Star Trek: Discovery (season 2)

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Star Trek: Discovery (season 2)
Star Trek Discovery season 2 poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Country of origin United States
Original network CBS All Access
Season chronology
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Season 1
List of Star Trek: Discovery episodes

The second season of the American television series Star Trek: Discovery is set roughly a decade before the events of the original Star Trek series and follows the crew of the USS Discovery. The season will be produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Secret Hideout, Roddenberry Entertainment, and Living Dead Guy Productions, with Alex Kurtzman serving as showrunner.

Sonequa Martin-Green stars as Michael Burnham, along with the returning Doug Jones, Shazad Latif, Anthony Rapp, and Mary Wiseman; they are joined by Wilson Cruz, promoted from a recurring guest role, and Anson Mount as original Star Trek captain Christopher Pike. Original showrunner Bryan Fuller had intended for Discovery to be an anthology series that told different stories each season. CBS did not agree, but a hybrid approach was eventually used, following the same characters but telling different stories each season. The second season was officially ordered in October 2017, and filming began in April 2018. Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts, the first season's showrunners, returned for the second but were fired during production; co-creator Kurtzman replaced them.

The season is set to premiere on January 17, 2019 and will consist of 13 episodes.


No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
161TBAAlex Kurtzman[1]TBAJanuary 17, 2019 (2019-01-17)[2]

Jonathan Frakes directed the second and tenth episodes.[3]

Cast and characters[edit]




On November 2, 2015, CBS announced a new Star Trek television series to premiere in January 2017, "on the heels" of the original series' 50th anniversary in 2016.[18] In February 2016, Bryan Fuller, who began his career writing for the series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, was announced as the new series' showrunner.[19] CBS did not have a plan for what the new show would be when Fuller joined,[20] and he proposed an anthology series with each season being a standalone, serialized show set in a different era, beginning with a prequel to the original series. CBS told Fuller to just start with a single serialized show and see how that performs first, and he began further developing the prequel concept.[21] By the end of 2016, Fuller had left the series due to further conflicts with CBS and other commitments, with Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts replacing him as showrunner.[22] In June 2017, co-creator Alex Kurtzman said that he and Fuller had discussed plans for future seasons before the latter's departure.[23]

Executive producer Akiva Goldsman stated in August 2017 that though the series is not an anthology as Fuller first proposed, "it's kind of a hybridized approach. I don't think we're looking for an endless, continuing nine or 10 year story. We're looking at arcs which will have characters that we know and characters that we don't know."[24] Kurtzman elaborated that the Federation-Klingon War story arc of the first season would not continue in a second, saying "each season needs to be about a different thing".[25] However, he was not interested in a full anthology series because "I wouldn't necessarily want to throw [the characters] away at the end of the season for a new show",[26] and instead felt that the aftereffects of the first season would be felt moving forward: "The results of the war are going to allow for a lot of new storytelling", with "the casualties, the things that have grown in Starfleet as a result of the war" carrying over to the next season.[25] By the end of August, Berg and Harberts had developed a "road map" for a second season.[27] After the premiere of the first season, Kurtzman explained that a "big idea" had been proposed mid-way through production on that season which became the "spine" of the second season, with the writers' "emotional compass" having pointed them to using that idea. He added that the series' producers wanted to avoid announcing release dates for the season, just to delay them due to the external pressure that caused with the first season. However, he hoped the second season would be available in early 2019, as long as the quality and scope of the series was not compromised to achieve that.[28] On October 23, a second season was officially ordered by All Access. CBS Interactive President Marc DeBevoise cited the increased subscriptions for All Access since the series' debut, as well as critical acclaim and fan interest, when announcing the renewal.[29] The season consists of 13 episodes.[30]

In June 2018, during production on the season, CBS Television Studios fired Berg and Harberts. This was not due to creative concerns, as the studio and network were pleased with the scripts for the season and early cuts of already filmed episodes, but due to a combination of the first episode of the season going significantly over budget—to the point that the budgets for later episodes of the season would have to be cut to cover the difference—and alleged abusive behavior by the pair directed at the series' writing staff; multiple writers had become uncomfortable working with the pair, and had apparently been threatened by Harberts after stating their intention to file a formal complaint. Kurtzman was made sole showrunner in their place, and was described as the "glue holding Discovery together". With this change came news that Goldsman did not return as executive producer for the second season, after serving as Kurtzman's "right-hand man", because he had a "management style and personality that clashed with the writing staff".[31] At the end of the month, James Duff joined the series as an executive producer, specifically to help Kurtzman run the series' writers room. Olatunde Osunsanmi, who served as a director and co-executive producer during the first season, became a full executive producer as well and was set as producing director for the rest of the season's production. Additionally, Jenny Lumet, who joined as a consulting producer at the beginning of the season, was promoted to co-executive producer.[32] In July, the season was confirmed to premiere in January 2019.[16]


The series' writers began work on the second season in December 2017, and were considering "science vs. faith" as the main theme of the season. Harberts said that, unlike the first season, the second would not be a "war season" and would have more time "to do things like more away missions, newer planets, stories that might fall a little bit more into a framework of allegory that people love to get from Trek" while retaining the serialized structure introduced in the first season. He added that the season would be "jam packed" with things that they were not able to do in the first season.[33] In March 2018, Harberts clarified that the series would not just be looking at religion, but also "patterns in our lives. It means connections you can't explain. Who enters your life and who leaves your life and these indelible impressions people make ... that is one of our biggest ideas now and it is threading through all of our characters' lives."[34] With the Federation–Klingon War storyline not carrying through to the second season, Kurtzman said that there would be much less of a focus on the Klingons in the second season and far fewer Klingon-only scenes, but that Klingon characters would still appear.[6]

The season begins with the arrival of the USS Enterprise (where the first season ended) on a specific mission, which ties into a larger story that does not involve the Enterprise and is the main arc for the whole second season;[35] the storyline involves seven mysterious signals and a strange "red angel" figure that appears to several characters in visions.[2] A goal of the showrunners for the season was to "cement Discovery firmly in the timeline" by reconciling some of the apparent continuity errors caused by the first season, such as why protagonist Michael Burnham has never been mentioned by her adoptive brother Spock, or why the advanced spore-drive technology used on the USS Discovery is not used in later Star Trek series.[36] The season also features more of an episodic feel than the first, while still having a serialized story for the whole season. This "classic episode feel" was created by having a central character or question for each episode whose story also contributed to the season-long story.[2]


The season stars the returning Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham,[4] Doug Jones as Saru,[5] Shazad Latif as Voq / Ash Tyler,[6] Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets,[7] and Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly.[7] Wilson Cruz reprises his guest role of Hugh Culber, who died in the first season,[8] and is promoted to the main cast for the second.[9]

After the first season concluded with the Discovery receiving a distress call from the USS Enterprise, specifically from Captain Christopher Pike, Harberts expressed interest in exploring that character in the second season, feeling that he had not been seen much in Star Trek previously and so "there’s an interesting opportunity that we might have to delve into and flesh out a character who I think is a pretty darn heroic and selfless captain." Spock is also a crew member of the Enterprise, but Harberts felt that he was less of an interesting character for the series to explore given his many appearances throughout previous iterations of Star Trek,[37] and was reluctant to have an actor other than Leonard Nimoy or Zachary Quinto portray the character.[38] In April 2018, Anson Mount was cast as Pike, which was described as a "key role" for the season,[10] and a young Spock was confirmed to be appearing in flashbacks;[3] Kurtzman noted that casting for Spock took into consideration a balance between Vulcan logic and revealing "emotion in the eyes and in the small gestures".[35] Mount revealed in July that he would star for the full season,[39] and that Rebecca Romijn would portray the original series character Number One.[16] In August, Ethan Peck was announced as portraying Spock in the season. Kurtzman compared the actor to both Nimoy and Quinto and stated that he believed Peck "would, like them, effortlessly embody Spock’s greatest qualities, beyond obvious logic: empathy, intuition, compassion, confusion, and yearning."[17]

In March 2018, an alternate ending to the first season was revealed in which a Section 31 agent named Leland is introduced, portrayed by Alan van Sprang. The producers confirmed that Sprang would be portraying the character in the second season.[13] Van Sprang had worked with Berg and Harberts on the series Reign, and they had been trying to find a character for him to play throughout production on the first season. The actor described his role in the second season as a "massive part of it".[40] The alternate ending saw Leland approach Michelle Yeoh's Philippa Georgiou about joining Section 31,[13] and in February 2018 Kurtsman said that it was possible for Yeoh to reprise the role in the second season along with Jason Isaacs as Gabriel Lorca.[6] Yeoh was confirmed to be appearing in the season to continue the Section 31 storyline in October 2018.[2] Several other recurring guests also return from the first season, including Mary Chieffo as L'Rell and James Frain as Sarek.[14][15] Additionally, Emily Coutts returns as Keyla Detmer.[7]

In April 2018, Tig Notaro was cast in the guest role of Denise Reno;[11] she later revealed that this would be a recurring role for the season, and that she had been able to rename her character to Jet Reno.[41][12] That October, Martin-Green announced that her husband Kenric Green had been cast for the season, and would be making an "indelible contribution".[2]


Several new sets for the Discovery were built for the second season, adding to the ones constructed for the first. These included a new "loop corridor" and new entrances to the mess hall and sick bay sets. The engineering set from the first season was also renovated for the second, with production designer Tamara Deverell explaining that the cinematography department had been complaining about the large amount of light coming from the spore chamber in that set in contrast to the rest of the room.[42] Glenn Hetrick and Neville Page of Alchemy Studios, who provide prosthetics and armor for the series, teased in May 2018 that the season would feature a "truly alien" for which they had to figure out new ways to reduce the weight of the prosthetics and make it breathable for the actor, as well as try improve the actor's vision because the eyes of the creature did not align with where human eyes are positioned. Hetrick added that there would be more interesting background characters in terms of prosthetics for extras on set, while the pair were able to use a species from earlier Star Trek canon that had not been in the first season of Discovery after producing a list for the executive producers featuring all the species they would like to use.[43]

John Eaves and Scott Schneider, designers of the starships for the series, were required to redesign the USS Enterprise for Star Trek: Discovery, making it 25 percent different from Matt Jeffries' original design due to legal concerns regarding the ownership of different Star Trek elements. CBS ultimately confirmed that they were free to reuse Jeffreies' design in Star Trek: Discovery, but stood by the changes made by Eaves and Schneider as creative improvements that took advantage of modern visual effects. These changes included adding elements that could realistically be removed or replaced in the time between this series and the beginning of the original series. The visual effects department made further adjustments to the design after Eaves and Schneider completed their work.[44] The final version of the ship seen in the series also adopts some of the characteristics of the Enterprise from the films, such as being "a little bit fatter, a little bit bigger", to fit into the aesthetic of the series.[45] Elaborating on this, Kurtzman explained that the original designs for the Enterprise would look out of place within the series due to the far more advanced modern technology being used to produce the show. He added that any sets designed for the Enterprise would bridge the look of the original series and Discovery while still trying to adhere to canon and remain consistent with the original designs where possible.[6]


Filming for the season began at Pinewood Toronto Studios on April 16, 2018,[5][46] under the working title Green Harvest. Production was set to take place on the series at the studio until November 8.[46] At the time of Berg and Harberts' firing, production was underway on the fifth episode of the season, and a hiatus in filming was planned to follow that. This allowed Kurtzman to take the time to "regroup" the series' writing staff without delaying the series' production.[31]


Composer Jeff Russo planned to begin work on the second season in May 2018, after receiving the first script for the season. He did not expect to significantly change the tone of his music for the season, feeling that so much work in the first season had gone towards creating a unique sound for the series within the Star Trek franchise which he would like to continue moving forward.[47] Russo did feel that the score for the second season would focus more on the "swashbuckling" aspects he wrote at times for the first season. Russo generally works directly with the showrunners rather than any of the episodic directors, but discussed his score for the season's second episode with director Jonathan Frakes.[48]


The season was promoted at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2018, with Notaro moderating a panel that featured Kurtzman, Martin-Green, Jones, Latif, Wiseman, Rapp, Cruz, Chieffo, Mount, and executive producer Heather Kadin. The first trailer for the season debuted at the panel before being released online.[16]


The season is set to premiere on January 17, 2019 on CBS All Access in the United States.[2] Bell Media broadcasts the series in Canada on the specialty channels Space (English) and Z (French) before streaming episodes on CraveTV, while Netflix has streaming rights for the series in another 188 countries. Netflix releases each episode of the series for streaming within 24 hours of its U.S. debut. [49]


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