‘Star Trek: Discovery’ at NYCC: The Crew Facing Uncertainty & More Scoop From the Panel
The U.S.S. Discovery has a new captain — and it’s just in time for Federation and non-Federation worlds to face a new threat when the Paramount+ series returns. And now that we’re just over a month away from the Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 premiere, it’s the perfect time for a sneak peek at what’s coming next.
Series stars Sonequa Martin-Green (Captain Michael Burnham), Anthony Rapp (Paul Stamets), Mary Wiseman (Sylvia Tilly), Wilson Cruz (Dr. Hugh Culber), David Ajala (Cleveland “Book” Booker), and Blu del Barrio (Adira) and showrunner and executive producer Michelle Paradise were at 2021 New York Comic Con to tease the new episodes and unveil the official trailer and key art (check them out here).
Read on for the scoop.
Michael as Captain
Martin-Green knows how “huge” it is “being in the captain’s chair, being cemented in history,” and notes that everything that happened prior to this season led to that moment. “You saw this woman fall forward, grow, change, make mistakes but learn from them,” she says. “You saw her character mature, and that year alone [in Season 3] was essential because it really was for the first time a second to breathe, to stop, to ask myself, as Burnham, who am I actually? … And now I can be that person.”
There will be shifts with Burnham now captain. “There’s a lot of discoveries, a lot of challenges that come with it, and I think every relationship is affected by it because all of a sudden, there’s this bit of distance that’s hard to explain but when you take on responsibility for an entire crew on paper, there automatically is a little bit of a stepping back that happens,” Martin-Green admits, since now her character has to make decisions for everyone.
But don’t worry: It won’t affect her and Tilly’s friendship. It’s “so deep and authentic that these experiences only add to it,” Martin-Green says.
After all, remember it was Tilly who told Burnham to take over before it became official after getting that taste of leadership. “Tilly has begun to move up in leadership and is feeling more and more responsibility and a little bit more of the pressures that holds and that in combination with all the events of the third season … really forced her to reinvestigate herself and her motivations, so it spirals her off into this personal journey,” Wiseman previews for Season 4.
Uncertainty in Season 4
The theme of Season 4 is uncertainty, Cruz reveals, “and how we come together to deal with it and walk through uncertainty and lean on each other.”
That theme arose “because that was happening very much in the world around us,” Paradise adds. The season will look at what that means for each character individually and in relation to one another, to Federation and non-Federation planets.
In Season 4, as the crew faces the unknown threat of the gravitational anomaly, Culber will be “taking on double duty” as the ship’s medical officer and counselor, Cruz shares. “People need help,” due to the anxiety created by that uncertainty. His character’s arc becomes the question of “how do you stay professional and do your job while taking care of yourself and your family and staying healthy?” And yes, Stamets will help him.
Cruz also spoke about the theory of “post-traumatic growth, that these traumatic experiences, especially [ones] we experience collectively can lead us to a different place, can make us stronger if we’re willing to face the actual issue.” As he notes, many of the characters are “still being formed” and “learning who they are. … Part of their growth comes through how they deal with the trauma they’ve experienced both singularly and collectively.”
Discovery‘s Family Growing
Within the U.S.S. Discovery family is the family that formed in Season 3 with Stamets, Culber, Adira, and Gray … if the others — and Culber in particular — can keep the promise to make Gray corporeal again. “When Dr. Culber makes a promise, he keeps that promise,” Cruz says. “We find a way to make sure that Gray is seen as promised, and we get to see just how vital he becomes to the story and to our mission.”
Book is now part of the Discovery crew and can drive the ship, as seen in the Season 3 finale, so what does that mean for Stamets, who used to be the only one who can? “We share the keys,” Ajala says, as Rapp notes that their characters will interact for the first time in the series. “We cover ground” when that happens, Ajala adds.
About That Anomaly…
When it comes to that mysterious anomaly as seen in the trailer, “Stamets is a scientist first and foremost and cares about the health of the bioforms in the universe and the galaxy, so he’s driven to stay up all night every night to solve this mystery,” Rapp says. The fact that he can’t figure it out will affect him.
“I don’t think any of us were expecting to have a threat this big so soon after jumping to the future,” Martin-Green says. “For Burnham, it’s a lot: Here we are again with a threat of great, great magnitude, and so of course these people being the honorable people they are, their true character comes out at the moment of greatest pressure,” so expect “beautiful” stuff.
Star Trek: Discovery, Season 4 Premiere, Thursday, November 18, Paramount+