A gravitational anomaly, the return of David Cronenberg, and a Ferengi — there’s a lot to unpack in the official trailer for Star Trek Discovery season 4, which debuted to a full audience at New York Comic Con 2021. Members of the cast gathered in person for the first time in two years to discuss the upcoming season, which debuts on Paramount+ on Nov. 18. The trailer was so nice, in fact, that Discovery star Wilson Cruz (Dr. Hugh Culber) demanded that the audience get to watch it twice.
While the return of director Cronenberg’s character, Kovich, is intriguing, the anomaly is the biggest conflict facing the crew in the new season.
“I think I can speak for all of the characters when I say I don’t think any of us expected to have a threat this big so soon after jumping to this future,” said Sonequa Martin-Green (Captain Michael Burnham). “That was huge, and then I know at least for Burnham it’s a lot. Here we are again with a threat of great, great magnitude.” In the upcoming season, she said, “you see these people find out exactly how they can choose both [duty and joy] in their own ways.”
However, fans of the series who have watched the crew of the USS Discovery face multiple disasters may be less surprised that they’re in this position yet again. Potentially galaxy-ending threats seem to follow this crew. “Tilly’s great at science,” said Mary Wiseman (Tilly). “So that helps.”
Threats aside, the biggest pull of the new season is Burnham, who started out the series as a commander and first officer before finally becoming the captain for real, not in a mirror universe. She’s finally putting her leadership skills to work.
“I do appreciate Burnham’s hands-on approach,” said Martin-Green. “I appreciate how Burnhan has been written.” With this new role on the USS Discovery, Martin-Green became the first Black woman to play a captain on a live-action Star Trek series. “I think that everything that has happened in my life, everything has led to this moment. Everything has led to sitting down in that chair and assuming that role. Of course I know what it means to me, for all the obvious reasons historically speaking and culturally speaking.”
In season 3, Star Trek Discovery also welcomed the franchise’s first transgender and nonbinary characters, played respectively by transgender and nonbinary actors Ian Alexander (Gray) and Blu del Barrio (Adira Tal). A good portion of the panel was dedicated to welcoming and praising del Barrio’s debut.
“That has a lot to do with Jonathan Frakes being my first director,” del Barrio said. They went on, laughing, “I was so incredibly nervous that I tried to make a joke with him and he said ‘fuck off’ and I said ‘okay’ and then it was fine.” But while Star Trek veteran Frakes gave them a hard time, everyone else on set was buzzing about how good del Barrio, who also makes their professional acting debut on Star Trek Discovery, was in their scenes. They are a “truth teller,” Martin-Green said.
As for Gray’s corporeal form? Alexander was not on the panel, but his presence was felt and arc teased in the trailer. “When Dr. Culber makes a promise he keeps that promise,” said Cruz.
Then Cruz and his on-screen husband Anthony Rapp (Paul Stamets) nearly got into a marital spat. Wiseman and Martin-Green started singing about how much they loved acting together. It’s clear, in the trailer and the way the Star Trek Discovery cast interacted with each other on stage, that the crew of the USS Discovery is a family, making season 4 that much more exciting to look forward to in November.