Traditionally, the lead character in a Star Trek TV series has become the boat’s commanding officer. Discovery – the first new Trek show since 2005 – defied tradition, however, by focusing on a First Officer.

Ever since her first appearance on the USS Shenzhou, Michael Burnham has committed mutiny, been thrown from Starfleet, reinstated and slowly worked her way back up through the ranks. By now Star Trek: Discovery season 4 has underway, she’ll be sitting at the captain’s seat.

Seeing as Discovery includes a disconcertingly higher turnover of captains – that the boat’s already been commanded by Gabriel Lorca, Christopher Pike and Saru – she probably should not get too comfortable yet. Nevertheless, she’s not likely to be amazed as her team proceeds to plot a path through the uncharted territory of the 32nd century.

Now that they’ve worked out the so-called Burn – the event that destroyed all the dilithium in the world – was caused by a grieving child, they are in the forefront of attempts to revive a Federation decimated from the impossibility of warp-speed go to its former glories.

So with Star Trek: Discovery season 4 already shooting in Toronto, Canada, we’ve assembled all of the intel on Burnham and co’s return to the last frontier. Let us fly…

Release Date

The previous season had hardly even begun airing when Star Trek: Discovery season 4 got the official green light on October 16, 2020. Fourteen days later, on November 2, production got underway at the show’s Toronto base, and is set to continue until June 2021. Inevitably, Covid-19 limitations are going to be a significant element in the shoot, and – as dictated by Canadian principles – that the cast had to isolate for two weeks before coming to set.

As it’s unclear how coronavirus constraints impact production schedules. While shooting is likely to be a bit slower than usual, the show proved a pipeline for working remotely on the third year that wrapped times until North American lockdowns kicked.

Composer Jeff Russo sent microphones to the members of the orchestra in order that they could record individually; celebrities received motion capture gear so they could complete their performances in homemade studios, and editors and effects artists worked remotely. “Our editors, miraculously and heroically, took their editing bays in their living rooms,” Alex Kurtzman, executive producer and overseer of Star Trek’s current raft of TV shows, told IndieWire. “We also scored the whole season, combined the entire season, color-timed the entire season, all from [a] notebook”

Expect the process to be further refined on Star Trek: Discovery season 4, especially with reports from that the series is likely to make use of this revolutionary augmented reality LED screens pioneered by The Mandalorian. Suddenly that travel for location filming is off the table doesn’t seem so much of a problem…

What does all that mean to get a Star Trek: Discovery season 4 airdate? If Covid-19 does not slow generation also much and the show follows its standard schedule (18 or so months between seasons – give or take) we’d expect to see it sometime around late-2020/ancient 2021 – unless Paramount Plus makes the decision to bring forward its own introduction to fill a hole before Star Trek: Picard season 2, along with Discovery spin-offs Strange New Worlds and Section 31 get underway.

Cut To The Chase

  • What is it? The fourth season of Star Trek: Discovery, the sixth live-action TV series based on the future Gene Roddenberry created in the 1960s.
  • Where do I watch it? Star Trek: Discovery season 4 will be available to see on CBS Access in the US – although by the time you see it, it’ll happen to be heralded as Paramount Plus. In other territories, it needs to be available on Netflix.
  • When can I watch it? That’s now TBC, but late 2021/early 2022 appears likely.


Let’s not get ahead of ourselves! With production only a few months old, it is a little early to get a Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 trailer. We would expect to see something this summer, maybe in time for San Diego Comic-Con in late July, assuming it goes ahead.


It is a case of as you were’, with most of the established cast returning for another tour of duty – presumably, they’re eager to be wearing new-look uniforms that don’t look quite so much like tracksuits.

It goes without mentioning that Sonequa Martin-Green is back as Captain Michael Burnham, and even though her predecessor from the huge seat, Saru, has moved to his home planet of Kaminar, Doug Jones still has a part to play. “It felt significant for all our characters to find new layers for them, to find a new location for them to go, new things for our celebrities to play, and new ways of your characters to proceed,” showrunner Michelle Paradise told TV Insider. “[In season 3 we highlighted] that Saru hasn’t had a massive link to Kaminar because departing, and in a season that’s all about the relationship – family cultural and connection link – it seemed like a natural place to explore that theme with him.”

One of the lead cast, Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz reprise their roles as Lt Cmdr Paul Stamets and Dr. Hugh Culber, while now 3 standout David Ajala is back because the 32nd century’s most renowned cat owner, Cleveland ‘Novel’ Booker. (Regrettably, a Grudge that the Cat spin-off is yet to be declared ) And surely Mary Wiseman’s Sylvia Tilly will be looking to create the First Officer part her own.

“[Saru] sees strength in [Tilly] she does not really see in herself necessarily,” Paradise stated in TV Insider. “Afterward, [we watched] her over the course of the year become more confident in herself to where she’s ultimately capable to function as Number One, and having to essentially be acting captain in this emergency scenario, where she handles herself superbly. What does this mean to come in, I’m convinced, a question she will be asking herself and we are going to be exploring in Season 4.”

The supporting bridge crew will certainly be expecting to have a couple more stories on their own, continuing their slow evolution from desktop players to real characters – now we understand that Lt Joann Owosekun (Oyin Oladejo) will hold her breath for 10 minutes, the sky’s the limit. It will be interesting to see what – if anything – is in store for Lt Keyla Detmer (Emily Coutts), Lt Gen Rhys (Patrick Kwok-Choon), Lt R.A. Bryce (Ronnie Rowe) and Lt Nilsson (Sara Mitich).

Third-year newcomer Blu del Barrio also returns as Adira, the human host of the Trill symbiont Tal, along with their boyfriend, Gray (Ian Alexander). Dr. Culber’s attempts to provide Gray – that can only be seen and heard by Adira – bodily form will be a huge part of the entire year, as Gray becomes more and more integrated with the team. “For season 4 I have had more hands-on participation, like my ideas for the future of Gray,” Alexander told Inverse. “They already have so much planned. Michelle [Paradise] and Alex [Kurtzman] have this vision that I’ve really, very excited for all to have the ability to see.”

T here will be at least two familiar faces at Federation headquarters, where Oded Fehr (Admiral Charles Vance) and epic film director David Cronenberg (the mysterious Kovich) will be pulling a few strings.

What Can We Expect To See In Star Trek: Discovery Season 4?

Michelle Paradise is keeping her cards closer to her torso compared to The Next Generation team at one of the regular poker matches, although she did acknowledge to TV Insider that the Discovery team are hanging around from the 32nd century, rather than searching for a way back to their own first pre-Kirk-and-Spock timeline. “I don’t anticipate that,” she said. “All [the team ] knew going into that in the conclusion of season 2 this is a one-way trip. Now that they are here, we are not looking to return.”

What does this mean for plotlines? “I do not need to talk especially to themes, but we do have them! “I think season 4 will surely continue the sorts of things we were doing in season three, in that we do have very strong themes that we’re exploring. Star Trek: The Original Series explored present-day matters via sci-fi. And that’s what we did in season 3, and I believe that is only baked to what Star Trek does.

“Finally the thing that really resonates, I believe, with people is, what are our personalities experiencing? What exactly are they going through? How are they linking with one another? Which are the challenges they are facing and how do they overcome them separately and then as a family? All that I think will last.”

With the Emerald Chain from this way, nevertheless, it looks like the threat at Star Trek: Discovery season 4 will be quite different this time out.

“We are actually researching – we’re diving deep into science – in the fourth summer, in a type of new and interesting way,” said Kurtzman at a panel hosted by Deadline (through Trek Movie). “There have been lots of sorts of villains over the course of Star Trek. What happens when the protagonist isn’t actually any type of living, breathing entity, but something else? How do you solve that issue?” Could we be taking a look at something technological such as Star Trek: The Motion Picture’s rogue space probe V’Ger, or Discovery season 2’s Control? Or a lethal inorganic structure such as the Crystalline Entity out of Star Trek: The Next Generation?

We can expect to see a similar arrangement to preceding years, with each season based on a self-indulgent story arc, with just a few loose ends left untied.

“Discovery has that type of serialized, season-long story baked right into its DNA,” Paradise said in a meeting with Inverse. “We also wanted to give the show a more episodic feel in season 3. We got to research a story of the week or a villain of this week – it gives us time to explore a few of our characters who we normally would not have time to research. That was definitely an option on the part and will continue on our show.”

What Questions Does Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 Need To Answer?

With the roots of the so-called ‘Burn’ showed – who would have figured it was caused by a grieving kid with a symbiotic relationship to a planet made of dilithium? – and Osyraa and her Chain defeated, Star Trek: Discovery season 4 flies into uncharted waters.

Hopefully, that means that Discovery and the team may use the spore drive to genuinely explore the strange new worlds of the 32nd century – however, given this show’s love of callbacks to earlier series, it is almost inevitable we will meet some familiar faces and species.

Section of Starfleet’s remit will be rebuilding a Federation that’s a shadow of what it was 900 years before. “The Federation is coming back together but it is not completely back together,” Kurtzman told the aforementioned Deadline panel. “And so the continuing mission of bringing different worlds in and fulfilling the standards and criteria of what it means to be part of the Federation but not to rob other civilizations of the individuality is something which we will research.”

The biggest ongoing question Star Trek: Discovery season 4 wants to tackle is the nature of the sphere Data’, the ancient alien intellect now incorporated with Discovery’s databanks. Assessing it was why the boat made the one-way visit to the long run in the first place, and it appears to be repaying the favor – first by helping the team’s mental wellbeing, then by helping Tilly to forcibly eject the Emerald Chain. It’s a story that seems to be leading towards Short Trek episode ‘Calypso’, set in a distant future where Discovery is conducted by a sentient computer.

It is now a part of Trek canon, but our show’s canon. It takes place many, many years past where our personalities are right now, and at a certain point, we’ll absolutely need to match up with this so that Discovery as a whole, including calypso’, all fits together as a piece.

“Surely, bringing in that voice in episode four and having – we’ll call her Zorashe doesn’t have a title at this point – but with her hide in the DOTs and be a part of this story is the beginning of driving. And eventually – who knows when? – we shall absolutely have to make sure we sync up with this.”

And then there’s the small matter of Stamets having problems with the way Burnham abandoned his husband Dr. Culber, at a radiation-filled nebula at the season 3 finale. “I think that’s one they’ll get past in time,”