In addition to releasing the new trailer, and announcing a cat, the Star Trek: Discovery panel discussion on Star Trek Day also broke some news. After star Sonequa Martin-Green introduced the trailer, there was a panel with co-showrunners and executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Michelle Paradise, who were joined by actor David Ajala. We have broken down all the news from the panel, so obviously SPOILERS below.
Season three is about bringing the Federation back
Season three of Star Trek: Discovery finds the crew jumping into the 32nd century and from what we have seen from previews, things have changed for the United Federation of Planets. Alex Kurtzman provided some more details on the state of the UFP in season three:
Obviously, the Federation is not where it was, and yet our characters enter into this timeline and our whole season is about trying to bring it back. So you are into a world where it is very reflective of the world we live in now. And I believe very reflective or [Gene] Roddenberry’s essential vision of optimism. In the darkest times we have to hold that beacon of light up to guide us back.
The trailer referred to something called “The Burn,” which was described as “the day the galaxy took a hard left.” In the panel, Kurtzman revealed this is why things have changed:
What happened to the Federation didn’t happen because of the Federation collapsed in on itself because of disagreement or strife. That’s not what happened. The Federation was as strong as ever. Obviously, something cataclysmic went down that changed everything.
Michell Paradise also revealed some more details on the state of the Federation as the season starts:
At the top of the season part of it is a mystery that Burnham needs to figure out. Where is the Federation? What kind of state is it in? And that’s something that she and then our heroes on Discovery also need to figure out. And when we find it, we’ll find that it’s still in existence. It’s just much diminished from what it was. They’re very much kind of in survival mode.
Burnham meets her match with ‘Book’
David Ajala joins Discovery’s cast as Cleveland “Book” Booker. The actor gave an overview of his role in season three:
I think the main thing about this character that was special was his sense of purpose. And to find a sense of purpose that was bigger than himself allowed him to continue living life was a backstory that I discussed with Michelle and Alex. He is going to bring out something in Michael Burnham. And Michael Burnham will do exactly the same thing for him.
Ajala also joked that when Book meets Burnham for the first time it involved “throwing cuffs and fists” which he quipped was “quite romantic.” However, Kurtzman indicated there could be something to this romance:
The thing that was most beautiful to watch is [Book’s] dynamic with Burnham over the course of the season, because Michael has had a series of very complicated relationships that never really allow her to flourish, or a certain part of her to flourish. And we talked about the idea that she would need to meet her match in a way, who seemed initially very, very different from her. She is selfless. He is selfish… But over the course of the first episode, she comes to realize that’s a very incorrect first judgment. And in fact they have a lot more in common than she first realized. And then we keep peeling that back over the course of the season.
Michelle Paradise also discussed how Book fits into the narrative of season three:
He’s someone who was born into this new world that we come into. So while our heroes have the perspective of 930 years ago when the Federation what was strong and everyone knew what it was, he comes from this time that’s very, very different. And so actually Book becomes a window into this new world for us. He becomes kind of the eyes through which we see the everyday present for those who were born into this new future. And our heroes coming in with a completely different perspective, it’s a really helpful way to to make that jump to the future is to have that anchor for us in what David does with that character.
Leaning into Trill mythology
Last week it was revealed that in addition to Book, season three will introduce a couple of new characters: Blu del Barrio playing the non-binary character Adira and Ian Alexander playing the transgender Trill character Gray. Michelle Paradise revealed that Adira is introduced in episode three, with Gray joining in episode four, adding they have a “very unique and specific relationship.”
Paradise also discussed Gray being Trill:
Gray is Trill so there’s a whole Trill mythology in Trek that we’re going to be leaning into with this… What’s interesting about being one thousand years ahead is that we can play them in new ways. So you may think that you know a particular species to be a certain way and maybe a thousand years later, they’re a little bit different than you might expect. But at the end of the day, I think it will still feel very, very familiar.
Kurtzman also talked about the Trill being introduced in Discovery:
The Trill have always been a very interesting case study on questions of identity, because you’re carrying so many different identities within one consciousness. And we explore that a lot with both characters. It felt, for a show called Discovery, you always want to be applying that idea to all your characters. Everyone is constantly in a state of self-discovery.
Getting the Disco off the ground
The new trailer also reveals that the USS Discovery crash lands on a planet. Kurtzman went into some detail about how this plays out:
They crashed land into the future and something goes wrong with the ship that makes it basically impossible for them to get back in the air. So they have to step out into the world and see if they can find something to help repair the ship. And in so doing, they get their first taste of what’s actually going on on the planet.
Frakes on Michael’s freedom from fear
Star Trek: The Next Generation star Jonathan Frakes returned to direct three episodes for the third season of Discovery. During the Star Trek Day TNG/Picard panel Frakes talked a bit about Discovery:
The third season is magical. They have gone ahead nine hundred and three years, or something nuts. And Sonequa – who I am crazy about and is the number one [on the call sheet] – has taken on entirely new life and it’s wonderful… When I asked her I feel so much more joy from you and she said, “My character is no longer driven by fear.” And it has affected her work and it has affected the set. And it has affected the show.
Watch the full panel
ICYMI: New trailer!
CBS released a brand new trailer during the panel. We will be doing a full trailer breakdown soon, but in the meantime, you can watch it here.
More Star Trek Day coverage at TrekMovie
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