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Star Trek: Discovery season 3: release date predictions, trailer and what we know

(Image credit: CBS All Access)

Energize! Star Trek: Discovery season 3 is happening. A third series was confirmed not long after the complex, timey-wimey exploits of Captain Pike’s crew and their fight against Control, but more interstellar obstacles are about to reveal themselves.

Discovery returns in 2020, but it’ll be released separately to Star Trek: Picard. Creator and co-showrunner (alongside newly-promoted showrunner, Michelle Paradise) Alex Kurtzman told The Hollywood Reporter that, "the intention is to have something Star Trek on the air all the time, but not necessarily on top of each other." 

Since Star Trek: Discovery season 3 is on the way, below we’ll be breaking down when we can expect it to land, who the new and returning cast members are, plus where the story is going to go from here. 

If you haven't seen season 2 yet on CBS All Access in the US or Netflix internationally, beware spoilers. 

Star Trek: Discovery season 3 release date: coming in 2020, but when?

Season 3 was confirmed on January 18, 2019, the month the second season began. We’re still waiting for a specific release date, though. Season 1 premiered in September 2017, and season 2 arrived in January 2019. With that 16-month gap in mind and a 2020 release confirmed by Kurtzman above, the very earliest season 3 could release is in April, since Picard is releasing weekly until the end of March and it seems unlikely they'd debut new episodes at the same time. 

Kurtzman told Deadline’s Crew Call podcast in June 2019 that "we are on episode five of season three of Discovery. We're far along."

The Star Trek: Discovery season 3 trailer reveals the future of the universe

Above we can see the state of the Discovery in the future. We also get a sneak peek of David Ajala (Nightflyers) as 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."

Ajala is joined by new cast members Maulik Pancholy (Dr Nambue, Chief Medical Officer on the USS Shenzhou), Terry Serpico (Admiral Anderson, a top Starfleet official), and Sam Vartholomeos (Connor, a Junior Officer also on the Shenzhou).

Interestingly, 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.

star trek discovery season 3 trailer

(Image credit: CBS)

Plenty of the Star Trek: Discovery season 3 cast are confirmed

The first trailer confirms the reappearance of a number of returning actors. They are:

  • 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 

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."

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? Also 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."

Can Discovery bounce back?

The first season of Star Trek: Discovery proved a promising start to The Original 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, without having to lean on familiar characters.