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Star Trek: Discovery season 3: release date revealed, trailer, cast and more

star trek discovery season 3 release date
(Image credit: CBS)

Star Trek: Discovery season 3 is coming to a galaxy light years away from you, but at least you'll be able to watch it on CBS All Access and Netflix in October 2020. Even better, it's proved so popular that writing on season 4 looks like it's already underway and it's since spawned two spin-offs: Section 31 focuses on the shady black ops unit, and prequel, Strange New Worlds.

So Trekkies everywhere have plenty to look forward to, but in terms of all things Star Trek: Discovery season 3, we know this season of the show will take us farther into the future than any time in the history of the show, the 32nd century. We've just had a second trailer to celebrate Star Trek Day 2020 which hints at the significant challenges the Federation is facing in the far future.

So, with many questions still to be answered, here's what we know about Star Trek: Discovery season 3, the cast and what we can expect from the show's story in this next series of intergalactic adventures.

Star Trek: Discovery season 3 release date: October 15

Star Trek: Discovery season 3's release date  has been revealed: Thursday, October 15, 2020. Expect episodes to roll out weekly.

It seems as if writing on a fourth season of Discovery has started, too, even though CBS hasn't formally ordered one yet. In a chat with Gold Derby, Kurtzman mentioned that, despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, "we have actually been able to get quite ahead in scripts for upcoming seasons of Discovery". This at least does mean season 4 is in the planning stage, but given the popularity of the show it's likely CBS will renew it once again.

Star Trek: Discovery season 3 trailer: watch the Star Trek Day footage

As part of Star Trek Day 2020, we got a second glimpse at Discovery season 3, and it shows a galaxy gone wrong. As we expected, the Federation isn't faring well this far into the future: it "mostly collapsed" after an event known as "The Burn". That's about the extent of the new plot details we've been given, but the trailer suggests the show has rediscovered its heart and sense of fun. 

Let the video above play on after the trailer to watch a panel with Kurtzman, Paradise, and, David Ajala (Nightflyers) who plays new character Cleveland Booker. As reported by Variety at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Kurtzman said Booker or ‘Book’ "is going to be a character that breaks the rules a little bit."

Above you can watch the first official Star Trek: Discovery season 3 trailer. In it we get our first look at the crew of the Discovery exploring the 32nd century, but we also see a United Federation of Planets Flag with only six stars - is the Federation no more in this time period? Could they be the 'ghosts' Book refers to in the trailer?

It also looks like Burnham is spending a long time in her search to find "that domino that tipped over and started all of this." Early in the trailer we see Burnham change her hair and appearance, suggesting that her adventures may take months, or even years.

(Image credit: CBS All Access)

Star Trek: Discovery season 3 cast: here's who's confirmed

Here are the key cast members we know so far:

  • Michael Burnham: Sonequa Martin-Green
  • Saru: Doug Jones 
  • Sylvia Tilly: Mary Wiseman
  • Dr Hugh Culber: Wilson Cruz
  • Lt. Joann Owosekun: Oyin Oladejo
  • Keyla Detmer: Emily Coutts
  • Paul Stamets: Anthony Rapp 
  • Emperor Georgiou: Michelle Yeoh
  • Blu del Barrio: Adira
  • Ian Alexander: Gray
  • David Ajala: Cleveland Booker
  • Tig Notaro: Jett Reno
  • Rachael Ancherii: Nhan
  • Sara Mitich: Nilsson
  • Patrick Kwok-Choon: Gen Rhys
  • Ronnie Rowe: RA Bryce
  • Maulik Pancholy: Dr Nambue
  • Terry Serpico: Admiral Anderson
  • Sam Vartholomeos: Connor

It might be worth forgetting Captain Pike and Spock, as they languish in the present. "Our bridge crew is so capable," Kurtzman told The Hollywood Reporter. "We're going to be using all of them much, much more. Especially because this crew has forfeited their lives for each other."

The show has also cast its first non-binary and transgender characters. Blu del Barrio  will play Adira and Ian Alexander will be Gray - you may remember the latter as Lev from The Last of Us Part 2. While Gray's character is being kept hush hush, Barrio said (via GLAAD) Adira is "a wonderfully complex character." They're "an introvert, but they keep a few people close to their chest".

star trek discovery season 3 story

(Image credit: CBS)

Star Trek: Discovery season 3's story is set way in the future

star trek discovery season 3

(Image credit: CBS)

So, how far did the Discovery go? At SDCC 2019, Kurtzman said: "Obviously we made a pretty radical jump into the future at the end of season two – we're going almost 1000 years into the future in season three, which is crazy. Further than any Trek series has ever gone before." 930 years to the as-yet-unexplored 32nd century, to be specific.

Kurtzman also mentioned at the panel that he’s excited by the prospect of getting to "honor canon but shake it up hugely." For Sonequa Martin-Green, speaking to Syfy Wire, this is an opportunity for the show to boldly go where no one has gone before, properly. Visiting new planets, timelines, and sectors is "the perfect way to define us, because we are new yet familiar."

Speaking of Burnham, we know that it’ll have an impact on her. Martin-Green said to TrekMovie that "there has been deep deep deep change [...] it’s linked to this very future we’re in. Basically, there’s a host of problems that this new future presents, an entirely brand-new tapestry of conflict."

But who will be the captain? Before we had Lorca, and then Pike, but currently the chair is vacant for season 3. And while Burnham and Saru are hot favourites, at the virtual SDCC 2020 panel, a fan question asked Mary Wiseman whether Tilly was in a place to take up the mantle. "I think so. There are some pretty big speed bumps in season 2 on that road. But that's always her pie-in-the-sky, reaching the zenith of leadership within Starfleet." Wiseman said. While the team lurched into the future is "on the edge of the unknown", Tilly was the captain of the ISS Discovery in the Mirror Universe, so it could happen.

Can Discovery bounce back?

The first season of Star Trek: Discovery proved a promising start to the prequel series, but it rather lost its way in season 2. Viewers waded through reams of exposition and technical jargon, and it mostly failed to capitalize on the engrossing, galaxy-consuming war of season 1. Hopefully this new Frontier will be the fresh start the series needs in Star Trek: Discovery season 3, without having to lean on familiar characters.