Even though season three just wrapped up a few weeks ago, Star Trek: Discovery is already in its third month of production on season four. We have been getting some hints as to what’s coming next and now the co-showrunner is teasing out some more information, including an interesting detail about next season’s big bad.
Deep dive into science and a different kind of villain
Star Trek: Discovery co-showrunners Alex Kurtzman and Michelle Paradise, along with star Sonequa Martin-Green, participated in an online panel with Deadline, primarily about season three of Discovery, but there was a brief discussion about season four as the event wrapped up. As always, Kurtzman was careful about what he said, but he did offer some new tidbits:
We’re actually exploring – we’re diving deep into science – in the fourth season, in a kind of new and interesting way.
He then made a cryptic comment about season four’s main adversary:
There have been many kinds of villains over the course of Star Trek. What happens when the villain is not actually any kind of living, breathing entity, but something else? How do you solve that problem?
Kurtzman admitted he was “trying to be cryptic,” so it’s not clear if the deep dive into science was related to this different kind of villain. Season one’s villains were the Klingons, but season two’s turned turned out to be an AI (Control) which also manifested in what appeared to be living entities, like Leland. That makes it likely Kurtzman isn’t talking about a technological villain.
Culture clashes for a growing Federation
It has previously been revealed that a “big part” of season four will be about Captain Michael Burnham and the USS Discovery bringing new cultures into the reborn 32nd-century Federation. In the Deadline chat, Kurtzman expanded on that, talking about what kind of challenges they will face with this mission:
The Federation is coming back together but it’s not fully back together. And so the continued mission of bringing other worlds in and meeting the criteria and standards of what it means to be a member of the Federation but also not to rob other cultures of their identity is something that we’ll explore.
Book and Burnham put to the test
In addition to dealing with bringing new cultures into the Federation, Kurtzman outlined that some of Burnham’s challenges will be closer to home:
Burnham has spent a lot of time thinking she had to be one thing or the other and ended the season being rewarded with the captain’s chair for being two different things. Vance basically says, ‘You don’t have to pick. You do things your way and that’s why I want you in the chair. Because you’re always ultimately fighting for what’s right.’ Burnham is going to have to keep figuring that out. She’s going to have to keep learning what that means. Her relationship with Book will be tested in many ways, for reasons that I won’t tell you.