Analysis: ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 5 Trailer Reveals Puzzles, Clues And A Visit To [SPOILER]

Analyzing the Discovery season 5 trailer - TrekMovie

The official Star Trek: Discovery season 5 trailer released on Friday reveals a lot more than what could be seen in the first look trailer released at NYCC 2022. Once again, we’re putting on our analysis caps to sort through it and add context from what we already know about the show’s final season, which arrives on Paramount+ on April 4. SPOILERS ahead!

A family comes together for the end of a journey

The trailer sets a somber tone as it starts off with some establishing shots, beginning with the USS Discovery approaching a city in the clouds.

We can hear the voice of Captain Michael Burnham as she peers through the window:

It has been a hell of a journey… but everything ends some day.

We transition to the Discovery leaving Starfleet HQ,  then see inside HQ with Saru and N’Var president T’Rina. We hear Captain Saru’s voice-over…

The Discovery is my home, my family.

Michael is reunited with her partner Cleveland “Book” Booker in the USS Discovery shuttle bay, possibly returning from his Starfleet-sanctioned sentence in season 4. We hear Dr. Hugh Culber in voice-over:

We’ve always been able to find answers together.

The bridge crew of the USS Discovery gets into action as we hear Sylvia Tilly (back for season 5 after leaving the USS Discovery for Starfleet Academy in season 4) in voice-over and she can be seen in the forefront…

Being a part of a crew, being where you need to be when you need to be, that’s Starfleet.

NEW CHARACTER DETAIL: Approaching Michael Burnham and the captain’s chair is new cast member Callum Keith Rennie as Captain Rayner of Ni’Var. Also on the bridge are Booker, Stamets, and Linus.

This intro wraps up with Burnham and Saru on the Discovery (now in tactical gear), exchanging some quick banter ahead of a mission…

Burnham: Last dance?

Saru: I shall follow your lead.

… and above a planet with a large cloud-break formation, the Disco activates the spore drive.

Kovich’s treasure hunt

The fifth season sees the crew uncover 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,” according to the official synopsis. The next bit of the trailer has the mysterious Kovich setting the stakes…

The greatest treasure in the known galaxy is out there… it’s more important than you can imagine.

The moment includes this shot, which could also be Kovich in some mysterious alien location (or a simulation of one)…

The artifact… and the competition

The synopsis for the first episode has the Discovery being sent to retrieve an “artifact” from a “mysterious 800-year-old Romulan vessel” (more on that later). Kovich’s talk of treasure is intercut with shots of a puzzle box with Captains Burnham and Rayner in voice-over…

Burnham: We are on a search for one of the greatest powers ever known.

Rayner: It can be very dangerous in the wrong hands.

The puzzle box is opened by someone.

EASTER EGG: A self-sealing stembolt is on the table next to the puzzle box.

The box looks like it is being opened in a sandy desert bazaar. We can also see a quick shot of the season 5 antagonists Moll (Eve Harlow) and L’ak (Elias Toufexis) entering.

Later in the trailer, Burnham and Book can also be seen undercover in the same location.

The baddies

We get another look at Moll and L’ak later in the trailer from what we now know is the opening scene of the series, where Burnham confronts them on that old Romulan ship.

After testing the air, they take off their helmets…

It appears they get to the artifact first and escape. This was also in the clip released at SDCC 2023.

Shootout in the MU?

You get an even better look at the baddies later in the trailer in a firefight scene. L’ak has a cool new weapon (or maybe an Emerald Chain weapon?) and he is also holding what could be a container, a grenade, or another device.

LOCATION DETAIL: It appears this scene was filmed on a redress of the USS Enterprise sickbay set from Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

CANON DETAIL: Looking closely at the screens behind L’ak, you can see displays with the symbol of the Terran Empire from the Mirror Universe. Discovery has visited the Mirror Universe before, but only in the 23rd century. According to Trek canon, by the 24th century, the Terran Empire had fallen to the Klingon Cardassian Alliance. And in Discovery season 3 Kovich revealed that the Mirror and Prime universes had drifted so far apart by the 32nd century, there had been no crossings in five hundred years. Discovery could be traveling to the MU in the past, or this could be an old ship from the MU that has survived into the 32nd century.

The 23rd centuryTerran Empire symbol seen in the season 3 episode “Terra Firma, Part 1”

There’s more from this shootout showing Moll, Book, and Burnham…

There is also a single-frame close-up of a device high up on the wall which could be some kind of security device or possibly a Mirror version of Zora.

Symbols and clues

Deciphering symbols like those that appear on the puzzle box appears to be a key part of the new season, as they are prominently featured on the season 5 poster released earlier this month. There are a few moments in the trailer featuring the search for clues, including Michael looking at a symbol on her computer…

There’s also a shot of Adira and Tilly examining a symbol on a wall…

They both appear to have symbols on their foreheads, which is clearer in this shot of Tilly…

CANON CONNECTION?: The symbols on foreheads are reminiscent of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Masks,” which included some mysterious forehead symbology from the ancient D’Arsay civilization. Probably just a coincidence, but who knows?

At some point, their research will take them to a space library…

LOCATION DETAIL: This was shot at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto.

In his lab, Stamets puts a device together.

Next, holding what may be an intricate key, he tells Tilly:

This clue is the most important thing… We have to keep it safe.

Saru and Michael’s jungle adventure

There are a couple of establishing shots of a jungle planet with ruins, potentially related to the “greatest treasure” Kovich mentioned.

Michael and Saru (in their tactical gear) look out on a vista which may be on the same planet. Another ancient structure can be seen in the distance.

Later in the trailer, Michael passes an old statue with small drones flying out of it…

And Saru dives into a cave to avoid phaser fire (possibly from those drones)…

Desert chase

There are a few shots of a speed bike chase in the desert, which may be on the same planet as the bazaar from above.

Captain Burnham, Captain Rayner, and (probably) Book are being chased by a ship that is firing on them.

This appears to be Moll and L’ak’s ship, which can be seen in space as well.

Back to the Quarry

There are a few more quick shots of different places in the trailer, including a rocky location where Burnham, Book, and Culber look up…

Michael and Book are chased by an alien monster at night in another rocky location…

LOCATION DETAIL: Both of these shots appear to have been filmed at the Lafarge Quarry outside of Toronto, which has become the Vasquez Rocks for the new Star Trek shows filmed in Canada.


This other shot of Michael jumping could be in the same location…

And this other shot of Michael jumping happens in some fancy sci-fi location…

Space stuff

There is also plenty of space action without much context. This includes a fleet of alien ships being destroyed…

And the USS Discovery being chased by what appears to be some of those same ships…

USS Discovery flying through turbulent part of space…

And flying by what appears to be two black holes…

The trailer ends with a nice shot of the Disco approaching a planet under much less stressful conditions…

Random character moments

The trailer is also full of quick shots of various characters, usually without context. For example, here we have Captain Rayner screaming…

Joann Owosekun looking concerned on the bridge…

A closeup of Saru’s eye dilating…

Michael looking up in awe…

Adira, Reno, and Tilly all staring at (or hearing) something on the ship…

An injured Captain Burnham uses her catchphrase, “Let’s fly…”
Michael Burnham in season 5 of Star Trek: Discovery

Back to family

The trailer wraps up with a focus on the bonds between these characters, starting with Michael and Book…

… and as a nice moment with Michael and Saru in his quarters.

Michael can be heard in voice-over as we cut to shots of different pairs: Adira and Reno, Stamets and Culber, and Tilly and Michael.

My crew. A family we found in Starfleet. We made a pretty good team

Watch it again

Discovery season 5 arrives with a 2-episode premiere on Paramount+ on April 4.

Keep up with news for the Star Trek Universe at

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It’s very weird seeing a GREEN jungle on Discovery. Literally the only colours this show has used in the past four seasons has been blue and red/amber. I mean, just look at literally every other trailer screenshot on this page.

The spoiler in the title must refer to visit to the same quarry they’re in every season ;P

How very Classic Doctor Who of them.

Oh look. Rocks!

Sorry this looks very boring. Just like the last two seasons

Well I guess we won’t have to worry about you posting on any DSC stories ever again!

Let’s hope!

I love these threads.

Cloud City = Stratos?

I don’t think we’re going in the direction of “Masks”. Even the TNG writing staff who made it were confused by that one.

The old rock quarry. Always a great place to park a Tardis.

Great article, great analysis. Thank you for finding all these details and connections. =D

For Discovery, fast pace scenes are fun. Going back to that, will be a plus for me.

Knowing this is the final season, will appreciate every episode, will be different this time.

Already prepared myself for the good and the not so good. For sure Discovery will have great action and humor, also amazing special effects.

If this artifact is Romulan, hope we could have some Michael Vulcan Spock related connections.

Thank you for the break down! Now I’m looking forward to this even more. Despite its flaws (every Trek show has them) I love this series, and I’m excited yet sad.

So does anyone know exactly what Kovich’s rank and duties are? I know he’s like an admiral or something. I know he has a background as a therapist or canceller… but I still don’t know what his exact function in Star Fleet is.

I think that makes all of us lol. They are probably keeping that mysterious on purpose.

I don’t think even they know. They aren’t very good at characterisation. The last few years has proved that it’s more a case of: *insert *representation quota individual in* *find story purpose for them later*

I wouldn’t bet against this either.

I’m not sure what representation quota
David Cronenberg fulfills but it’s probably spot on that they don’t even know, which if that’s the case would be so sad. It’s there third season in the 32nd Century and issues like these (writing issues) are probably what helped to canceled.

The representation quota thing wasn’t meant for David Cronenberg himself, just the other 99% of the cast.

“Representation quotas” go all the way back in Star Trek. Have you seen the cast of the original series and that was in the 60’s. Infinite diversity in infinite combinations is a hallmark of the Star Trek universe so I’m not sure how representation quotas are out of the norm for Star Trek.

Because Discovery does it with… EVERY. SINGLE. CHARACTER. Star Trek has always done it, sure, but not with the ‘sledgehammer to the face’ approach Discovery uses. It’s so, so, so heavy handed that it just comes across as distracting, especially when, as mentioned, they don’t seem to prioritise actually creating compelling characters who serve the storyline.

The question was about one recurring character’s job. Take a deep breath.

True, but that’s Hollywood in general these days…

“prioritize actually creating compelling characters who serve the storyline.” Well I agree with you there. That is the case a lot on ST: Discovery. Now where Discovery succeeds is in how they imagine a diverse and inclusive universe. Beat me over the head with it please. Because I grew up in a time when some of my favorite shows like Friends, like Sex in the City were set in New York city (a super Black and Brown city) and you hardly ever saw Black or Brown people, not in the cast but even in the streets. So, if Discovery contrast that and then some they get nothing but applause from me. Hopefully this final season steps up the writing to live up to their grand vision. Because both can and should exist together. 

Blah blah blah… All you do is complain. You must be great on dates.

IDIC. Infinite diversity in infinite combinations. Have you actually watched Star Trek? Hmmm…

Where’s the “infinite combinations” bit these days?

Yes I was referring to the fact they may not exactly know what the character does, not the representation thing.

I mean I think it was Anthony Rapp in an interview who said he wasn’t sure what his character’s position was and has been a main character for four years lol. So yeah wouldn’t be a shock if they didn’t know.

That is wild to me. Every Star Trek character doesn’t have to be defined by their job, but it’s always been important that their job be defined.

Yeah, they just tossed David Cronenberg in to meet their old white Canadian guy quota. Whatever you say, Emily.

Yes, Star Trek has diverse casts. It’s almost like strength through diversity is the entire point. You took notice after 60 years. Very good job. Disruption accomplished.

When 90% of the cast is either non-white, LGBT, or played by LGBT actors, that’s a tad more heavy-handed than what Star Trek “has always done these past 60 years”. But subtlety and good writing was never a strength of Discovery.

I guess you’ll have to cope.

Yes and that’s how people cope, by expressing themselves. Relax.

Sorry I interrupted the random panic of the day. You guys argue that representation doesn’t matter but if straight whites aren’t centered you’re the first to shatter like glass.

No one said representation doesn’t matter. It does matter and I’m glad DSC is doing it. When they promote inclusion through exclusion, it’s a different story. I’ll let you figure that one out.

Emily literally claimed non-white, LGBT characters and actors are overrepresented and are proof of a lack of subtlety…. totally out of the blue. I don’t know how I’m supposed to take that as anything but an issue with straight whites not being centered.

The show has Pike, Lorca, and other straight white guys. Whose exclusion is promoted in Discovery? I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m not trying to start anything with you Silver, just don’t know where you’re coming from…. what the crisis is…. or what any of this has to do with Kovich’s job.

I like how you can only think of 2 straight white guys in four seasons, which somewhat proves my point. Relax, no one is “threatened”, which I know is a common refrain. I was just ridiculing the heavy handed representation on Discovery that’s so over the top it’s basically achieved parody status at this point.

Your point is proven? You think we missed it the first time? I get that you feel straight whites should be prioritized. You made that clear. That’s not a mystery. It says more about you than the show.

I get that you feel straight whites should be prioritized”

Lol, misrepresenting what someone is saying. How typical of people like you. I’m not saying and never have even suggested that straight white guys should be prioritised, but you already know that.

Achieved parody status… Much like you have.

What point? That you feel there’s a pecking order that should be adhered to? I understand what you’re saying. Message received. It’s rubbish, but you’ve been heard.

 You guys argue that representation doesn’t matter

Who, exactly, has argued that? *Your* corollary, however, seems the be that only members of a group can represent that group: that (for instance) only Asians can represent Asians, or only Latinos can represent Latinos.

Expressing her problem is with the very identity and immutable characteristics of the people making the show.

The mask is dropping again.

Since ST represents a global future, a ten percent white cast is not all that out of whack.

I don’t particularly like most of the main characters on Discovery, but that’s rarely to do with whom they cast. When a character doesn’t feel like they are there to be anything more than check a diversity box, then sure, that’s a legitimate problem in 2024. Representation in this day and age is not well-served if the diverse characters don’t have depth – it was never okay, but now the TV landscape is populated with complex and fulfilling characters played by all manner of diverse actors. The recurring bridge officer characters and Gray often fit the bill of not feeling like more than their diversity credentials, and it’s frustrating.

Beyond that, decrying the lack of representation for straight white people, Star Trek’s best represented demographic to date, is silly.

It’s not a question of “Star Trek has always had diverse casts”; it’s that the show traditionally showed those diverse casts *doing their jobs*, and doing them well, rather than pontificating about how diverse they are. You could believe Uhura was the best communications officer in the fleet, or Geordi the best helmsperson.

What DISCO has been doing is *telling*, rather than showing. Adira was a boring character whose breakout moment was…unveiling their pronouns. And they were so eager to show Adira’s background that they literally gave us a ghost story to bring their partner into it. On a *science fiction* show.

Again, compare that to Uhura in “The Savage Curtain” or “The Naked Time.” Showing, rather than telling.

Yes, Star Trek has always shown diverse casts…in the spirit of “infinite diversity in infinite combinations.” (TOS and Berman-era Trek still showed Starfleet as the military, where individual identity gets deconstructed.) I get the impression that NuTrek has forgotten the “infinite combinations” part of that philosophy, because it doesn’t comport with reductive, identarian politics.

They probably cast him after seeing Werner Herzog do Star Wars.

Mysterious or not, I kinda like seeing such a dignified gent like DC playing a role on a ST series. It give oldsters like me – looking down the barrel of “threescore and ten” – hope! I admit I hated DISCO at the beginning, particularly those horrid Klingon stories of the first couple of seasons, but I’ve really grown to like it. But I still don’t care for SNW at all. To each their own, hey! :)

They imply that he is in charge of Federation intelligence, maybe whatever Section 31 evolved into. But we never really know.

Basically Starfleet Intelligence. I don’t think they have to over explain it.

That is the Discovery way.

An advisor. Not uncommon in the public sector.

That’s still ridiculously vague though. Obviously he had to have some previous position before to be have such influence in Starfleet.

In the beginning I thought he was more Federation than Starfleet because of the suite instead of a uniform. I’d like to know what’s up with that also.

Yes true. He is probably most likely a Federation officer. Maybe a liaison officer since he works so closely with Vance.

He’s an advisor, and a made up character. He doesn’t need to be wandering the halls of Starfleet, passing out his fourteen-page CV to rationalize his characters existence. Sometimes a little intrigue, and some vagueness is just fine.

No one was saying otherwise. My OP stated he’s probably supposed to be a mystery. That still doesn’t stop people from wanting to know exactly who he is and what he does. Some like you are fine with it, others want to know more like any character.

A made up character? I did not know that.That renders all the speculation worthless of course….

Great breakdown. Yeah it looks good but with Discovery it Always LOOKS good, but being good has always been pretty iffy for me.

Hopefully this season will finally break that streak.

I expect more of the same. :D

Lol yeah.

Everything post TOS is forehead symbology….

That’s where the third eye is supposed to be… Something to think about.

…those hands messing with the puzzle box – I hope they belong to the Narn baddie and not to a Soong-Droid but they sure look androidy

It might just be the lighting. Hard to tell.

Liked it a lot. It still suffers from the same smugness the whole series has carried for years, but at this point it would probably be weird if it didn’t.

On the other hand, if I were a largely hairless, grey-faced person, I’d take issue at what seems like every Trek series and movie making their villain hairless and grey-faced.

(looks in mirror, realizes he is largely hairless and grey-faced)


Great post. Got a chuckle out of this. And ‘smugness.’ Perfect word for it.

All that and…..nope, not interested

why doesn’t Reyner have the black/gold shoulder bars if he’s a Captain? maybe he gets demoted?

I wonder if this final season will end with the Discovery abandoned, tying into that previous “Short Trek” piece?

That is going to be almost impossible in that the Discovery in the Short Trek is the old design. Unless there is some magic to it.

more mystery boxes and crying. i’ll give it a shot and be optimistic that this season will feel like season 2

Crying, hugging, and Burnham making melodramatic statements

Thankful that for all the problems I think it has SNW at least has a sense of the small. Picard and Disco can’t seem to get out of their own way in terms “save the universe” – everything has to be the biggest mcGuffin – can’t we sometimes just help a terraformer and shop for a wedding present or something?

Let’s Fly! Straight into the sun… glad this show is finishing finally.

I don’t care about the arguments of diversity, inclusion etc, all I care about are a good story and characters. This show fails miserably under those metrics. Surprised this is lost on so many here.


Are they going to reconcile the Short Trek or ignore it?


That’s what I’m wanting to know!!!!

My fear, going by their past writing quality, is that they’ll simply ignore it. I’ll be very pleasantly surprised if they’re going to reconcile it instead! 🤞