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Star Trek: Discovery’s Showrunner Confirms Season 4 Will Be About More Than Another Galactic Threat

Warning! The following contains spoilers for the Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 premiere “Kobayashi Maru.” Read at your own risk!

Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 officially premiered on Paramount+ in the United States, and it didn’t take more than an episode for fans to see the devastating effect of this season’s major galactic threat. The gravitational anomaly showed the danger it poses to the galaxy, as the Discovery crew helplessly watched as Cleveland Booker’s home planet, Kwejian, was destroyed in a seemingly naturally occurring event. 

The moment immediately raises the stakes for the Discovery crew, though that’s something some fans feared when the trailer for Season 4 first released. Star Trek: Discovery always has a galactic-wide threat happening, and with this season being Michael Burnham’s first as Captain, some hoped the action would cool off in order to see her do things a typical Starfleet Captain would do. I asked Discovery showrunner Michelle Paradise if those types of adventures are out of the question in a season like this and got some news that should reassure anyone currently worried. 

Not out of the question at all. No, I think we can and will see all of those things. It really is a season about Captain Burnham in many ways. You know, we got this threat that we're going to learn more about, but that is the thing they’re dealing with. The season is really about who is she in the Captain’s chair, and how do we follow that journey, and how does she grow, and how does she change. Certainly, dealing with this anomaly is a huge thing for her and for all of our characters, but in there, there’s also other things that happen. To be really vague about it [smiles].

Michael Burnham will obviously need to figure out how to handle this gravitational anomaly, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for her to do other things along the way. Michelle Paradise assured there would be stories dedicated to her first year as a Captain, and based on her brief interactions with the Federation’s President, a chance to silence any critics about her past. 

Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 will see the 32nd century Federation grow, it appears, and with that growth comes an opportunity for new stories. The gravitational anomaly is another galactic threat the Discovery crew will need to stop, and that adventure creates an opening to further flesh out the universe in this timeline. Michelle Paradise spoke a bit about expanding the world of Discovery and how Season 4 accomplishes that with its story.

We are, every season, looking for ways to expand the world around us. The world that we have. Season 3 was about where are we now, where is the Federation now in post-Burn. And by the end of Season 3, we’ve solved that and started to bring some pieces back together again. Season 4 will continue that in terms of where is the Federation is and how are we coming back together again. All of those sorts of things. And, yes, continuing to explore the world, explore new species, see who else is out there. As was alluded to in the trailer, this anomaly threatens Federation and non-Federation worlds alike. So, what does that mean? Those are some of the other things that we’ll be exploring.

Sonequa Martin-Green’s Michael Burnham got every opportunity to show she’s the capable Captain fans hoped she’d be in the Season 4 premiere, but as the famous Starfleet “Kobayashi Maru” test teaches, failure does happen. While few on the Discovery would classify her heroics saving another ship as a failure, Burnham felt the weight of the parts of the mission that did fail, and it will be interesting to see how she continues to cope with that in future episodes. 

Star Trek: Discovery airs new episodes on Paramount+ on Thursdays. Tune in to see more of Burnham’s inaugural run as Captain of the Discovery and how Booker will cope with losing his planet and potentially most everyone he ever loved.

Mick Joest

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.