At the end of an exhilarating Saturday at NYCC, the cast and crew of Star Trek: Discovery assembled at the prestigious Paley Center for Media in New York City for an intimate conversation about what lays ahead in season three, 930 year into the future.
Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Mary Wiseman, Anthony Rapp, Wilson Cruz, and season three newcomer David Ajala, represented the cast, while producers Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin, and Michelle Paradise represented for the writing and production staff. The panel and audience Q&A were hosted by Scott Collura, Executive Editor of IGN, who fielded questions that led to a heartfelt talk about Star Trek, love, inclusion and personal sacrifice.
While outlining season three in broad strokes Kurtzman was clear that season two's leap forward into their future was not erasing canon, but freeing them up to highlight it in a new a fresh way.“Discovery is Starfleet now,” said Kurtzman, highlighting the bleak look at the Federation that the season three trailer seemed to give. Yet, through this unknown future, audiences can expect to see the very best of what Starfleet is and the best of what Star Trek has to offer. Teasing a visit to Trill —a culture seen first in The Next Generation and further explored through Dax on Deep Space Nine— it was clear that the writing team was eager and excited to deliver new adventures and new mythos, while remaining true to Trek history and most importantly its ideals. He made it clear that Discovery will continue to champion inclusivity and diversity, not by calling it out, but by making it commonplace.
Among the highlights of the evening were insights from each of the actors on where their characters find themselves physically and emotionally as the new season begins:
- Martin-Green was passionate as she spoke about the themes of self-sacrifice, not only in Discovery, but her own life as well. Her call for Star Trek to highlight the noblest qualities in all of us was a welcome reminder that we all have an obligation to contribute the best of ourselves and that Star Trek can be a beacon of hope and action.
- In summing up Saru’s role as season three begins, Jones said that his character would be seen as the "father figure," rallying the crew as they adjust to their new situation. He would not divulge who Discovery's captain would be, but quipped that he has a lot of experience being Acting-Captain from seasons one and two. Freed from his threat-ganglia, Saru can lead fearlessly and we will be treated to that in season three.
- Wiseman commented on Tilly’s relationship with her mother and spoke about how Tilly will cope with being generations removed from her family. In response to an audience comment praising her portrayal of Tilly's social anxiety, the actress was brought to tears as she spoke of her own experiences and personally thanked the audience member for being brave to let us "see her" and inspiring us all.
- Rapp and Cruz were delightfully witty together, speaking to their on-screen relationship and saying we will get a glimpse again at their characters' domestic lives and love together. Inspired by an audience question about their go-to karaoke songs, the pair delighted the audience with a few bars from George Michael's "Faith" and Jeffrey Osborne’s "On the Wings of Love."
- Newcomer Ajala spoke of his character, Book, as selfless and self-driven. Book will serve as Discovery’s example of what this future has in store for them. His passion for acting was evident, and he was clearly grateful to be joining the Discovery family.
- Creatives Paradise and Kadin assured fans that Discovery’s supporting characters will continue to be highlighted throughout the new season, praising those actors who bring texture and richness to the show
The Star Trek: Discovery team made it clear that they are committed to not only continuing Star Trek's ideals but also ensuring they include us all and stand as a beacon for generations to come. The sense that they truly get Star Trek was palpable, and the audience certainly came away excited about the future of Star Trek: Discovery and the franchise as a whole.
Russell Meyers (he/him) is an IT professional, and former motion picture Booker for Paramount Pictures. He is an avid Star Trek fan and collector, currently residing in New York City with his wife Robin and their son.
Star Trek: Discovery streams exclusively on CBS All Access in the United States and is distributed concurrently by CBS Studios International on Netflix in 188 countries and in Canada on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and OTT service Crave.