Star Trek: Discovery (season 3)

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Star Trek: Discovery
Season 3
Star Trek Discovery season 3 poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Starring
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes1
Release
Original networkCBS All Access
Original releaseOctober 15, 2020 (2020-10-15) –
present (present)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 2
Next →
Season 4
List of Star Trek: Discovery episodes

The third season of the American television series Star Trek: Discovery follows the crew of the USS Discovery as they travel to the future, over 900 years after the events of the original Star Trek series. The season is being produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Secret Hideout and Roddenberry Entertainment, with Alex Kurtzman and Michelle Paradise serving as showrunners.

Sonequa Martin-Green stars as Michael Burnham, along with the returning Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, and Wilson Cruz. They are joined by David Ajala. The season was ordered in February 2019, with Paradise promoted to co-showrunner alongside series co-creator Kurtzman. They ended the second season with the Discovery travelling to the future, freeing the series from existing Star Trek continuity and allowing them to explore a new time period for the franchise. Filming took place from July 2019 to February 2020, in Toronto, Canada, and on location in Iceland. Post-production took place remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 13-episode season premiered on the streaming service CBS All Access on October 15, 2020, to positive reviews. It is set to finish airing on January 7, 2021. A fourth season was officially announced in October 2020.[1]

Episodes[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title [2]Directed byWritten by [3]Original release date [4]
301"That Hope Is You, Part 1"Olatunde OsunsanmiMichelle Paradise & Jenny Lumet & Alex KurtzmanOctober 15, 2020 (2020-10-15)
312"Far From Home"
"That Hope Is You, Part 2"[4]
Olatunde Osunsanmi[5]TBAOctober 22, 2020 (2020-10-22)
323"People of Earth"Jonathan Frakes[6]Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt[7]October 29, 2020 (2020-10-29)
334"Forget Me Not"TBAAlan McElroy & Chris Silvestri & Anthony MaranvilleNovember 5, 2020 (2020-11-05)
345"Die Trying"TBATeleplay by : Sean Cochran
Story by : James Duff & Sean Cochran
November 12, 2020 (2020-11-12)
356"Scavengers"TBAAnne Cofell SaundersNovember 19, 2020 (2020-11-19)
367"Unification III"TBAKirsten BeyerNovember 26, 2020 (2020-11-26)
378"The Sanctuary"Jonathan Frakes[6]Kenneth Lin & Brandon A. SchultzDecember 3, 2020 (2020-12-03)
38–399–10"Terra Firma"TBATeleplay by : Alan McElroy
Story by : Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt & Alan McElroy
December 10, 2020 (2020-12-10)
Teleplay by : Kalinda Vazquez
Story by : Bo Yeon Kim & Erika Lippoldt & Alan McElroy
December 17, 2020 (2020-12-17)
4011"The Citadel"TBAAnne Cofell SaundersDecember 24, 2020 (2020-12-24)
4112"The Good of the People"Jonathan Frakes[6]Kenneth LinDecember 31, 2020 (2020-12-31)
4213"Outside"Olatunde Osunsanmi[8]Michelle ParadiseJanuary 7, 2021 (2021-01-07)

Cast and characters[edit]

Recurring[edit]

Notable guests[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

On February 27, 2019, CBS All Access renewed Star Trek: Discovery for a third season, shortly after the second season premiere, citing the positive fan response to that premiere as well as increased subscribers. After joining the series as a writer during the second season, Michelle Paradise was promoted to co-showrunner for the third season alongside series co-creator Alex Kurtzman.[17] Kurtzman explained that Paradise had become essential to his process during the second season, becoming a partner for him while he oversaw multiple Star Trek series in addition to showrunning Discovery. By the end of the second season he felt that Paradise was already running Discovery with him, so it was an easy transition to her becoming official co-showrunner during the third season.[18] In October, Kurtzman said the season would have 13 episodes, and this was unlikely to be extended as happened in previous seasons.[19] After joining the Star Trek franchise as a science advisor, astrophysicist Erin Macdonald primarily served as a consultant on this season.[20]

Executive producer Heather Kadin said in January 2020 that the season would be ready by May 2020, but would be scheduled for release around the other Star Trek series being made for All Access.[21] By late March, post-production work for the season, including editing, visual effects, and scoring, was taking place remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[22][23] In July, Paradise said the crew was "working nonstop" to complete post-production, but it was taking longer than previous seasons due to the pandemic.[24] At the end of the month, the season was set to premiere on October 15, 2020, after the season finale of Star Trek: Lower Decks.[25] Soon after, Kurtzman said that the production was very lucky to have completed filming shortly before the pandemic forced other productions to stop, and reiterated that completing post-production remotely took longer than usual. He confirmed that the third season had been intended for release around May 2020, but due to the post-production delays it was moved to debut after Lower Decks instead.[26]

Writing[edit]

The series' writers began work on the season at the end of February 2019,[27] at Kurtzman's Secret Hideout offices in Santa Monica.[28] The writers room for the season included Jenny Lumet, Anne Cofell Saunders, Ken Lin, Alan McElroy, Kirsten Beyer, Brandon Schultz, Erika Lippoldt, Bo Yeon Kim, Chris Silvestri, Anthony Maranville, Sean Cochran, and Kalinda Vazquez.[29] After working in the writers room for the series Snowfall, author Walter Mosley was hired by Kurtzman for a similar role on the third season of Discovery. After working on the series for three weeks, Mosley was notified by CBS of a complaint made against him by another member of the writers room for Mosley's use of the word "nigger" while telling a story. CBS told Mosley this was usually a fireable offence, but said no further action would be taken and asked that he not use the word again outside of a script. Mosley chose to leave the series, quitting without informing Kurtzman and Paradise. He explained his decision in an op-ed for The New York Times in September 2019, and CBS responded by saying "we are committed to supporting a workplace where employees feel free to express concerns". Mosley did not identify Discovery as the series he was working on in the op-ed, but this was confirmed by CBS in their response.[28] Paradise revealed at the end of January 2020 that the season finale script had been completed.[21]

The second season ended with the USS Discovery traveling over 900 years into the future, freeing the series from the continuity of previous Star Trek series and allowing it to explore a new time period for the franchise. Kurtzman compared this decision to that of the film Star Trek (2009)—on which he worked as a writer—starting a new timeline to avoid established continuity. He added that it would allow the series to have "an entirely new energy for season three with a whole new set of problems". He referred to this setting as essentially an entirely new universe, with references to previous Star Trek series being "a very distant memory" at this point. Kurtzman confirmed that Control, the AI antagonist of the second season, was officially neutralized in that season's finale and the third season would focus on "much bigger problems".[30] Series' star Sonequa Martin-Green described the new setting as a "blank slate".[9] In October, Paradise confirmed that the Federation would still exist in this future, but would be going through "a bit of a rough patch", while Kurtzman explained that the USS Discovery will still be the only ship to use a spore drive which will make it a target for others interested in the technology in the third season.[29] Kurtzman stated in January 2020 that the season would not tie-in with the first season of Star Trek: Picard, but would acknowledge "a lot of things that were planted in previous shows".[31]

The first episode of the season focuses on Martin-Green as Michael Burnham, alone on an unknown planet in the future until she meets new character Cleveland "Book" Booker. The second episode follows the rest of the Discovery crew, who are reunited with Burnham in the third episode.[5] Once they are reunited, Martin-Green explained that the season would focus on "simple" questions for the crew, such as "Where are we? What are we going to do? Who are we going to be? What does this future look like?"[32] In October 2020, Kurtzman revealed that the season takes place following a cataclysmic event that separated people across the universe and changed the way that they communicate. He noted that this is "exactly what we are going through right now" with the COVID-19 pandemic, though the season was written before the pandemic so the similarities are not intentional.[18]

Casting[edit]

The season stars the returning Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham,[9] Doug Jones as Saru,[10] Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets,[10] Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilly,[10] and Wilson Cruz as Hugh Culber.[10] They are joined by David Ajala, who was announced as new series regular Cleveland "Book" Booker in July 2019.[11] Book has a pet cat in the season named Grudge, who is portrayed by Leeu, a Maine Coon. Leeu was described by his handlers as a "one-take wonder".[33]

In January 2019, Kurtzman discussed the planned spin-off series to star Michelle Yeoh in her role of Philippa Georgiou from the earlier Discovery seasons. He stated that it was not expected until after the third season of Discovery was completed, and that there were already plans for Yeoh to appear in that third season first.[14] Executive producer Heather Kadin noted that Yeoh's presence in the season could lead to a direct tie-in with the spin-off series, and added there was a chance that Aldis Hodge could reprise his role from the Star Trek: Short Treks short "Calypso", which is set around the same time as the third season.[34] Kurtzman said the third season would continue to expand on the crew of the Discovery outside the main cast after beginning to do so in the second season, something that fans had responded to positively.[30] Tig Notaro reprises her role as engineer Jett Reno in the season.[15] Kenneth Mitchell, who guest starred as several different Klingon characters during the first two seasons, appears in the third season as a new human character.[16]

Casting had begun by June 2019 for the new role of Adira, a non-binary character described as "incredibly intelligent and self-confident". The character was set to have a major role in one episode with the potential to become a recurring guest throughout the rest of the season. Despite the character being portrayed as 16 years old in the season, an actor 18 years or older was being looked for.[35] In October, Adil Hussain revealed that he had joined the cast for the season.[12] In September 2020, non-binary newcomer Blu del Barrio was revealed to be portraying Adira, whilst transgender actor Ian Alexander was announced as cast in the role of Gray, a Trill character. Both characters were noted to be the first explicitly non-binary and transgender characters within the Star Trek franchise, respectively. The writers worked with GLAAD while developing the two characters.[13]

Design[edit]

The series' opening title sequence was updated for the season by Prologue.[36] The season features a "streamlined" new logo to reflect its move to the far future. Kurtzman felt this was especially important since the series' initial logo had been intended to reflect the Klingon storyline of the first season, which the series had now moved on from.[37] Kurtzman said there was a temptation to "say that anything is possible and the laws of physics don't apply anymore" when designing future technology, but it was still important to have the story drive the technology and to make it feel grounded. This meant creating evolved versions of existing Star Trek technology to ground the season in the designs of the franchise.[32]

Filming[edit]

The season began filming in July 2019, with six days on location in Iceland,[38][19] before moving to Pinewood Toronto Studios in Toronto, Canada on July 18.[35] Iceland was chosen because the producers wanted to introduce the future of Star Trek with a place that looks different to the previous seasons, and because Kurtzman had always wanted to film there.[19] Originally, producing director Olatunde Osunsanmi was set to direct the first episode of the season with Jonathan Frakes directing the second. However, both episodes required location filming in Iceland. Osunsanmi ultimately directed both episodes, including all of the Iceland shoot for each. Frakes then directed the third episode in Toronto. Frakes noted that the style of the series was still "shoot to thrill", but this was toned down for the third season compared to the previous two.[5] Filming took place at Kingston Penitentiary in Ontario, Canada in December.[39] Filming on the season officially wrapped in Toronto on February 24, 2020.[8]

Music[edit]

By the end of January 2020, composer Jeff Russo had written some pre-recorded music for the season but had not yet seen any of the completed episodes. He said his approach to the season's music would not be affected by the time-jump between seasons since it was still the same series.[40] In April, Russo was "full speed ahead" composing music for the first five episodes of the season, working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. His intention was to record the scores with an orchestra later, once it was safe to do.[23] A month later, Russo had begun remotely recording individual musicians from their homes. Recording engineer Michael Perfitt was tasked with combining the different recordings to make them sound like the musicians were recorded together at a scoring stage, and Russo felt the final result would not be of a lower quality compared to his scores for the previous seasons. He reiterated that though the season would feature new motifs for new characters and locations, it would still sound like Star Trek: Discovery.[41]

Marketing[edit]

Star Trek: Discovery panel at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con

The series was promoted at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 in a "Star Trek Universe" panel alongside other series from the franchise. The panel featured Kurtzman, Paradise, Martin-Green, and introduced Ajala.[38] Comic-Con also had an "immersive transporter experience" that allowed fans of the series to "step aboard the USS Discovery and travel to strange and distant lands".[42] The cast and executive producers promoted the series at further "Star Trek Universe" panels at New York Comic Con and PaleyFest New York in October,[10][29] with a trailer for the season revealed at the New York Comic Con panel. Several commentators questioned whether Starfleet still existed in the universe based on dialogue in the trailer.[43][44] In late February 2020, key art for the season was released on Twitter by a purported CBS account. The images were shortly taken down due to a copyright claim from CBS, with the original account believed to be a fake.[45] A short teaser featuring Martin-Green and using the same visual style as the leaked art was released following the season finale of Star Trek: Picard.[46]

The series' cast and executive producers promoted Discovery in a virtual "Star Trek Universe" panel for the 2020 Comic-Con@Home convention, where the cast of the second season's finale participated in a table read of the first act of that episode before teasing the third season of the series.[47][48] The live stream of the event was interrupted for around 20 minutes when CBS's content protection system blocked it as a copyright infringement.[49] The season's premiere date was announced shortly after the event, and was accompanied by a brief teaser depicting Burnham planting the Federation flag on a new planet.[50] This was shortly followed by a new trailer celebrating "23 weeks of New Trek" and featuring footage from both the third season of Discovery and the first season of Lower Decks; the 23 weeks include both series, with Lower Decks premiering on August 6 and running for 10 weeks, followed the next week by the premiere of Discovery which then runs for 13 weeks.[51] On September 8, CBS All Access streamed a free 24-hour event to celebrate the 54th anniversary of the Original Series premiere. The event included a marathon of episodes from across the Star Trek franchise, with a break during the day for a series of panels about different Star Trek series. These included a panel for Discovery featuring Martin-Green, Ajala, Kurtzman, and Paradise during which they revealed a full trailer for the season.[52][53] The trailer revealed that the season was about bringing hope back to the Federation in an uncertain future, and introduced the series' new logo. It was accompanied by the official release of the season's key art poster.[53] Another virtual "Star Trek Universe" panel was held for the 2020 New York Comic Con a week before the season's premiere. The cast and crew discussed the season and revealed the opening scene of the season premiere.[32]

Release[edit]

The season premiered on CBS All Access in the United States on October 15, 2020,[25] and be released weekly for 13 episodes until January 7, 2021.[50] Bell Media broadcasts the series in Canada on the specialty channels CTV Sci-Fi Channel (English) and Z (French) on the same day as the U.S., before streaming episodes on Crave. Netflix has streaming rights for the series in another 188 countries, and releases each episode of the series for streaming within 24 hours of its U.S. debut.[54]

Reception[edit]

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported 93% approval with an average rating of 7.71/10 based on 14 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "With less canonical baggage and a welcome dose of character development, Discovery continues to forge its own path and is narratively all the better for it."[55] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 74 out of 100 based on reviews from 7 critics.[56]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]