The fourth season of Star Trek: Discovery arrives in just one month and so we are now taking a deeper look at the trailer released during New York Comic Con to get a better sense of what to expect. As with all of our analyses, it is based on previous reporting, along with some educated speculation. And of course, it contains potential spoilers.
For this analysis, we are taking the trailer in the order as it was presented, but grouping it into different sections that seem to have a theme or specific revelation. Of course, it should not be assumed the trailer presents these moments in the same order as they will appear in the season.
Into the anomaly
Early on the executive producers of Star Trek: Discovery revealed that the season will not have a traditional villain, rather it will deal with a gravitational anomaly that is threatening the galaxy, beyond just the Federation in the 32nd century. We saw evidence of this anomaly and its destruction in the previous trailer released in April.
The new trailer kicks off with Tilly in voiceover saying “Life is just a blink” as we see a closeup on Captain Michael Burnham’s eye as she faces the unkown.
[COSTUME DETAIL: Burham is wearing new tactical armor. Her version is somewhat different than armor others are wearing in the trailer. Possibly the captain’s version is unique. Hers appears to have lost its badge, with her name and serial number embossed directly on the chest piece.]
The USS Discovery pierces the outer layer of the anomaly.
As the ship enters, Burnham is thrown around and flashes to a memory of being in bed with Cleveland “Book” Booker.
Tilly’s voiceover returns with “It is one heartbeat, in the entire lifespan of the universe” as the ship enters the vast anomaly.
Flash to Burham in sickbay, awakened by Dr. Culber and Book.
Briefing Starfleet on the anomaly
Next in the trailer (although likely earlier in the season), the USS Discovery visits Starfleet HQ, with a number of other 32nd century Starfleet ships present.
Burnham on the bridge says, “Today we seek to understand a threat like none our galaxy has faced before.”
Now inside Starfleet HQ, Commander-in-Chief Vance asks, “What exactly is this anomaly?”
Commander Paul Stamets answers, “We are not certain.” In his TrekMovie interview earlier this year, actor Anthony Rapp revealed Stamets “is tasked with trying to figure out what the hell this thing is,” so he appears to be heading up the scientific investigation of the anomaly.
This briefing is intercut with shots of the USS Discovery encountering the anomaly.
Book’s ship is struck while encountering the anomaly; he says, “Our ship was hit by something.”
More shots of the USS Discovery getting damaged and thrown about the anomaly, with sparks flying.
The President rallies the galaxy
At the same gathering at Starfleet HQ, a mix of Starfleet, Federation, and non-Federation beings are present.
Federation President Rillak (a new character played by Chelah Horsdal who is a mix of Human, Bajoran, and Cardassian) addresses the assembly. “Together we will meet this threat to our shared galaxy.”
Attendees look on, including the Ni’Var President T’Rina, an Orion (possibly a representative of the Emerald Chain), and a Ferengi Starfleet captain.
One shot of those assembled at the summit includes a human (or humanoid) member of the Federation and a representative of the Osnullus species. The screens in front of each indicate voting.
Saru is also at the summit, wearing his Starfleet captain’s uniform, standing next to Tilly, Stamets, and Burnham. A graphic of the anomaly shows it destroying a planet.
Speaking to Burnham, Saru says, “Until we understand the anomaly well enough to predict its path, billions more lives will be at risk.”
Michael replies, “Not on our watch.”
Prez is concerned about Michael’s balance
President Rillak tells Burham, “Leadership is about balance.”
Over shots of Michael and Book fleeing from phaser blasts in an alien forest, Rillak continues, “Your acts of bravery are huge swings of the pendulum…”
She continues. “There is a very fine line between a pendulum and a wrecking ball.”
Michael looks chastened as the Prez walks off.
Ignoring the warning
The USS Discovery heads out from Starfleet HQ.
Detmer says to Burnham, “It’ll be bumpy; we can be destroyed.”
Tilly (in tactical armor) asks Burnham, “We’re totally going to ignore that warning aren’t we?” Michael responds, “Mhmm.”
Jett Reno says, “Oh well, I’ve lived a good life.”
Ready for action
The USS Discovery engages the spore drive.
Burnham walks through ruins with Tilly and her mother Gabrielle Burnham. While Gabrielle carries a sword as a member of the Qowat Milat, so too do Burham and Tilly. Burham in voiceover says, “With so much at stake…”
Voiceover continues, “…countless lives…” as Tilly attends an unknown severely injured crewperson.
Michael continues, “…futures…” as she addresses an assembled group of officers in the Discovery hanger deck.
[COSTUME DETAIL: Burnham is in a new dress uniform. The assembled group are wearing an unfamiliar uniform of primarily gray, with a large blue stripe along both left and ride sides.]
The ship approaches the anomaly, with Stamets and Captain Saru on the bridge with Captain Burnham.
Now in the captain’s chair, Burnham concludes, “Once we enter the anomaly, we are going where no one has gone before.”
The speech is interspersed with close-ups of Tilly, Rhys, and Adira.
Into the action… together
Book’s ship flies towards the gravitational anomaly, dragging a tether.
A hooded figure wields a sword.
Saru, in civilian clothes on Kaminar (note Kelpien language script on the floor), opens a galaxy map hologram.
Burnham continues in voiceover,. “Wherever we come from…” as she removes the covering from a dead unknown alien.
Two young Qowat Milat spar.
Voiceover continues, “…whatever our experiences…” as Burnham and Book seek cover from an explosion inside an unknown facility.
Book looks on as a child runs through a forest, possibly on his home planet of Kwejian. Both he and the child wear the same outfit, indicating he could possibly be another empath. This may be his nephew Leto, or possibly a memory of his brother Kyheem.
On a snowy planet, Tilly tells Adira (also in tactical armor), “You got this.”
[COSTUME DETAIL: You can see how their version of the new tactical armor is different from Captain Burnham’s]
Tilly and Adira walk on the snowy planet with three other crew people.
Michael hugs Book and in voiceover, she says, “We’re all in this together.”
The action really ramps up with quicker cuts, starting with the hooded figure with a sword taking on a Discovery crewman.
And Michael fights back with her own sword
Book is in distress in the spore chamber.
An alien man (or possibly a human with a brand on his forehead) yells at Captain Saru.
A Qowat Milat nun sticks a sword in the black hooded figure.
The bridge crew (including Captain Saru, who wears a new pin) flies up, affected by the gravitational anomaly.
Gray is real
Gray is seen briefly wearing white and looking emotional and touching his chest. In season two, Gray was mostly seen through visions of Adira, and was always wearing the same outfit. In his recent TrekMovie interview, Wilson Cruz spoke about how Dr. Culber will make Gray “seen” and corporeal again.
Holding on to hope
Dr. Culber tells Kovich, “I’ve got to have hope that we’ll find a way to stop it.”
A Discovery crewperson trains with the Qowat Milat.
Stamets looks concerned as sparks fly on the Discovery.
Culber, Tilly, and Adira assess the damage to the USS Discovery.
Captain Burnham, in spacesuit, approaches an unknown ship or space facility.
Qowat Milat nuns fight hooded black figures on Book’s ship.
Owosekun spars in the ring as Captain Burnham watches.
Book jumps over a console on his ship to avoid an explosion.
Back on the snowy planet, Tilly looks concerned as Burnham is heard in voiceover again: “We cannot let fear define us in this moment.” An alien Starfleet officer can be seen behind her, possibly a Tellarite or even a Nausicaan.
Back on the Discovery bridge with sparks flying, Captain Burham is alone in her spacesuit.
In their quarters, Adira shares a moment with Gray (in his ghost outfit).
Back to Earth?
Book’s ship comes out of warp at what looks like Earth’s moon. Burnham is onboard with Tilly, her mother, and another member of the Qowat Milat. Michael and Tilly smile at the sight.
Back to her speech in the shuttle bay, Michael in voiceover says, “The future remains uncertain.” At the NYCC panel, showrunner Michelle Paradise says “uncertainty” was the main theme of season four.
Michael and Book traverse an alien planet.
An Orion, a Tellarite, and two humans (or humanoids) fire phasers at something. They are possibly members of the Emerald Chain.
Anything is possible
T’Rina places her hands on Saru’s.
Burnham in her spacesuit on the Discovery with sparks flying, with her voiceover saying, “But the captain in me knows anything is possible.”
The Federation President hands Ni’Var President T’Rina a Federation flag, indicating that the Vulcans (along with their Romulan cousins) are rejoining the Federation. Michael and Saru look on, wearing dress uniforms.
Michael and Saru, likely on Kaminar.
Tilly and Michael share a moment of laughter and hugging on the USS Discovery.
Detmer gets ready as Michael sits in the captain’s chair, wearing her season 4 standard uniform.
Captain Burnham in the captain’s chair.
[COSTUME DETAIL: Here she is wearing yet another outfit, this time a new leather captain’s jacket.]
Captain Saru says (wryly), “Ready when you are, captain.”
Captain Burnham says her new catchphrase, “Let’s fly.”
The USS Discovery warps away.
Season four is making good on the promise of bringing the Federation slowly back together, with the anomaly threat possibly being a catalyst. Earth could be part of this, as the Federation really can’t be seen as truly back together until Earth is back in the fold. This gravitational anomaly seemingly dominates the season, providing drama to the plot and motivation for the characters themselves. It also continues the pattern for this show to have “save the galaxy” stakes each season.
Even without a group of bad guys to fight, season four looks to be just as action-packed as previous seasons of Discovery. The Qowat Milat appear to have a big part to play, with some members possibly joining the crew for the mission. It could be that there is a reason the crew needs their help and training, perhaps for entering a region where Starfleet weapons cannot be used.
As the newly minted captain of the USS Discovery, Burnham may be going through some growing pains and appears to also be honoring the longstanding Star Trek tradition of defying orders when deemed necessary. Burnham is also honoring the tradition of the captain having a lot of outfits as well. To help her on her mission she will have the support of Captain Saru, who rejoins the USS Discovery, and there is no indication (yet) that having two captains onboard is a problem.
We are going to get a little (and sadly maybe just a little) of the acerbic Reno, the enigmatic Kovich, and the stoic Vance. President Rillak looks to be an interesting new character, with her own unique background. Oh, and Grudge is back too.
One month away
Star Trek: Discovery season four debuts on November 18. It streams exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. In Canada Discovery is broadcast on CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave. It is also available on Netflix in 190 countries around the world.
Keep up with all the news and reviews from the new Star Trek Universe on TV at TrekMovie.com.