The third season of “Star Trek: Discovery” took arguably the boldest narrative leap in the franchise’s 55-year history: After following Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) into a wormhole, the crew of the USS Discovery travel nearly 1,000 years further into the future.
In the Variety Streaming Room presented by Paramount Plus, senior entertainment writer Adam B. Vary spoke with Martin-Green and Alex Kurtzman, the executive producer and co-showrunner of “Discovery,” about the show’s massive time jump and the implications that it’s had on Burnham and the rest of her crew.
When asked if jumping the story ahead 930 years was always the plan for “Discovery,” Kurtzman said that his team made this creative decision because they wanted to break the existing boundaries of “Star Trek” canon.
“The idea that the crew had to jump to the furthest timeline that had ever existed in anything ‘Star Trek’ would allow us to totally rewrite the rules and create a whole new set of variables that the team would suddenly have to deal with, that they were both prepared for and totally ill-prepared for,” Kurtzman said.
Kurtzman added that the trick was making sure the show still felt very much like the “Star Trek” viewers adore, but also capture the feeling of being in a strange new world and having the characters latch onto the traits that define who they are. Michael Burnham is left to search for life alone in the year 3188, which Martin-Green said was one of the most important events to happen in her character’s life.
“Just being able to stop and say, ‘What has happened to me and who am I? Who am I now that I believe I am alone and will never see my crew again? Now, who am I without the standards of an institution to answer to and be guided by? Who will I decide to be?” Martin-Green said. “It’s a really beautiful moment in this woman’s life to finally be able to have a relationship with herself.”
Kurtz and Martin-Green also talked extensively about Burnham’s path to becoming the captain of the Discovery, and how much that meant to Martin-Green; and the groundbreaking characters of Adira Tal (Blu del Barrio) and Gray Tal (Ian Alexander), the first explicitly non-binary and trans characters in “Trek” history.
Watch the full conversation above.