How the Future Will Change ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ and What Will Stay the Same

The season 2 finale of Star Trek: Discovery left Trekkers on the edge of their holodecks. The Discovery took a trip 930 years into the future. That’s where Star Trek: Discovery will pick up in season 3, but the show has only revealed a few hints about what’s in store for the discovery crew when they jump a millennium ahead of their own time. 

Pictured: Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham | John Medland/CBS ©2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Star Trek: Discovery showrunner Michelle Paradise was able to offer a few more hints about the show’s third season. She was on a panel of CBS showrunners discussing “Impact Storytelling.” Discovery certainly tells social and political stories through the lens of science-fiction, as Gene Roddenberry always did in the original Star Trek. But now we’re talking about the future. 

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ is boldly going where no ‘Star Trek’ has gone before

Star Trek: Discovery was set 10 years before The Original Series. As a prequel, it told stories prior to Captain Kirk’s adventures but that would inform the Star Trek we knew. This takes them way beyond even Captain Picard’s era.

Star Trek: Discovery
Pictured (l-r): David Ajala as Book; Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham | Lilja J–nsd–ttir/CBS © 2019 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

“We’re really excited about the fresh snow, the possibilities of all of it,” Paradise said. “Going 930 years into the future, what does that mean for just the look and feel of the world. How do we also maintain what everyone loves about Star Trek in all of that?”

Even though it’s the future, it’s still connected to ‘Star Trek’

930 years takes the Discovery safely away from other Star Trek series, whose stories are considered canon. Even Star Trek: Picard, which will bring back Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner and Jeri Ryan, will be a distant memory to the Discovery. However, Paradise is careful to check in with the other Star Trek shows nevertheless.

Star Trek: Discovery
Pictured (l-r): Shazad Latif as Tyler; Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham | Ben Mark Holzberg/CBS ©2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

“Yes, it does take us beyond canon,” Paradise said. “To be clear, we honor canon. All of that came before us. There is a history to the world that we are entering into. All of the shows that have come before and everything that was established but we are in fresh snow this season.”

The future won’t change ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

Star Trek: Discovery asserted its own identity. Being a streaming series for CBS All Access, it didn’t have to conform to network or syndication standards. Paradise believes the tone of Star Trek: Discovery has heart, characters, is fun and funny, with lots of action. That won’t change in season 3.

Star Trek: Discovery
Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham | John Medland/CBS ©2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

“That’s a tone that feels like our show and that’s a tone that works for us,” Paradise said. “So we fully intend to keep that moving forward even into this new future, whatever it may be.”

Every crew member of Discovery has a role in the future

Any starship has a large crew so it can be difficult to give everyone their own episode. The Original Series would focus on Sulu or Chekov once in a while, and The Next Generation would have a Worf or LaForge episode. So can we still expect to see focus on Tilly (Mary Wiseman) and Rhys (Patrick Kwok-Choon)?

“We do have a really large cast but we have a wonderful cast. these are wonderful characters and we just naturally want to service them in the best possible way,” Paradise said. “So obviously, Sonequa’s our number one. She’s our lead and everything is going to focus around her and Michelle and Doug and Mary and everybody.”

Star Trek: Discovery
Patrick Kwok-Choon as Rhys | Ben Mark Holzberg/CBS ©2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

There’s no stopping the Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), and that’s fair. 

“We really do try to make sure that everyone has their moments and everyone has their opportunities to shine in the way that all of our actors can,” Paradise said. “It’s fun for us to get to do that.”

Classic ‘Trek’ characters are unlikely to appear again

One thing jumping 930 years ahead rules out is future appearances by classic Star Trek characters like Spock and Pike. Vulcans live longer than humans, but not that long.

“We did that last season with Pike and with Spock,” Paradise said. “It was really wonderful to get to tell stories of the unknown stories if you will of Pike and Spock in particular. How did Pike end up in that chair? Who was Spock before he became the Spock that we know and love on TOS?

Star Trek: Discovery
Anson Mount as Captain Pike | Russ Martin/CBS ©2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

“It was wonderful to get to play in that sandbox and tell those stories. This season as you probably know, we’re jumping very far ahead in storytelling. We’re going 930 years in the future. Logistically that makes that a challenge.”

The course was set for ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ early

Paradise was promoted to showrunner for season three. The decision to send the Discovery into the future predates her tenure as a writer. 

ayne Brook as Admiral Cornwell | Russ Martin/CBS ©2018 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

“The decision to jump to the future at the end of season two was made kind of towards the beginning of season 2 when I wasn’t yet on the show,” Paradise siad. “So I wasn’t part of those discussions. How the decision came about to jump, I wasn’t there for that.”