The biggest change, for both the character and the rest of the crew, was Michael Burnham taking the captain’s seat for the first time. With this move, Discovery became the first series in Star Trek history to feature a Black woman in command of a starship.
This momentous change does raise questions about season four though. Will Burnham remain the captain for the duration of the season? Is Saru coming back or will he remain on Kaminar?
On the latest episode of “The Ready Room,” the Discovery recap show hosted by Wil Wheaton, a few members of the cast and crew dropped some interesting hints about these questions.
Will Saru be Back for Season Four?
Saru has been a fan favorite since the beginning of the show. As his character has evolved, literally and figuratively, Saru has grown into an impressive leader and an incredible captain. Though he struggled to guide his crew through the trauma of traveling over 900 years into the future, his compassion and guidance kept them together and functional. So, his decision to take a leave of absence to head to Kaminar with Su’Kal sparked many emotions for Discovery’s crew and fans alike.
After discussing the command change with his guests on “The Ready Room,” Wheaton demanded, in his affable way, to know whether Saru will be back in season four. Michelle Paradise, one of the lead writers for the show, assured Wheaton that Saru would, in fact, be back for season four. However, she wasn’t willing to give any hints about what he would be doing in the upcoming season.
So, fans can rest easy knowing that they will see more of Saru and turn their attention to wondering what he might be doing when he returns.
Will Saru Return as Captain?
At the end of the finale, Burnham met with Admiral Vance to discuss who would take command of the Discovery in Saru’s absence. Vance made it clear that Saru wanted Burnham to be that person and then said that he also wanted her in the position. Burnham was clearly touched and honored, which she conveyed to him.
However, she replied that she wanted to wait until Saru was back from Kaminar to discuss the move. Vance told her that there was no time to wait for Saru to return because he needed Discovery to head back to the dilithium planet immediately so the Federation could start mining operations there.
This sets up quite a dilemma for next season. If Saru comes back, it’s possible that Burnham will be asked to step aside. Burnham is a Starfleet officer through and through, so of course, she’ll give up command if asked. Though she might have a hard time adjusting to taking orders after giving them for a while, a point that actor Doug Jones brought up in a clip he recorded for the latest episode of “The Ready Room.”
Another possibility is that Saru comes back to Discovery but not as the captain. If this happens, it will be interesting to see which role he steps into on the ship. Being first officer to Burnham might be a challenge for him as they haven’t always seen eye to eye. Plus, he’d be displacing whoever Burnham chose to be her first officer, which could create some drama.
What’s Next for Saru if he’s Not Captain?
Since Paradise didn’t give details about how Saru will be showing up in season four, it’s completely possible that fans will be seeing a lot more of Kaminar next season. Jones and Discovery director Olatunde Osunsanmi, who was also on the latest episode of “The Ready Room,” gave two different and very plausible possibilities.
“Is there some connection to Kaminar now? Ooh maybe Ambassador Saru for Kaminar to the Federation?” Jones theorized.
“He’s questioning what it is he wants out of life,” said Osunsanmi. “So it’ll be really interesting to see what Michelle and Alex come up with for season 4. Whether or not Saru is going to be an Admiral? Is he going to go back to being a number one? And how that dynamic plays with Burnham”
So, even if Saru decides to cede the captain’s chair to Burnham permanently, there are plenty of options for him. He’s definitely not going anywhere soon.