‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 5 To Debut At SXSW In March; Premiere Episode Synopsis Revealed

The fifth and final season of Star Trek: Discovery will debut on Paramount+ in April, but if you are attending SXSW in March you can catch the world premiere of the first episode.

Disco at SXSW

The annual SXSW conference in Austin, TX highlights “the most important breakthroughs in technology, film, culture, and music.” This year SXSW runs from March 8-16 and the Film and TV Lineup was announced this morning and it includes Star Trek: Discovery. There will be a panel discussion and Q&A but Paramount+ has not yet confirmed details on who will be attending. The specific date for the Discovery season 5 world premiere at SXSW has not yet been set.

season 5 cast photo (Paramount+)

Premiere synopsis

Paramount has already revealed a synopsis for the season focusing on the USS Discovery “uncovering a mystery that will send them on an epic adventure across the galaxy to find an ancient power whose very existence has been deliberately hidden for centuries.” The season will see Captain Burnham and the crew on the “hunt” for this mystery, facing competition from “dangerous foes who are desperate to claim the prize for themselves.”

The SXSW site includes more details for the season premiere (previously reported to be titled “Red Directive“), revealing specifically what the USS Discovery is hunting, or possibly the first stage of their season quest. Here is the synopsis:

Captain Burnham and the U.S.S. Discovery are sent to retrieve a mysterious 800-year-old Romulan vessel; until the artifact hidden inside is stolen, leading to an epic chase. Meanwhile, Saru is offered the position of a lifetime, and Tilly’s efforts to help pull her into a tangled web of secrecy.

As Discovery is set in the 32nd century, this would mean the Romulan vessel is from the 24th century, likely from the Star Trek: The Next Generation era. The Romulans were first introduced as a mysterious adversary in the classic Star Trek episode “The Balance of Terror.” They returned in the first season finale of TNG (“The Neutral Zone”), and appeared regularly throughout TNG, Deep Space Nine, and were also a big part of Star Trek: Enterprise, set in the 22nd century. The destruction of Romulus late in the 24th century is also tied into the 2009 Star Trek movie with Star Trek: Picard picking up on the Romulan refugee crisis.

The Romulan ship and chase can be seen in earlier clips

The above description now provides more context for some previously released clips. A Romulan ship, looking a lot like the 23rd century Romulan science ship (as seen in TNG “The Next Phase”), can be seen in this promotional clip from last year, it also looks like the first seconds of the video show us the inside of the ship too.

The derelict ship in Discovery season 5

A Romulan science vessel from TNG

At San Diego Comic-Con 2023, Paramount released a 5-minute clip of the opening moments of the season premiere. It starts with Captain Burnham facing off with the season 5 villains L’ak (Elias Toufexis) and Moll (Eve Harlow). Apparently this moment is set on this Romulan ship before L’ak and Moll escape with the “artifact” leading to the “epic chase” as described above. In the clip, you can also hear the voice of Starfleet Captain Rayner (Callum Keith Rennie) who is also pursuing L’ak and Moll.

The hunt for the artifact

You can also see more images of this artifact (now known to have been found on a 24th century Romulan ship) in the trailer released way back at New York Comic Con 2022.

Paramount+ announced the final season will debut in April around the world, but they have not yet set a specific date. A clip was released at CCXP last month.

Discovery seasons one through four are currently streaming exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., the U.K., Switzerland, South Korea, Latin America, Germany, France, Italy, Australia and Austria. Seasons two and three are also available on the Pluto TV “Star Trek” channel in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel.

Keep up with news for the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.

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Interesting! I wonder if this will tie in with the Romulan Relocation.

Another site has a closeup of the Romulan ship. It looks like a 24th Century Romulan Science Ship (same as from The Next Phase).

Yeah their shot is from a preview clip released back in July.

Wow nice! I don’t think we have seen a 24th century Romulan vessels in any of the live action shows at least.

We did see a TOS era one in ST Picard tho :-)

I’m not sure how tho. I mean what amazing piece of tech would have been tied to the Romulan relocation? If anything if they had amazing tech maybe they wouldn’t have needed to relocate?

Maybe it was the cause of the nova?

I don’t want to cause a canon debate, but the first Picard tie-in suggested the nova wasn’t natural.

Sure I guess perhaps? In Trek canon per Star Trek Generations Trilitium can cause a supernova.

True, but the Romulans apparently knew about the Nova risk 5-6 years before it actually happened.

To quote Ambassador Spock: ‘fascinating’!

“Quite fascinating”

When the sarcophagus ship designs got leaked online, before season one, I kind of guessed the show would have a premise similar to what this season looks to be about, except with Klingons instead of Romulans.

It’s looking like post-jump Discovery and Picard season one have done a good job of fleshing out Romulan culture more than maybe any other Trek shows.

except the writing was awful. Plus always nice to have a little bit of mystery around the Romulans

I remember reading all of Michael Chabon’s thoughtful posts expounding on the intricacies of Romulan society and thinking, “That’s amazing! Now why the hell was none of that onscreen at all?”

Personally I think DS9 and the latter 1/2 of TNG did that better than anyone else thus far.


Wow! Another mystery to watch unfurl! I can’t wait to spend the season unravelling it only to be led to a probable mundane conclusion. Only real hope is that the journey is more interesting than the destination. Hasn’t really been in this series so far.

Better not be another whining man child…

LOL agreed!

Maybe it’s Picard…

I really hope they don’t pull a sneak and cross-pollinate Picard into this show. Just the thought gives me bad chills.

If it’s the Romulans wouldn’t it be another Shinzon?

Or a crying 24th century baby they find.

“Captain Burnham and the U.S.S. Discovery are sent to retrieve a mysterious 800-year-old Romulan vessel; until the artifact hidden inside is stolen, leading to an epic chase.”

See, something likes this truly excites me! I absolutely love the Romulans, easily one of my favorite species in all of Star Trek and another reason I was excited for Picard. It was TNG that truly made me love them. So this alone has made me more interested in the season now.

I want to love this season of Discovery but I wanted to love every season but was completely let down again and again. I hope this season that will finally happen.

While Discovery is hands down my least favorite show, this does have me intrigued. I really do want to know what in the 24th century the Romulan had that is so important that we apparently never saw in canon.

An ancient, non-scientific and magical MacGuffin.

Knowing this show… Probably…

As if Picard S3 didn’t fulfill this critique in spades.

It did, but that doesn’t negate the fact.

Fair enough!

MUSHROOMS! Full circle ;-)


The Romulans stole a Quark 2000 replicator to get some of those special zany refreshments and now the hunt is on for every species in the Alpha Quadrant to get their hands on it!

HAHA, I gotta admit, I would totally steal one of those! I can’t cook for *****

I loved Discovery right from the start. They weren’t afraid to try new things. And when fans complained about the design of the Klingons… they listened and changed them. Not enough? Okay, let’s leave it behind. Don’t like the setting of just before Kirk? Okay, let’s take them to a new setting in the future. They tried things no other show has. They broke away from the planned show and took it away to a time after any known Trek setting. I love how unconventional it is and it is a shame that they are ending it when they finally found their stride. I know that budgets in streaming services right now are being cut everywhere. Look what they are doing for Superman and Lois… they got rid of almost all the regular cast to save money. Look how many shows have been cancelled on other streaming services. Even a show like Marvel’s ECHO was only 5 episodes.

Fascinating. On one hand, I wish those who plan to watch the final season of Star Trek: Discovery the best of luck. On the other hand, I’m more hyped about season two of Prodigy on the latter’s new home: Netflix.

This sounds great. Can´t wait!

Hmmm, what did the Romulan have that Starfleet did not? I know they were experimenting with transphasic cloaking tech but Admiral Pressman (I know think of as Section 31) already did it better. Maybe Android information that ties into the events of Picard Season 2?

i still cant get over the way it was cancelled… what i mean is paramount paid back netflix 100 million dollars to get back the worldwide rights of discovery right before season 4 aired. netflix intl rights paid for the entire series.
-then they (paramount) proudly announce it to the world that they have disco all to themselves.
-they make season 5 on their own, without netflix money coming in, and cancel it before it even airs. it’s so strange.

if you like disco or dont like disco, it that has nothing to do with it… the fact that they spent so much and gave up so much money to get it back and then end it before their first season on their own even airs is incredibly bizarre.

That also reduced the episode count per season from 13 to 10. Clearly Paramount did not think this through. Had they not paid $100M to Netflix to get back the worldwide rights, the fifth season would would have probably stayed at an episode count of 13. It’s also likely the writers would have been given space to create a proper final season (without have to reshoot a season a finale).

they actually could have just kept going. would have been no reason to end it. producers said they could see it going 7 seasons. netflix was paying for the whole show so there was no down side. the only thing i can think of is they didn’t want netflix owning any spinoff series? if that was part of the deal they had. so the phillipa series and the academy spinoff and snw maybe would have belonged to netflix internationally? but why then make a big deal about getting it back. and they could have just renegotiated. if you remember when they pulled it, there was no plans on how to get the show to international audiences. i was personally sending downloads to some people overseas so they could watch it.

Wow! I didn’t know all that. It does seem bizarre. Almost like maybe season 5 is a DISASTER! But I refuse to actually believe that because I am a forever optimist when it comes to Trek … seriously.

i doubt it… same show cast writers… it’s gonna be good like the others… they don’t just make these seasons in a bubble and hand it in completed and paramount just gets what is turned in. they see all the scripts… they give notes… everyone is involved from beginning to end.

and by delaying it a year it’s their big show for 2024.

but there is definitely something missing. if you remember when they took it back from netflix, there was no plans a week before it was to premiere, on how to get it to fans overseas. then they scrambled. the whole thing is bizarre. we will probably never know.

Pulling the show so abruptly from Netflix without a replacement plan in place really seems like a stupid decision. Maybe they would have been “locked in” for several years if they hadn’t pulled out at that time. In your other comment you mentioned spinoffs. I’ve also read that Netflix had a first-look option for any Discovery spinoff so it’s possible Paramount severed its ties with Netflix to exploit all of its planned spinoffs on their own.
My guess is that the new subscriptions generated by the international rollout of P+ haven’t been enough to offset whatever Netflix used to pay for the show.

Paramount basically acted like those petulant children in the playground who wants to get all the toys and keep them for themselves and then getting bored with the same toys after playing with them for a short time. They acted childish to the extreme.

I hadn’t heard the specific numbers you mention but I have long speculated that the removal from Netflix may have been an important reason behind the cancellation.
Like you say, Netflix paid for a large chunk of the show’s budget, maybe even the full budget. So why pull it from Netflix? Paramount probably had high hopes that bringing Discovery “home” would help the international rollout of Paramount+ outside North America (it wouldn’t change things in the US).
While SNW S2 and Picard S3 have made the Nielsen streaming charts we still don’t know if the numbers are actually good enough to justify the costs. For Picard, Paramount+ probably had a similar financing agreement with Amazon Prime as they had with Netflix for Discovery. So the only live-action show that P+ is actually financing on its own is SNW. Some people have claimed that SNW has a lower budget and that it looks “cheaper” in parts.
From what has been reported, the cancellation was decided after the season had already been shot. There is a possibility that Paramount+ looked at the numbers for Picard and SNW (and the numbers Discovery rewatches have been getting on the service) and predicted based on that that Discovery wouldn’t perform well enough to support more seasons. They could have waited for the show’s actual numbers upon release (basically hoping for better than expected performance) but then the show may have ended without a finale if they decided to cancel it anyway.

The economics changed. When Discovery debuted, streamers were spending money without giving it a second thought. Total viewership was secondary to flooding libraries with content. Then money got tighter and numbers suddenly mattered. Best guess is that DIscovery’s numbers just weren’t on par with SNW and Picard and the money wasn’t there to produce more than two live-action series.

While I’d have loved to see a live action D’deridex class again, I’m just happy they didn’t trot out that bland new warbird they made for Picard.

So much for all the BS we hear from that cabal here about how it’s only a small group of fans that likes this show. If that were the case, they wouldn’t be premiering this at SXSW — I know some of the people who put on that convention and they don’t let stuff go on the program that they are not convinced will generate buzz and a very sizable audience for.

Gurl you know I love DSC and I am so freaking excited. Bring it on … my only complaint is that we will not get a sixth (and planned final) season. But things are what they are … let’s show DSC all the love … this final season sounds amazing!!


This looks terrible, but I’m happy for those who don’t think it looks terrible. The clip almost gave me a seizure.

Yeah we can feel your joy for all of us.

Thank you so much!


A story involving Romulans and ancient artifacts is kind of giving me Gambit vibes.

I mentioned “Gambit” in my comment on the other site. How cool would it be if the “ancient artifacts” were actually relics from the Debrune (mentioned in “Gambit”) or some other offshoot race of the Romulans or Vulcans?

If this show delivered GAMBIT level fun, I’d be flabbergasted (and would actually want to watch it.)
For my money, GAMBIT and THE CHASE were the most TOS-like (in a good way) of TNG shows.

Another mystery box. “Yay”.

My latinum is still on the Iconians.

I forgot how idiotically over the top that clip was. And the way Burnham just walks through the viewscreen and sits in the chair. Cringe.

everything makes you cringe. that is all you talk about. *yawn*

Bad Trek makes me cringe.

I think she was beamed. it’s the future!

I get that she was beamed or whatever the viewscreen. It’s the silent walk to the chair and sit down that’s just silly and trying too hard.

Exactly. Just strolls to her chair like she had just stepped outside for some fresh air.

I haven’t heard you praise ANYTHING Trek… so I am not sure what you are talking about.

Sounds remarkably similar to your general attitude here? ;-)