After 13 episodes, Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 is in the books. And unlike previous seasons, we don’t have a massive cliffhanger to deal with that will keep fans guessing, though there are plenty of dangling threads to follow up on when the series returns. So with that in mind, when will Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 premiere?
The first little order of business here: when Star Trek: Discovery returns, it most likely won’t be on CBS All Access. Don’t worry, you won’t have to scramble to subscribe to another service. At some point this year, CBS All Access is scheduled to rebrand as Paramount+. Same service, more content. Though no date has been set (as of this writing) for the changeover, given Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 won’t premiere any time in the next few months, it’ll almost definitely be on Paramount+ when it returns.
Okay, that out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff.
When will Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 premiere?
Normally when we at Decider prognosticate these things, we look at the patterns of the previous seasons. How long was production? How soon after production finished did the show premiere? What about other shows on the network/streaming service? That sort of thing.
Only problem is, there has been no set pattern with Star Trek: Discovery so far. Season 1 filmed from January to October of 2017, and premiered September 24, 2017 (before shooting on the 16 episode season was done). The season was split in two chunks, and aired until February 11, 2018. Season 2 filmed from April to December of 2018, with all 14 episodes were released between January 17 and April 18, 2019. And Season 3 filmed from July, 2019 to February, 2020, right before COVID shut everything down. Because of this, post-production was done in lockdown, and the season was released from October, 2020 to January, 2021.
That’s a lot of dates, huh? And with COVID still ripping through the world, things will continue to be in flux for a good long while. In normal circumstances, we could estimate that given Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 began production on November 2, 2020, and is scheduled to end in June, 2021, we could see the new season in July, 2021.
However, that depends on how much time it’s taking now that the COVID-safe workflow is a go. Naturally it should go a little swifter than the 8 month gap for Season 3, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be able to be released concurrently like Season 1, or a month later like Season 2.
My best guess? Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 will be released in October, splitting the difference, and putting it a year out from Season 3. But grain of salt, because this is only a guess.
Who is in the Star Trek: Discovery Season 4 cast?
The good news is that the main cast should all be back: Sonequa Martin-Green as Captain Michael Burnham, Doug Jones as Saru, Mary Wiseman as Ensign (Number One?) Tilly, Anthony Rapp as Paul Stamets, and Wilson Cruz as Dr. Hugh Culber; as well as Bu del Barrio as Adira, and Ian Alexander as Gray. Given the setting (i.e., they’re still in the year 3189), there’s a good chance Oded Fehr will be back as Admiral Vance, David Cronenburg as Kovich, and David Ajala as Cleveland “Book” Booker.
In addition, it’s possible we could see more of Kenneth Mitchell as Aurellio, who was on the bridge with the crew at the end of Season 3; and Bill Irwin as Su’Kal, who was with Saru as things wrapped up. Also all those other people who hang on the ship.
What will happen in Star Trek: Discovery Season 4?
What do I look like: Alex Kurtzman? I do not, by the way. That said, unlike Season 1, which ended with the surprise introduction of the USS Enterprise, and Season 2, which ended with the crew flung through a wormhole into some indeterminate year in the future, Season 3 ended with a relative status quo. The big change is that Bunrham is now Captain of Discovery, but otherwise they’re still in the future of their future (i.e., 3189 or so), now with some spiffy new uniforms and a mission to distribute Dilithium all over the galaxy.
That said, as mentioned earlier there are a few dangling plotlines to pursue. Saru is off with Su’Kal, but will presumably return to Discovery at some point, so will he want the Captain’s chair back (I’m gonna say, “no”)? As for Stamets, he’s super pissed at Burnham for flinging him off the ship instead of allowing him to help save Adira and Culber from radiation sickness. And the latter duo have sworn to help Gray achieve his goal of becoming a corporeal being (good goal).
But as for the big threat, big mystery, or big twist? We have no idea. It’s a strange, new world, and we’re just living in it.
When will any other Star Trek shows premiere?
I mainly bring this up because potentially in 2021, there will be the most Star Trek on TV that there has been since the Next Generation era. Things have been significantly delayed because of COVID, but right now Star Trek: Picard Season 2 is scheduled to film beginning February 1, Strange New Worlds (which will follow the crew of the Enterprise led by Captain Pike, played by Anson Mount) should film between February and July, and Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 2 is also currently being worked on. The animated project Star Trek: Prodigy will premiere on Nickelodeon some time in 2021.
All of that is to say that there is a lot of Star Trek coming your way, and CBS All Access/Paramount+ will most likely aim to roll it all out on a weekly schedule. Discovery Season 4 is probably the first out of the gate, but it’s just the beginning. Let’s fly.