll take, but one of the things I’m grateful for with this show and this character is that you see this well-rounded woman make these deep moral mistakes and miss the mark,” she said via Trekmovie.
When Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 Will Be Released
Star Trek: Discovery season 4 does not have a premiere date as of yet, but the series began production on the new season back in November 2020. It is expected that production will last through June 2021 but that no longer may be true. Initial plans were to film seasons 4 and 5 back-to-back but COVID has since changed those plans.
Unfortunately, with all the delays, fans may not see Star Trek: Discovery season 4 released on CBS All-Access until 2022. Kurtzman did say that even though they aren’t filming 4 and 5 back-to-back, that season 5 has been fully planned out. They just need the official green light for it to move forward with season 5.