Star Trek: Discovery season 4 is headed our way, and we finally have a release date. The new series will launch on Paramount Plus this November, so that means we have a wait of about two months to see the return of the U.S.S. Discovery. We’ve also got a brand new look at Sonequa Martin-Green’s Michael Burnham as Captain, courtesy of Star Trek Day.
We’ve rounded up everything else there is to know about season 4 so far right here, including Martin-Green’s comments on Burnham’s new role, and the challenges she’ll be facing in the new batch of episodes. We’ve also got the lowdown on who’s who in the cast, every last bit of information out there about the plot, and what’s going on in the first trailer – and that’s just the start of it, too. So, scroll on for everything you could possibly want to know about Star Trek: Discovery season 4.
Star Trek: Discovery season 4 release date
Star Trek: Discovery season 4 will be released on Paramount Plus on November 18, 2021.
The new season was announced on October 16, 2020, just a day after season 3’s debut, and filming began a few weeks later on November 2, 2020. In July 2021, Doug Jones, who plays Saru, confirmed to Collider that filming was about to come to an end.
The Toronto-based production was affected by Covid-19 restrictions. All of the cast had to quarantine for two weeks before cameras started rolling, and Jones admitted to TrekMovie that things are going a little slower than usual.
“Well, we’re plodding along,” he said. “We’re getting things shot and it’s going beautifully. It’s just going a bit slower, because of Covid protocols. There are a few more hoops to jump through to get your day done. So with that slower pace, we’re still getting it done. And they are keeping us very safe. It’s all worth it in the end.”
The Star Trek: Discovery season 4 wrapped in August 2021, as confirmed by showrunner Michelle Paradise on Twitter.
Star Trek: Discovery season 4 trailer
The first Star Trek Discovery season 4 trailer has arrived, and surprisingly early at that.
Featured as part of the franchise’s First Contact Day celebrations, the teaser showcases what the crew (and the new captain) are getting up to this season. Their main concern appears to be a “gravitational anomaly” that is threatening not only the universe but also seems to have done some serious damage to Discovery’s bridge. Watch the full trailer above for more.
Star Trek: Discovery season 4 plot
The latest wave of live-action Trek TV shows deal in season-long arcs. So, following the trend set by its predecessors and Star Trek: Picard season 1, Discovery’s third outing wrapped up most of its biggest plotlines by the time the end credits rolled.
The official synopsis for the next season reads: “Season four of Star Trek: Discovery finds Captain Burnham and the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery facing a threat unlike any they’ve ever encountered. With Federation and non-Federation worlds alike feeling the impact, they must confront the unknown and work together to ensure a hopeful future for all.” (H/T Screen Rant) That doesn’t reveal too much, but is a good idea of where season 4 is headed.
The plot will also undoubtedly explore more than the crew coming to terms with their shiny new grey uniforms. In fact, now they’ve discovered a convenient stash of previously ubiquitous starship fuel dilithium – in galaxy-crippling short supply after the infamous ‘Burn’ – they can get on with exploring the universe, as well as taking the Federation’s message to the masses.
“I can’t really talk about season 4 specifically, but thematically season 3 was all about connection and disconnection and finding our way back to one another,” returning showrunner Michelle Paradise told TVLine. “And the ‘Burn’ made that impossible in many cases, because civilization simply didn’t have the means to reach one another. So that felt like an important journey to start at the end of our season: how do we press forward in the process of reconnecting worlds with one another? That felt like the important first step. Now that they have a cache of dilithium – and certainly they’ll have to be responsible to not repeat the mistakes of the past and just overuse it – it felt like the right place to both end the season and tee up whatever is to come.”
Going on the show’s past form, that future is likely to involve some familiar aliens. The series revels in its callbacks to Treks past – season 3 featured franchise stalwarts the Trill, the Vulcans, and the Andorian, not to mention iconic time travel portal the Guardian of Forever – so it would be a huge surprise if that fan service didn’t continue into the Star Trek: Discovery season 4 plot. Could we see returns for the Klingons, the Cardassians (now revealed to be members of the Federation, as Inverse highlighted) or even – whisper it – the Borg?
On board Discovery, Dr. Culber’s mission to give corporeal form to Gray (who currently only exists in Adira’s mind) is sure to be a priority: “To be super clear, we will pay that moment off in season 4,” Paradise told Inverse. “Gray will be seen. That promise will be paid off.”
Now that Ensign Tilly’s got experience of command, it’ll be interesting to see if she’s hungry for more? Will she be vying to take the First Officer role permanently? And if so, will Starfleet finally see fit to give her the promotion she deserves? She can’t stay an Ensign forever…
Speaking of promotions, Anthony Rapp has seemingly revealed that his character will soon be advancing, saying at Outfest: “I have the pleasure of playing Lieutenant Commander – and now Commander – sorry, is that a spoiler? – Paul Stamets.”
The actor also talked about Stamets forming a family with Hugh, Gray, and Adira: “Parenting – they’re not children but they are young people – the pressures of how to be available to be a mentor or guide or parent in the face of job responsibilities and sort of crises, that’s an interesting sort of sub-thread through the season.” He also indicated the season will see Paul and Hugh “continue to evolve in their relationship.” (H/T Trek Movie)
Perhaps the biggest question, however, concerns how Michael Burnham settles into her new role as captain of the ship. Despite a long history of insubordination – and numerous career setbacks over the course of Discovery’s missions – she’s repeatedly shown herself to be the most capable officer in Starfleet. But how will she handle the big chair?
“We knew going into the season that [the captaincy] was where we wanted to end,” Paradise explained in an interview with Inverse. “It was about taking her as far from that point as we could, so we could watch her journey into the captain’s chair. We’ve watched her over the course of three seasons, and this felt like the right time to do it. And we’re excited to see what she does next.”
Sonequa Martin-Green spoke to Gizmodo about the challenges facing Burnham in her new role this season. “It’s going to be about finding out who I am as Captain, as Michael Burnham, because there’s always been this question of who am in this moment? Who am I in this role? Who am I at this time? How do I service this moment? How do I service everyone around me? And now I’m going to have to answer those questions for myself as Captain because everything is different now,” she said. “And we’ve got a huge threat coming our way, which we saw in the trailer for season four. And so we’re going to have to come together and fight for the future like we usually do. But now doing that as Captain is very different. So I love it because no stone is left unturned and I’ve said this before about the show, but no stone is left unturned in that journey to solidifying who I am exactly as Captain.”
She also spoke to Collider about what it means to her for Burnham to become Captain: “It’s exciting as Captain now, that’s a big deal to me, and I think to everybody who watches and to the history of the franchise itself. I think it’s a really big deal to have a Black woman as Captain be cemented in that lineage. But it’s great, there’s a lot to come for season 4. A lot is coming everybody’s way for season 4.”
A look at Burnham as Captain was unveiled at Star Trek Day:
Released in conjunction with the #StarTrekDiscovery panel at #StarTrekDay, a new look at Captain Michael Burnham from season four – rocking that new uniform. pic.twitter.com/8JeGjoi69ZSeptember 9, 2021
One of her biggest jobs will be getting Stamets back on side, seeing as he’s been carrying a major grudge since she left his husband, Dr. Culber, trapped in a potentially lethal nebula. Pragmatism may prompt Stamets to fall in line, however, now that his USP (the ability to operate Discovery’s spore drive) is shared by Burnham’s empathic boyfriend, Book.
Rapp also told the It Do Take Nerd with Jackie Cox podcast that Stamets is sharing scenes with a Discovery actor he “hasn’t really got to interact one-on-one with” up to this point. Answers on a postcard, please.
One thing the Star Trek season 4 plot will not concern itself with, however, is finding a way for the crew to make it back to their original 23rd century home – even though the phenomenal Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) was sent back in time in season 3.
“We did not want the time jump to be a gimmick,” executive producer and Trek overlord Alex Kurtzman told IndieWire. “There are so many extraordinary new opportunities and story options [in the 32nd century], that it feels like an endless well. We’re also now separated from pre-existing canon, which means we get to write the future of Star Trek on this show, and it’s entirely fresh snow.”
Michelle Paradise also told GoldDerby in June that “We will not be jumping 930 more years into the future, so we have done that, we don’t need to do that again… There’s going to be a new challenge for our heroes in season 4, it will impact them as a whole and it will impact them in their individual character arcs and in their relationships with one another, and I think that’s pretty exciting because it will give them all a chance to grow in new ways and get closer in new ways.”
Star Trek: Discovery season 4 cast
Okay, admit it – the one you really want to know about Grudge the Cat. And yes, it Book’s moggy “queen” is purring back into action for season 4. “[She’s] by far the breakout star of any Trek series ever,” Paradise joked with TVLine. “I think at some point, we just need to name the ship after her.”
Despite the fact that the show’s season 3 finale put the entire crew in harm’s way, the only significant casualties were Osyraa and her Emerald Chain goons. That means all of the principal players should be back in the fold in the Star Trek: Discovery season 4 cast.
So expect the Discovery bridge to have a familiar feel with Sonequa Martin-Green as Captain Michael Burnham, David Ajala as Cleveland ‘Book’ Booker, Anthony Rapp as Lt Cmdr Paul Stamets, Mary Wiseman as Ensign Sylvia Tilly, Wilson Cruz as Hugh Culber, Blu del Barrio as Adira, Ian Alexander as Gray, Emily Coutts as Lt Keyla Detmer, Oyin Oladejo as Lt Joann Owosekun, Patrick Kwok-Choon as Lt Gen Rhys, Ronnie Rowe as Lt R.A. Bryce and Sara Mitich as Lt Nilsson.
Tig Notaro will also be back as laconic, scene-stealing engineer Jett Reno, though TrekMovie reports that she’ll only report for duty on the second block of filming in May, due to Covid travel concerns.
Despite Saru abandoning ship to spend some extended shore leave on his homeworld of Kaminar, Doug Jones will be reprising his role as Starfleet’s first Kelpien officer. “Doug Jones is not going anywhere,” Paradise told Comicbook.com. “Saru will be back, a hundred percent, in season four. So rest easy, sleep well. We’re not letting Doug go anywhere. We’re holding onto him.”
Paradise also confirmed that Starfleet Commander-in-Chief Admiral Charles Vance “is still a presence moving forward,” while Variety confirmed that legendary horror director David Cronenberg will be reprising his role as the Federation’s most sinister operative, Kovich. Of course, it remains to be seen if we’ll find out any more about his motives.
Trek regular Kenneth Mitchell has confirmed his return in season 4, revealing at Creation’s 55-Year Mission Star Trek convention in Las Vegas that “I appear in season four in a very unique way.” (H/T Trek Movie) It’s unclear if that’s as Osyraa’s chief scientific officer Aurellio, who remained on Discovery after his boss’s demise. It looks like he has plenty to offer Starfleet as it rebuilds.
While we await our next trek, be sure to check out all the best Netflix shows streaming right now.