There wasn’t really supposed to be a break in new ‘Star Trek’ content this year. If everything had gone the way that CBS imagined that it would, we’d have started the year with ‘Star Trek: Picard,’ moved swiftly on into the third season of ‘Star Trek: Discovery,’ and then concluded 2020 with the first season of the ‘Discovery’ spin-off starring Michelle Yeoh’s character Philippa Georgiou and her shady team of Federation black-ops specialists. Unfortunately, as we all know, nature and world events had other ideas. The less said about that, the better.
The current reality is that ‘Star Trek: Picard’ has concluded its first season (pleasing most viewers with some fairly self-indulgent fan-service, even if it wasn’t to everybody’s tastes), but we’re still waiting to see what happens next with the other two series. With all things considered, we can probably write off the idea of seeing the as-yet-untitled Michelle Yeoh spin-off until 2021. It hasn’t started filming yet, and if it hasn’t started filming yet, there’s no chance it’s going to become available before the end of this year. It just isn’t possible to make a big-budget television series that quickly anymore. CBS won’t want to cut corners with one of their most valuable properties, and so they’ll take as much time over that as they deem necessary.
‘Discovery,’ though, is another story. As every ‘Star Trek’ fan already knows, ‘Discovery’ finished filming months ago. It might even have finished filming before the end of 2019. The show is ‘complete’ enough that short trailers have been aired, including a brief trailer that was shown at the end of ‘Picard’ in some global territories (albeit not the United States of America, where the show was actually made), but there’s yet to be an announcement about when the third season will actually become available to watch. The fan base of ‘Discovery’ isn’t as large as the fan base of ‘Picard’ (mostly because the show is less nostalgic and is also, by ‘Star Trek’ standards at least, a bit sexy and foul-mouthed), but it does have its fans, and those fans have anxiously begun to worry about where their show might be up to.
Fortunately, for those concerned fans, we have some good news. The third season of ‘Discovery’ will definitely air this year – it will just take a little longer to get there than most of us were hoping for. The delay is down to production issues that couldn’t be avoided given the current global circumstances. Even though all of the episodes have been recorded, the post-production process involves the addition of several complicated auditory and visual effects, and that process is still ongoing. Nevertheless, it’s close enough to completion for several figures close to the production to confirm that most of the wait is already over, and we’ll be watching new weekly episodes of ‘Discovery’ before we know it.
The last season of ‘Discovery’ ended on a cliffhanger with (look away now if you don’t want to read spoilers) Captain Pike returning to the Enterprise along with Spock to head off on new missions of his own, and Burnham and the crew of the ‘Discovery’ trapped in the far future. From an ‘official’ point of view, the very existence of the starship Discovery and its crew have been wiped from official records, and all who know of her are sworn to secrecy, Pike and Spock included. That was a neat way of explaining why Leonard Nimoy’s Spock never mentioned having an adoptive sister during the original series, but also frees the show up to go wherever it likes free from the constraints of established continuity.
As the ship and her crew are now hundreds of years beyond the date of any ‘Star Trek’ series seen before, almost literally anything could happen in the new season. We find ourselves wondering whether the Borg still exist and whether they’re still a threat. We also find ourselves wondering how on Earth Georgiou is going to get back to the present, given that she’ll presumably have to do so in order for the spin-off show to work. Does Starfleet even exist in this future? If so, would they welcome their long-lost ship returning home, or would they shun any attempt at contact out of fear that their dark secrets will be revealed when Discovery returns? We imagine that we’ll get answers to some – if not all – of these questions during the season, but it bodes well that there are so many potential avenues for the show to explore before we’ve even seen the first episode.
Without wanting to jinx the prospects of the show, it seems almost inevitable that the third season will be followed by a fourth. We already know that there will be a second season of ‘Picard,’ and as well as the Michelle Yeoh project, we’ve also heard rumors that Anson Mount has signed up for a ‘Captain Pike’ spin-off. ‘Star Trek’ is a major moneymaker for CBS, and that will be all the more important as the company looks to expand its streaming platform. As is the case with all of the other streaming platforms that have appeared recently, the idea of the CBS All Access service is to replicate the experience a user has when logging in to a 2020 slot site, where one portal leads to a plethora of entertainment options. The comparison is an apt one – such is the allure of ‘Star Trek’ that there have been several online slots made about the game in the past, although none based on source material more recent than ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation.’ We don’t know if ‘Discovery’ is popular enough yet to be re-imagined as an online slots game. We don’t know if it ever will be. It has been shown to drive interest and subscriptions for the company that makes it, though, and for that reason alone, we suspect that it will be around for quite some time to come yet.
More than any other series of ‘Star Trek,’ the third season of ‘Discovery’ promises to boldly go where no-one has gone before – and it will be doing so in the very near future. Watch this space for dates!