In a series of post-season finale interviews, Star Trek: Discovery co-showrunners and stars Sonequa Martin-Green and Doug Jones have been talking about what’s next for the series in season four, which is currently in production.
Captain Burnham’s arc
The final scenes of “The Hope That is You, Part 2” showed Michael Burnham finally ascend to the rank of captain to take command of the USS Discovery. Co-showrunner Michelle Paradise talked to TV Insider about Michael’s arc in season three:
We knew we wanted to get Burnham to the captain’s chair at the end of the season, so a big question was, if that’s where we want to get her to at the end, where should she begin and how far away from that can we take her? We wanted to give her the best arc possible, so in that moment, in Episode 3, where [Saru and Michael are] having that conversation, she declines the chair, and even she, in that moment, recognizes that Saru is the right individual to have the chair because of the way he leads, because he has already led them there and it’s not something that Burnham is ready for.
Alex Kurtzman talked to Gold Derby about how Michael’s arc in every season informs her being a captain going forward:
Burnham has really struggled through every season with… first I am supposed to be this person, and then the Vulcans show me I am supposed to be this person, and Starfleet tells me I am supposed to be this person. So, she is trying to be all these different things. I think Burnham, up until the ending [of season three], has been kind of been thinking, ‘I have to pick a lane.’ And it isn’t until she gets to the end of the season that she realizes, ‘I can be both of those things, and I can hold space for both of those things and that’s what is actually going to define me as a captain.’ And so now her next adventure is going to be: What does it now meaning to hold both of those things as captain? Because usually, a captain is kind of one or the other.
On The Ready Room, Sonequa Martin-Green talked about how it felt that first time she sat in the chair:
We all understood what the moment meant. We were all kind of, ‘This is deep, this is really, really deep.’ We all knew. There was a mixture. There were things I was feeling as Sonequa… but also what it represents to have a black woman in that chair, for the people who love this franchise and the people that have had it in their lives for generations. And also for the people who are here anew. It means a lot to see that… There are these captains in the history of this franchise, and they have done so much, and they have had such an impact. and there is something to be said for this position. There is such respect for that position.
In an interview with Vulture, Sonequa Martin-Green talked about if Burnham’s insubordination in season three was a hint of her possibly “going rogue” as captain:
Well, that’s a big question of season four and beyond: How is Burnham going to take everything she has learned and apply it to her captaincy? In the beginning, the insubordination comes from Burnham believing that she is serving the needs of the many. She’s willing to give it all up — her career, her freedom — because she thinks she’s saving everyone. She learns that’s not the way to do it; you’re not supposed to operate as an island. But there is still this sense of leadership, this forward thinking that Burnham has, that does compel her to go against the grain and suffer this sort of necessary resistance to that, to learn the lessons that have to come with that thinking.
Rebuilding the Federation continues…
On The Ready Room, Michelle Paradise talked about how the work on rebuilding the Federation will continue into season four:
When we end the [third] season, a lot has been accomplished. Our heroes, lead by Burnham, have discovered the source of The Burn. They have been able to give those answers to everyone. And also in the process, they have discovered this massive source of dilithium, which we know from the very end, they are about head off into a journey and start delivering that. So certainly the Federation is in much better shape because of our heroes’ journey than it was at the very beginning, but I think there is a long way to go. Certainly rebuilding the Federation and finding out what the Federation is anew is not something that accomplished in one season. As we know from the end when Burnham is taking the crew to start this journey, there is work to be done. I’m confident they will do that work. I am confident they will find their way together… The Federation is in much better shape, but there is a ways to go, but we’ve got Burnham at the helm and an awesome crew and team of people so they’ll get on and do some stuff.
Speaking to TV Insider, Paradise also made it clear that they are staying in the 32nd century:
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.
Martin-Green talked to Vulture about how she will lead this effort in season four as captain:
It was very hard for me and this crew to introduce those original ideals of the Federation, hope and connection, to this future. So it’s not going to be just, you know, boom, boom, pow. It’s going to be a difficult journey ahead, but it is a worthy fight… I think the death of Osyraa, everything that happened, including Burnham sitting in that chair, is the beginning, yes. The finale is very much the beginning. We are not done at all.
Saru’s journey in season four
With Michael now firmly in the captain’s chair, it does raise questions regarding Saru’s role in season four, but Michelle Paradise confirmed he will be back:
[Saru] will definitely be back in season four. We were concerned people would be afraid that Saru would not be coming back, but it is part of why he talks about going to Kaminar right now to be with Su’Kal. So hopefully it comes across that he will be coming back in season four.
On The Ready Room Doug Jones speculated on Saru’s future:
Saru really wants to take this opportunity because he wants to go home too. His nostalgia has got the better of him. Now here is a Kelpien who needs a big brother type, so Saru takes that role on happily… Is it difficult to return to a ship that you had captained and be a subordinate? Is there some connection to Kaminar now? Oh, maybe ambassador Saru, for Kaminar to the Federation, one day. There are many options and many places we can go with it and I am looking forward to that, what is ahead.
Season four will pick up on storylines for Stamets, Gray, Book, and Tilly too
The season finale made it clear that one member of the crew who was not happy with Michael was Paul Stamets, still upset over how Burnham removed him from the Discovery as he was trying to save Hugh. Martin-Green confirmed this story will not be ignored in season four:
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.
In her TV Insider interview Michelle Paradise indicated Stamets will get over it:
Obviously, he’s gutted at the idea he can’t go back in that specific moment to rescue Culber and Adira and Saru, but because Burnham has a bit more distance, she understands, but she also knows that the Federation is at stake, everything that means, everything they’ve built is in danger if they don’t solve the problem here and now. Ultimately he’s going to understand that she was doing what she needed to do in the moment and the thing he couldn’t do.
Paradise also confirmed some other storylines that will be picked up in season four:
We will absolutely follow up [Gray being seen] in Season 4. That storyline is incredibly important to us…
It was really fun to watch those two [Michael and Book] come together and grow together and I expect we’ll be seeing more of them in Season 4…
[Saru] sees strength in [Tilly] she doesn’t quite see in herself necessarily and then watching her over the course of the season become more confident in herself to the place where she’s ultimately able to serve as Number One and then no one sees it coming but having to essentially be acting captain in this crisis situation and she handles herself beautifully. What does that mean to come is I’m sure a question she’ll be asking herself and we’ll be exploring in Season 4.
Keep up with all the news and reviews from the new Star Trek Universe on TV at TrekMovie.com.