The fifth season of Star Trek: Discovery wraps up production now, with a first look shared by Paramount+ at New York Comic Con over the weekend. Showrunners Michelle Paradise and Alex Kurtzman were in New York with members of the cast (with star Sonequa Martin-Green beaming in from the Toronto set) to preview the upcoming changes for the show, including a new tone and a few new ones characters.
Season five is about adventure and a quest
While in New York, executive producer Michelle Paradise spoke to EW about how the show is changing the tone for season five after saving the galaxy (again) from an apocalypse last season.
Paradise: We have a little tonal shift this season. We try to make each season fresh and new. At the start of the season, Alex and I talked about changing the tone a bit because season three and especially four was a bit heavy with the DMA. So this is more of an action-adventure season. There is a riddle. There is a quest and this mysterious power… It is a quest our heroes are on and they have a chance to go on some adventures this season that will be fun.
Wilson Cruz (Dr. Culber) told EW that this adventure will take the show to new places.
I think the beauty of this season is that it gives us another opportunity to come together as this team we’ve developed. And everyone has to do their best to solve this puzzle. And we can travel a lot more across the galaxy… and go to places we’ve never seen before. It is exciting.
Cruz spoke more about this shift during the Star Trek Universe panel.
Cruz: Every season we change the tone a little bit… and even more this season. We’re on an adventure, really an adventure. And you really see everyone using their strengths to solve a puzzle, really. But each of them is also discovering more about themselves… But what I love most is just this quest we’re on and how we come together as a team to solve it. Honestly – I swear I say this every season – but I think it’s the best season we’ve ever had.
Rod Roddenberry asked Michelle Paradise about a moment during the new trailer, which appeared to show Captain Burnham on the ship’s roof, which she confirmed, saying it’s an example of what to expect in season five.
Yes, that was Sonequa sitting on a spaceship while it was warp. [Sarcastic] It’s a very low key season. Not much happens. Other than that one moment, there is no action or adventure.
Callum Keith Rennie joins as a gruff captain
The panel also revealed some new cast members for season five, including Callum Keith Rennie (Battlestar Galactica, Umbrella Academy) as Starfleet Captain Rayner. Michelle Paradise offered some more details about his character.
Paradise: Captain Rayner is the captain of another starship. He’s a bit of a gruff captain and he has some things to learn, so he’s going to learn those things.
Actor Anthony Rapp (Cmdr. Paul Stamets) spoke about how this gruff captain brings new chemistry to the show.
Rapp: She described his character as harsh. Callum himself is gruff. He’s a loveable, gruff teddy bear, but it’s like a wonderful new part of the show’s recipe. Because Sonequa is the lightest light in the world, and then Callum is like [gruff voice], “Shall we do the scene now or what?” And so the mix of their chemistry is really wonderful to see them bounce off each other. He’s a wonderful actor and just a great human being, which was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the new season. So I think you’ll like it.
Moll and L’ak are Bonnie and Clyde from the 32nd century
Also starring are Eve Harlow as Moll and Elias Toufexis as L’ak. Paradise gave a little more detail on how they will conflict with that discovery Crew.
Moll and L’ak, they’re a bit like Bonnie and Clyde this season and former Couriers… Let’s just say they clash with our heroes.
The showrunners talked about how season five offers a new opportunity to challenge the show’s characters.
Kurtzman: The fact that we choose a different flavor for each season but have a very consistent line. And the constant line is watching our characters evolve together. From the beginning that title discovery was chosen for a reason, because we wanted it to be about each character’s development and their growth as a family and they’ve been through so much together… We settled into this incredible grove this season. Five years together show like a long time. And it’s a long time to get to know each other as characters, it’s also a long time to get to know each other as people. And I think the intimacy and ease that the characters have with each other reflects how amazing this cast is and how much they love each other… It’s nice to feel this incredible journey after obviously being there from the beginning of this one Characters who took a more confident place in season five.
Paradise (via EW): At the start of each season, in addition to talking about what our big story is for the season, one of the things we do is what we do thematically, these types of things. We go through and we talk about each of our characters and what we want them to experience the season. And how does her character arc relate to the thematic things we’re exploring. And it’s really important to us that we can advance every actor, every season, these characters and give all our wonderful actors new things to play with and new challenges to play with. Of course, we never want them to get bored. And also these characters are so fascinating and the way our actors play them is just wonderful to watch.
Wilson Cruz confirmed this.
Cruz (via EW): Definitely not boring me, especially this season. They throw stuff at me that tells me they have faith that I can do it. But sometimes they send me something and I’m like, “Whoa, okay. I need a minute with that.”
On the panel, he offered more about Culber’s arc for season five.
Cruz: Culber is asking big questions again. He’s a person who – since coming back to life – has really learned who he really is and to own it all. And some of that is a bit awkward in relationships, but how we deal with it is also really exciting to play with.
Anthony Rapp gave an update on Stamets for the season, including his relationship with Culber.
Rapp: We’re in a pretty good place. We have our little kind of – to say child feels demeaning now because Adira has grown up a bit – but our protégé, but our child. Stamets does a little trying to figure out the next new avenue of scientific exploration. That’s really interesting, because for him, science isn’t just about, “Ooh, cool ideas.” It’s actually his reason for being. So yeah, finding that thing that gets him on the next passionate run of his life is a really cool thing to be a part of.
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Burnham digs deep into Season 5… and it’s “complicated” with Book
Sonequa Martin-Green (Captain Michael Burnham) spoke about how the season’s quest will impact Burnham and the crew as characters.
Martin-Green: Everyone encounters themselves. There is a confrontation that happens to all of us. There’s a confrontation with Burnham and all the other characters that because of this mystery we have to make these difficult decisions about who we really are and who we really are together. And because of this adventure in a new way, in a deeper way, in a deeper way than we’ve ever seen. I have so much respect for this season’s writers. Because we really are digging deeper than ever.
Sonequa also previewed what’s in store for Burnham and Book in season five.
Martin Green: Oh my god. It’s complicated. It’s like that old Facebook status. What are you going to do? I love it because you see this conflict between mission and love. This conflict between duty and romance. And how do they fit in? And I find this line between professional and personal overlapping and mixing really fascinating. And you can see that in many places. You see that with other characters too. You come across the question, “Well, will I stand up for what I stand for, even if it costs me what’s most important to me?” Because that’s the mark of a true hero… It makes it real and authentic. And it’s no picnic with Burnham either. You see how hard it is to be a captain and what it really takes to sacrifice yourself and be that sacrificial leader. And I absolutely love that. You have these people who are just willing to make any sacrifices at all. We’re all very excited to see what we see this season. it’s deep
Alex Kurtzman spoke about how the show will continue to explore what it means for Burnham to be captain.
And for Burnham, I think what excites me the most is that getting the captain’s chair is one thing, but learning what it means to be captain is an ever-evolving process.
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musical episode? Maybe
During the Q&A, one fan wondered if there would be a musical episode since the show has a Broadway star like Anthony Rapp. Before executive producer Alex Kurtzman could respond, Martin-Green and Cruz stepped in to add their voices to the request.
Martin Green: Please! Because both are heroes. Anthony and Wilson… Please, Michelle. Please Alex Can we please let her sing?
Cruz: We’ve only been asking for that for five years.
Kurtzman: Nothing would make me happier than doing a Star Trek musical. Let me just say anything is possible. How about this?
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First look at Season 5
In case you missed it, here’s the Season 5 trailer released at NYCC. [International version at startrek.com]
There is no release date for yet discovery season five. Seasons one through four are currently streaming exclusively on Paramount+ in the US. Internationally, the series is on Paramount+ in Australia, Italy, Latin America, UK and South Korea and on Pluto TV in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland on the Pluto TV Sci-Fi channel. It will also stream exclusively on Paramount+ in Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria later this year. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi channel and streams on Crave.
More Star Trek from NYCC
The panel is over, but there’s more coverage to come, so keep checking back TrekMovie.com for the latest from NYCC 2022. You can find more of our NYCC coverage here.
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