The fourth season of “Star Trek: Discovery” is set to premiere in November of 2021. In season three, the crew of the Discovery was stuck in the 32nd century after traveling there to save the universe from Control. They helped the Federation overthrow the Emerald Chain, a criminal organization that controlled the galaxy through coercion and fear. The crew also discovered the cause of The Burn, a catastrophic event that decimated most warp-capable ships in the future and killed millions.
At the end of the third season, the crew of the Discovery embarked on a mission to rebuild the broken Federation and repair diplomatic relationships that had been frayed for years. The season ended on a hopeful note, which has been absent through most of the series.
There’s not much information about season four yet, even though the premiere is just over a month away. Only one full-length trailer has been released so far and the people directly involved in the show have been careful about the hints they’ve dropped.
Here’s what we know for sure so far:
Michael Burnham is Still Discovery’s Captain
At the end of the third season, Captain Saru decided to take a leave of absence to go back to his home planet, Kaminar. In his absence, Admiral Vance promoted Commander Michael Burnham to Captain. The trailer for the fourth season, which can be viewed above, shows that Burnham will remain captain of the Discovery for at least part of the fourth season.
The trailer shows her commanding the crew of the Discovery as they face their newest threat. She’s also shown working with Admiral Vance and the Federation to rebuild alliances that were lost after The Burn.
Saru Will be Back
When Saru left for Kaminar at the end of season three, fans were concerned that they may never see the character again. However, Doug Jones, the actor who plays Saru, was quick to allay their fears on social media. He promised that Saru would return and revealed that he was actively filming for season four. Shortly after the season three finale, showrunner Michelle Paradise also confirmed that Saru will be back in season four.
In an interview with Comicbook.com in January 2021, she said “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.”
When the trailer premiered on First Contact Day 2021, fans got a quick peek at Saru. However, the trailer revealed nothing about the details of his role in season four.
There’s been a lot of speculation about what Saru will be doing since it doesn’t appear he’ll be a member of the Discovery’s crew. Jones himself has hinted that Saru might become a Federation Ambassador to Kaminar. Other insiders have also suggested that Saru may take on a diplomatic role.
So far, no details have been confirmed. All fans know for sure is that Saru will be back.
However, Jones did hint that Saru will have a brand new type of storyline this season — a romance. In an interview with TrekMovie.com, Jones said that Saru will meet T’Rina, the president of Ni’Var, and “his heart goes a little bit flutter, flutter over her.”
A New Kind of Villain
The biggest piece of information that fans got from the trailer was that the crew of the Discovery will be facing a different kind of villain this season, one that they cannot control in any way. A gravitational anomaly that spans more than five lightyears is terrorizing their sector of the galaxy and there’s no way to tell where it will appear next.
The trailer made it clear that all the planets in the sector will have to work together to protect their people from the devastation of the anomaly. Though the crew of the Discovery has faced non-corporeal threats before, like Control, this will be the first time that the big bad is a natural phenomenon.
It looks like Discovery will be on the front lines in both a tactical and diplomatic sense. Several scenes in the trailer showed Discovery encountering the anomaly, including a scene where the gravitational controls fail and a scene in which the bridge looked nearly destroyed. A few other clips showed Captain Burnham at Federation headquarters meeting with Admiral Vance and various diplomatic officials like President T’Rina and an unidentified official who fans think appears to be half Cardassian and half Bajoran.
Some fans think that the gravitational anomaly storyline could have a tie-in to the V’Ger from “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” or The Nexus from “Star Trek: Generations.” So far, nothing has confirmed these theories. However, the team behind “Discovery” has put in several tie-ins to “The Original Series” in previous seasons. So, it’s possible they’ll do so again.
The Crew is Headed to Ni’Var
In an interview with TrekReport in May of 2021, Tara Rosling, the actress who plays President T’Rina, revealed that her character will be around quite a bit in season four. One scene in the trailer even suggested that the crew will travel to Ni’Var, the planet formerly known as Vulcan.
The short clip showed T’Rina and Cleveland Booker on an elaborate balcony, surrounded by a red planet. The surroundings look much like what fans have seen of Vulcan before in “The Original Series” and “Star Trek: Enterprise.”
The end of season three made it clear that Ni’Var was ready to negotiate to rejoin the Federation. So, it would make sense for the crew to travel to the home planet of a diplomatic ally. Though, it will be interesting to see what brings them there.
Gray Will be Visible
After Saru, Dr. Culber, and Adira discovered that Gray could be made visible via holographic programming, Dr. Culber promised to make Gray visible to everyone when they got back to the Discovery. Since season three ended, Paradise has made it abundantly clear that the writers will follow through with this storyline in season four.
In a panel at Outfest in June 2021, Paradise promised that they making Gray “truly seen” is a top priority in season four.
“We absolutely do pay that off in season four. It’s very much going the opposite direction of the [bury the gays] trope… That storyline and making sure we pay it off is hugely important.”
During the “Discovery” panel at Star Trek Day 2021, Wilson Cruz, who plays Dr. Culber, confirmed that Culber will keep his promise. He said:
I think what’s important to know is that when Dr. Culber makes a promise he keeps one. And at the end of season three… we promised Gray that he will be seen. And that it’s important for people to see him and understand all the amazing things that he’s capable of being. So, in season three we do keep that promise, I’m happy to say.
Many fans think that “Discovery” will bring back a plot device from “Star Trek: Voyager” to accomplish this goal. In that show, The Doctor had technology from the future called a mobile emitter that allowed his holographic matrix to exist outside the confines of sickbay or the holodeck. Fans have posited that “Discovery” will reuse the idea of a mobile emitter to make Gray seen.
Found Family is the Theme of Season 4
Cruz, Ian Alexander (Gray), and Blu del Barrio (Adira) were also on that Star Trek Day 2021 panel, and they revealed that their found family will be a major part of season four. Cruz said that he and his onscreen partner Paul Stamets, played by Anthony Rapp, will get to do a lot more parenting in season four. The couple has unofficially adopted Adira and Gray, and are acting as their “space dads.” Cruz, Alexander, and del Barrio all confirmed that there would be a lot more exploration of their chosen family in season four.
Co-showrunner Michelle Paradise added that season four will also explore the found family that is the Discovery crew. After everything they’ve been through together, the crew is closer than most biological families, and season four will explore the impact this has on them.
There’s a lot of exciting stuff in store for season four! The first episode drops at midnight Pacific Time/3 am Eastern Time on November 18, 2021.
Follow the Heavy on Star Trek Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!