The third season of Star Trek: Discovery debuts next Thursday on CBS All Access, and a new teaser for the season was released today. We also have gathered together all the highlights from yesterday’s NYCC Discovery panel.
New Season 3 Teaser
NYCC Panel Highlights
Yesterday, CBS presented a two-part Star Trek Universe virtual event at NYCC Metaverse. Earlier we reported on the highlights from the Star Trek: Lower Decks panel but there were also some tidbits dropped during the Discovery panel. On hand were stars Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, and Wilson Cruz; new cast members David Ajala, Blu del Barrio and Ian Alexander; and series co-showrunners and executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Michelle Paradise. The panel was moderated by Sarah Rodman of Entertainment Weekly.
Season 3 goes beyond (but honors) canon
The third season jumps the show 930 years into the future. Co-showrunner Michelle Paradise talked about why they picked that specific time:
That takes us beyond canon. It takes us far beyond. There are some stories in [Star Trek:] Enterprise where there is some time travel-y stuff, and this takes us beyond. So it really is some fresh snow.
She also talked about how they balance this “fresh snow” with the future history of Trek
In season three we take our heroes to a place beyond canon, but at the same time it is Star Trek and it has an incredible rich history of canon. So while we are going past it, we also have to honor everything that came before. It is not as if they can go beyond it and everything is just wiped away. There is so much of the history and we are exploring in our new present day. It’s just that things are not exactly as we expect them to be.
Future tech will still feel Star Trek
Jumping so far into the future runs into the risk of magical technology, but executive producer Alex Kurtzman said they are keeping it real:
We always want to come up with the coolest ideas and we usually try to come at them from a place of how does this play a part in our story. So usually the technology comes from a need that the story is telling us it wants to deliver. The temptation is you can do anything. The temptation is you can just say that anything is possible and the laws of physics don’t apply anymore. While the crew definitely go into a world where there’s a tremendous amount of technology that they’ve never seen before, it was also equally important for us to have it feel grounded. So some of the technology they find is actually the evolved versions of technologies they’re already familiar with. That keeps it grounded in the language of Star Trek.
Season 3 goes back to basics for Michael and the gang
Discovery star Sonequa Martin-Green talked about Michael Burnham’s motivation in season three after they find themselves transported to 3187:
It’s all about the crew and it’s all about getting together and figuring out where we are, what’s happened. How are we going to navigate where we are… It sounds simple, but it is profound. Where are we? What are we going to do? Who are we going to be? What does this future look like?
She talked about how her character continues to grow:
For me, specifically as Burnham, it’s been such a progression. And that’s such a great tenet of storytelling is change is change and deep, deep permanent change… There’s so much change coming. I love that I’ve been able to mature.
Martin-Green also talked about how she felt this new season tied well into current times:
In terms of the time we are in right now and this world and how we think season three will relate to it or could relate to it… I have been thinking a lot about this. It’s about love and choice. Because these people chose each other and they have no one else. And so the value for each other has skyrocketed because we are all we have.
Tilly grows up
Mary Wiseman talked about how jumping into the future has a psychological impact on Tilly and the crew:
Everyone’s going to have to adjust to leaving everything that they know in the past. What’s amazing about that is it’s not just one person’s isolated experience. It’s shared by the entire crew and that’s going to manifest in as many ways as there are people on the ship… I know for Tilly that there’s a lot of growing up that will happen through coming to terms with that loss. And I know that that’s true for the other characters too.
A second act for Hugh (and Paul)
Wilson Cruz’s Dr. Hugh Culber returned from the dead in season two and eventually rekindled his relationship with Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp). Cruz talked about what this jump to the future means:
For Hugh at the end of season two, he realizes a number of things. One is that staying behind isn’t an option, because everything that he loves and knows is leaving. And he realizes another thing, which is to really have a second chance at life. Because of that, he really steps up. For Culber and for me it was an opportunity for true resilience and a second at.
Anthony Rapp said he appreciated that even though things seemed good between the couple by the end of season two, the show doesn’t forget the journey they are on:
We get to start where we left off, which is: How do we come back together? And how is it? It’s not just a snap of the fingers.
Captain Saru, love machine?
The moderator pointed out how some fans (including TrekMovie’s analysis) spotted Saru wearing a captain’s uniform in the Star Trek Day trailer. Doug Jones said it wasn’t for him to confirm, but he did say the issue of who will become captain won’t be decided at the start of the season:
We don’t know right away… The captain’s chair is open and it’s a big question and that Burnham and Saru are both equally capable and qualified for it and both equally wanting the other one to have it. The other thing that remains when we get to the future, is the Federation intact? And is it in a place where they would assign a captain from the future or do we self-govern? All those questions remain into those first couple of episodes.
Jones and the panel were surprised when the moderator asked if Saru was “going to get some action” in season three. He answered diplomatically:
Let’s remember, Saru is a gentleman. But might his heart pitter-patter sometime? I hope so. [adds a knowing wink and smile]
Book is on his own journey of discovery
David Ajala gave some more hints about his new character Book:
Mr. Cleveland Booker is going to be your introduction into the future. He is similar to the other characters. He has left his past and is rediscovering his identity in the future and his purpose. But he doing it on his [own].
Gray and Adira: partners in crime
Also joining the cast in season three is Ian Alexander, playing a Trill named Gray. Alexander revealed that the producers created the character after he auditioned for a different role (presumably Adira). He gave a brief description:
Gray is a very optimistic, bright, intelligent young soul. He has a very special connection with Adira. They really are just like partners in crime together… Gray is Trill, and he has blue hair and I can’t wait for people to meet him. I am so excited to bring authentic trans representation to the table and to be an out and proud trans actor on a mainstream show such as Star Trek.
Blu del Barrio revealed they didn’t know anything about Star Trek before being cast as the non-binary Adira so to prepare they were sent “any episodes and any branches of the series that had any queer content and any Trill content.” They also briefly described the character:
Adira is pretty hardheaded as a person, a little bit very introverted. They have a select few people they feel comfortable with. It’s a small group. At their start with Discovery, it is pretty much just Gray. Gray is their person. Gray is the person they go to for everything.
Discovery is Blu del Barrio’s first job in film or TV. Anthony Rapp talked about their first day on the job (as did Jonathan Frakes in our recent interview):
I was there for Blu’s very first shot because it was in an episode we did together, and you would never know in a million years that Blu had never set foot in front of camera before. They were so incredibly focused, poised, ready to go.
ICYMI: Opening scene of season 3
The panel also revealed a sneak peek at the first couple of minutes of the new season.
Discovery season three arrives next Thursday, October 15. With new episodes of the series’ 13-episode season available on-demand weekly on Thursdays, exclusively for CBS All Access subscribers in the United States. In Canada Discovery season 3 will debut on CTV Sci-Fi on October 15 and be available to stream on Crave. It will debut internationally on Netflix in 190 countries around the world on October 16.
Watch full panel
The full NYCC Star Trek Universe event is available below. It is cued up to start at the 27:45 mark as the Discovery panel begins. There is more there than covered above, including David Ajala talking about working with Sir Patrick Stewart at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.com.