There are indications that the fifth season of Star Trek: Discovery is about to start production and co-showrunner Michelle Paradise is talking about how they are sticking with serialized storytelling.
Season 5 production is about to start
It looks like the production hiatus is over for Star Trek: Discovery. Season four wrapped last August, but the cast and crew are back in Toronto for season five. The first indication came earlier in the week from Michelle Paradise with a “Hello, Toronto” tweet along with a shot of the bridge set.
— Michelle Paradise (@michelleparadis) June 6, 2022
However, this was not a sign that filming had started, but the executive producer is Toronto to work on production prep for the season. It’s likely she wrote (or co-wrote) the season premiere, as she has done in the previous two seasons after being made co-showrunner. Industry reports have production set to start next week, possibly as early as Monday the 13th.
And on Thursday Wilson Cruz (Dr. Culber) shared an image showing how at age 48, he is still in fighting shape, with the simple message “Season 5…? READY!” Cruz previously shared he was in Toronto for the week, however, he is returning to New York City to present at the Tony Awards on Sunday.
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And the biggest sign shooting is about to start came Saturday morning when Doug Jones (Saru) shared a video and images of his annual ritual of shaving his head, which is done to make getting in and out of the Kelpien makeup easier. Here is his before and after shot with the message that includes “Here goes season 5 filming of Star Trek: Discovery!” And at age 62, Jones looks in fighting shape too.
It’s that time!
Nobody makes me do this, it’s my own choice to save time bald capping, and for a better stick of my Saru bits. Here goes season 5 filming of Star Trek: Discovery! pic.twitter.com/oVUcjUNLW2
— Doug Jones (@actordougjones) June 11, 2022
Showrunner talks serialized Discovery vs. episodic Strange New Worlds
Michelle Paradise along with series stars Sonequa Martin-Green [Captain Burnham] and David Ajala [Cleveland Booker] took part in an online panel for The Wrap this week talking about Discovery. There were no details about season five, however, when asked by the moderator if she felt any competition with Strange New Worlds and its episodic format, Paradise made it clear she does not, saying:
No, there’s absolutely no competition at all. And one of the things to Alex [Kurtzman]’s credit that he has said from the beginning is that each of these shows needs to occupy its own space within the larger universe because you don’t want two shows that feel very, very similar. So Discovery and Strange New Worlds, for example, feel very different by design. And Discovery is heavily serialized. And when Strange New Worlds came out, I know, they worked very hard to make sure that it would be its own distinct thing.
And we are aware as writers and showrunners for all of the shows, we all get together on a pretty regular basis and talk to one another to make sure that the storylines aren’t overlapping. And in ways that don’t make sense for the larger universe. We talk about all of that stuff so that we are aware of those things. Because all of us want to make sure that the shows that we helped shepherd continue to occupy their own space, but that it all feels of a larger piece that Alex and his team at Secret Hideout kind of oversee all of them. But there’s not a competition. We love what they’re doing.
When asked if she had a preference between each style, Paradise again talked up serialization:
I’m not quite sure how to answer that because I’ve done both. And they both have their unique challenges and also wonderful creative opportunities. It’s such a cool thing at the beginning of every season of Discovery to start thinking about: What will be our big idea for the season? What are our big themes for the season? Who’s our big bad of the season? If we have a big bad. Or what’s the big obstacle? What is Burnham’s journey going to be this season? And how does that tie in with it all? Each of our characters, Book and Culber and Stamets, all the characters, Tilly… what are their journeys going to be this season? To get to look at that and to get to look at it over however many episodes we have is a really, really cool thing. And you get to dig really deep into one kind of idea.
And then for the episodic it’s really fun because every episode–every in serialized is also “what if?” but you have a sandbox that you’re playing in for the season. On the other side, it’s the “what if?” for this particular episode. And of course, you’ve got characters that you’re building around and all of that. But they’re very different things and different creative opportunities. And I love that there are different iterations of Star Trek out there right now because some people really love serialized storytelling, and the episodic isn’t quite their thing. And some people love the episodic. and some people love both. It just it seems really like a really cool time to be a fan of Star Trek that you have all of these options on the table.
Season 5 Tilly?
It might be worth noting that Paradise mentioned Tilly’s arc as they develop each season. She may have been speaking of past seasons, however, this could be a clue about season five. Mary Wiseman exited Discovery as a series regular early on in season four but did return in the season finale. Wiseman’s Tilly left the USS Discovery for a position at Starfleet Academy. Speaking to TrekMovie earlier this year, Paradise said:
We’ll never be done with Tilly. [laughs] Everybody loves Tilly. I can’t spoil anything into season five, except to say that we love Tilly. I expect that we’ll have her in the world and all of those things. She’s not going anywhere.
Watch the full Discovery panel
Here is the discussion with Paradise, Ajala, and Martin-Green from earlier this week.
Find more Discovery news and analysis.