Star Trek: Discovery Producer Reveals How Season 5 Will Pull From Trek's Past

On March 17, "Star Trek: Discovery" concluded its fourth season on Paramount+, with a fifth season already announced for early 2023. "Discovery" is the flagship show in a new, modern era of "Star Trek" that includes "Star Trek: Short Treks," "Star Trek: Picard," "Star Trek: Lower Decks," "Star Trek: Prodigy," the upcoming "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds," the still-in-production "Star Trek: Section 31," and the hotly anticipated "Star Trek: Boba Fett." 

"Star Trek: Discovery" began about a decade before the events of the original "Star Trek" series, and featured a ship that could tap into a galaxy-wide network of microscopic spores to teleport anywhere instantaneously. The third season threw the ship 900 years into the future where the crew had to face a galaxy where the Federation had become a tiny, secret organization, hiding out from an evil trade conglomerate and investigating a galaxy-wide disaster that crippled all starships for generations. Throughout these broad storylines, "Discovery" has held details from the original Trek close to its heart: The lead character, Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) is the adopted sister of Spock's family, for one. Additionally, "Discovery" heavily involved The Enterprise and Capt. Pike (Anson Mount) in its second season, took place partly in the famed Mirror Universe, met the Guardian of Forever, revisited Talos IV, and made many other unambiguous references besides. So what's in store for the fifth season?

Olatunde Osunsanmi, one of the show's producers, who also directed 12 episodes spoke with Screen Rant and revealed some of the plans for the fifth season of "Discovery," including how it will continue to draw from classic "Trek" tropes that have become a highlight of the series. 

The old vs. the new

When asked what season five might contain, Osunsanmi was appropriately coy, implying that it would involve events in "Star Trek's" past — but not time travel. He said:

"The galaxy's a big place where incredible things can happen. Season 5 is shaping up to be... all I can say is that — it's not time travel — but we go back into the past to get further into the future. There's this old version of "Star Trek" that exists. And this new version that's been created by Alex but there's a lot of things we still love about the old version. So it's about pulling from there... not necessarily stories or characters but more themes, and process, and how those stories are told, and applying it to what we do in the future. And that includes [Burnham's] character and things she does as a Captain.

At the conclusion of season four, the U.S.S. Discovery did something not often done in "Star Trek," by leaving the outer edge of the galaxy and meeting a new species, the mysterious non-humanoid species 10-C from beyond the Milky Way. In "Star Trek," there have been a few allusions to other extra-galactic species throughout — The Kelvans from "By Any Other Name," The Old Ones from "Catspaw," The Douwd from "The Survivors," Species 8472 from "Star Trek: Voyager." There have also been a few instances of ships exiting the galaxy — "Where No Man Has Gone Before," "Where No One Has Gone Before," "By Any Other Name," — but these instances are rare. 

The fifth season of "Discovery" will likely involve well-known events from long ago, although which events those might be have yet to be alluded to directly, and we have no idea how they would come to bear a millennium later. "Discovery" is (in)famously cavalier in its attitude toward "Trek" canon, forging a new path and creating a mythology all its own, based more on characters and their personal journeys than on workplace drama or the fineries of the ship's technology. Given the previous four years, it's likely season five will draw from the main characters' pasts in a vital way, perhaps Burnham's relationship with Spock, the Mirror Universe, and her time-traveling biological mother.

Until the debut of season five in 2023, we can only speculate.