Doug Jones Explains His Recent Absence From ‘Star Trek: Discovery’… And Confirms Saru’s Return

Fans have noticed how actor Doug Jones has been missing from the most recent episodes of Star Trek: Discovery. The actor has now explained what kept him away and confirmed his return.

Where is Saru?

Doug Jones has been a series regular for Discovery since the first episode. With the exception of a couple of episodes in season 3, likely for story reasons, he had appeared in every episode, but that changed in season 5. He appeared (and was in the main credits) for the first three episodes, which saw Saru move from the USS Discovery to Starfleet HQ to take up a new position as an ambassador for Starfleet. While Saru was seen and heard briefly in the fourth episode, Jones was not credited as the time travel episode utilized old footage from season 3. Jones’ Saru also didn’t appear in episodes 5 and 6.

Doug Jones as Saru in Star Trek: Discovery, episode 3, season 5 (Marni Grossman /Paramount+)

Fans have been curious about this absence, but the actor explained, saying he took time off Discovery to promote his appearance in the 2022 film Hocus Pocus 2, where Jones reprised his role as Billy Butcherson from the original 1993 film. Jones’ explanation was in a reply to question on Twitter/X, so it may have been missed by most fans…

The fifth season of Star Trek: Discovery was in production in Toronto during the summer and fall of 2022. Hocus Pocus 2 was released on September 3oth, 2022. Jones did a lot of press for the film around this period. You can see an image below of Jones at the red carpet premiere in New York on September 27th, below.

 Embed from Getty Images

Production on season 5 of Discovery wrapped up on November 20th. Jones has confirmed he will be back, but it isn’t known for how many episodes. Given the time frame, he should be back for at least the finale and possibly one or two additional episodes. Jones also confirmed in a TrekMovie interview from earlier this year that he also returned for the “epilogue” shot in 2023 to turn the season 5 finale into a series finale. In that same interview, he talked about how he was of two minds when it comes to the series ending:

There’s a part of me that’s melancholy that it’s the fifth and final season. Nobody wants to hear “final,” but at the same time, I think in this day and age to get five seasons is really good with television the way it is now. But the other part is a bit of relief. I was just talking about memorizing large blocks of science fiction dialogue. That’s very difficult and so I don’t have to do that anymore. “Oh, yay!” And also the rubber bits. I love Saru. He is a part of me now. But he also comes with a look that’s glued onto me and taking that off for the last time was like, “Oh, oh that’s good. I don’t have to wear that again.”

It does appear that the producers of the show had time to work around Jones’ schedule, which likely resulted in Callum Keith Rennie joining the cast as a series regular as Rayner. By the third episode, Rayner had stepped into Saru’s former role as first officer of the USS Discovery.

Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham and Callum Keith Rennie as Rayner in episode 2 (Marni Grossman /Paramount+)

But Saru will be back. If nothing else, the show has to finish Saru’s romance storyline. By the third episode Saru and T’Rina (Tara Rosling) were just announcing they were getting married. Could the season finale include a Kelpien/Vulcan wedding?

Doug Jones as Saru and Tara Rosling as T’Rina in season 4 (Marni Grossman/Paramount+)


The fifth and final season of Discovery debuted with two episodes on Thursday, April 4 exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., the UK, Switzerland, South Korea, Latin America, Germany, France, Italy, Australia, and Austria. Discovery will also premiere on April 4 on Paramount+ in Canada and will be broadcast on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada. The rest of the 10-episode final season will be available to stream weekly on Thursdays. Season 5 debuts on SkyShowtime in select European countries on April 5.

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I regret that he wasn’t able to be more involved with the fifth season – especially because it became the final season. At least we got Commander Rayner as part of the deal though.

Good to know but I do wonder if it was a cost saving measure in general. The show feels a lot more budgeted this season.

Well that makes sense. Honestly I’d like to see Saru get role in Starfleet Academy or his own spin off show or movie. He’s been my favorite character from the show so far.

It’s a shame because that time off was wasted promoting a movie that flopped hard.

I don’t even remember it coming out lol.

I haven’t seen it (or the first one) but it was a Disney+ movie, I did see a lot of chatter about it my social media so I think some people were into it.

Flopped? First of all it was a Disney + movie, secondly they are developing a third. It might not have been popular in your mind, but it was well liked from what I remember.

Saru is the best part of the show. Doug Jones is a phenomenon. Would love to see him in the future, in his own show or a spin-off …

He brings so much heart and soul to the character. Saru is just one of the most likeable characters of any Trek.

leave it to the writers’ room of DSC to take the one likable character and sideline him. uhhh hey they like smartass shaw lets uh replace Saru with a smartass not Romulan but looks Romulan

Why would we leave it to them when clearly they weren’t even involved in the decision? Leave it to Sean not to read an article! (I assume it’s okay for me to just make that little fact up seen as it’s what you do lol)

Have you even read the article? Obviously not. How about going back to do that before commenting next time.

Not a fan of the show, but every single Saru storyline has been written well and performed beautifully. I’m actually excited for this prospective Kelpien/Vulcan wedding LOL.

I’m glad he’ll be back but his absences, for me has been notable. Especially knowing that this is the final season.

And why are Owo and Detmer also MIA?

Probably scheduling problems as well.
For example, Oyin Oladejo (who plays Owo) starred in Orah, a movie that was shot in 2022 and released in 2023.

My favorite character from Discovery. Can easily forget he is human. This is how amazing is his acting. Jones gave an excellent character to the franchise.