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Star Trek Discovery’s Executive Producer Discusses Season 4 Finale's Big Guest Star And Booker’s Fate

Cleveland Booker on Star Trek: Discovery
(Image credit: Paramount+)

Warning! The following contains spoilers for the Star Trek: Discovery finale, “Coming Home.” Read at your own risk!

Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 has come to a close, but not before toying with fans' emotions about Cleveland Booker’s fate and revealing a pretty big guest star. I spoke to director and executive producer Olatunde Osunsanmi about some details surrounding these mic drop moments. 

Cleveland Booker’s journey in the finale wasn’t an easy one, as he seemed doomed (as I predicted in the penultimate) when Tarka’s ship couldn’t change course from the power source. Then, in a glimmer of hope, Michael and the crew managed to get a lock on his signature when General Ndoye rammed Tarka’s ship. Just before they could get Booker fully transported, though, his signature faded, and he seemed lost for good. Things worked out in the end, but Olatunde Osunsanmi told me even he was unsure of Booker’s fate when he first read it. 

When I read the script, I wasn’t sure what was gonna happen. Sometimes, what happens in the course of production is producers and directors read the scripts before the actors do. And so I read it and was like, ‘I better reach out to him and let him know that he doesn’t actually die at the end,’ because we always do these table reads, and that’s often the first time the actor actually gets a chance to read it because they’re doing so many other things on set. And, I [would’ve hated] for him to go through those emotions in real time. But what was fun was seeing the rest of the cast go through those emotions in real time.

Later in the episode, it’s revealed that Species Ten-C (who eventually got a good grasp on communicating with Starfleet) thought Discovery’s efforts to transport Booker was a message intended for them. They absorbed Booker and held him in stasis (Michelle Paradise wasn’t kidding about them being unlike previous species), and then when Michael brought it up in their conversation, put the courier back in his original form. 

Booker survived, and as Olatunde Osunsanmi reminded me earlier in the season, it wasn’t his first close call in Star Trek: Discovery Season 4. The director brought up a conversation he had with showrunner Michelle Paradise when he directed “Anomaly,” where Booker nearly didn't make it out of the DMA explosion, and then talked about the impact of being there for Booker’s “death” in the finale.

I remember at the time Michelle said, ‘We want to be careful, because of some stuff we’re going to be doing at the end of the season, not to overplay that hand or do a double up beat. And so that was brilliant work from her as a writer. To come to the end of the season and have it be so close that [Booker] doesn’t come back just like the rest of all his people on the planet. . . Particularly, when we thought we lost [Booker], the rest of the crew, as actors, really supported Sonequa. Actors talk about listening, and being present, and connecting. It was really wonderful being on that bridge when she couldn’t transport him over. To see them all connected with her and feeling that loss collectively was a really special moment.

It’s good to hear that the Star Trek: Discovery cast is as close behind-the-scenes as their characters are. It’s even cooler to know that they also felt the emotion of the scene when it seemed that Booker just narrowly missed out on surviving yet another catastrophe. Booker has all the luck, apparently, as evidenced by his getting to help displaced DMA families as atonement for his various crimes against The Federation. 

Another big moment of Star Trek: Discovery’s Season 4 finale was Earth’s official re-joining of The Federation. We met the President of United Earth, who was played by real-life Georgia politician and big Star Trek fan Stacey Abrams. I asked Olatunde Osunsanmi about filming her scene, which went about as smoothly as with any seasoned actor.

Yeah, it was very cool. I mean, we were – at least I was – just as surprised to find out she was coming in. That was the work of Alex Kurtzman, Michelle Paradise, and an assist from Wilson Cruz. It was really cool having her there. It was breathtaking because of who she is and what she stands for. She came in, and I didn't know that she had actor chops. She came in and killed it. What you see there's like two or three takes, right? The same as anybody else on a TV schedule. So, at pace. We spoke with her briefly before she showed up in Toronto and then on set. We just got to it like it was any other day, but it wasn't because we had this huge political titan you know, landing on our set. And we had this unbelievable titan of actors. And it was nice seeing those two spheres conjoined, so to speak, in such a beautiful way, and everybody was really respectful of who and what the other did. She was a delight to have around.

No word on whether or not Stacey Abrams will make future appearances in Star Trek: Discovery, though now that she’s established as the leader of Earth, the possibility is out there. Perhaps we’ll see her in Season 5 (which is already confirmed), just in time for whatever other crisis the Discovery crew has to face next. 

Star Trek: Discovery is done with Season 4, but Season 5 is currently in development for Paramount+ (opens in new tab). Now, fans can devote their full attention to Star Trek: Picard and get ready for all the other upcoming Star Trek shows coming in 2022. With what’s around the corner, there’s plenty of reason to keep that subscription to Paramount+.

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.