Star Trek Discovery Season 3One of the unfortunate realities of the entertainment world is that fortunes can change overnight. The current economic crisis will have a ripple effect that will influence the various Star Trek programs in production. Each episode of Discovery costs around 8.5 million dollars, and that expense can be perceived as a problem for studio accountants no matter how popular the show has become.
The good news for Star Trek fans is that the franchise has endured for so long that it has developed some insulation against fickle market fluctuations. Also, Star Trek series have often gone on to have multiple lives on both the small and silver screen. The hope was that the finished product for Star Trek Discovery season 3 would be released in May 2020, but it remains to be seen if economic conditions will push the release date back. Here's what we know so far.
Filming Has WrappedShowrunners announced that filming of Star Trek Discovery season 3 concluded in late February. This is good news because it represents an investment in sets, film, and actor's salaries. However, it remains to be seen if the current economic crisis will have any effect on the post-production. These days, special effects represent a major part of the overall budget for the series, and with a dramatic stock market crash, it's possible executives over at CBS have become jittery.
With the coffers at CBS are presumably low because of the economic crisis, it will be interesting to see whether this has any effect on the final product. If the rumored economic stimulus package of the Trump administration produces strong growth in the next few months, Star Trek Discovery season 3 could emerge unscathed. If the recovery takes longer, CBS might push to release a less technically ambitious season. The good news is that with filming wrapped, CBS will see season 3 as an asset that will provide them a strong, future financial return.
Reshoots Suggest the Show Has Been Canceled?Rumors have been floating around that the show underwent reshoots in early March to change the cliffhanger season ending into a series finale. These rumors are largely unsubstantiated, but there are always stories of executives grumbling over the cost of the series. It's also not unprecedented for studios to release false scripts and create their own rumors just to engage the fan base. Other rumors exist that Star Trek Discovery has been renewed for two more seasons.
That the cancellation rumor emerged in early March is hopeful because it means it was not necessarily connected to the Coronavirus pandemic which didn't emerge in the United States until mid March. Reshoots are common and not in themselves cause for concern. It's possible that a series finale was shot as an insurance policy along with other necessary reshoots. At this point there has been no confirmation of cancellation or renewal. It could be that executives are giving themselves options and won't make a final decision until they've seen how season 3 performs in the upcoming months.
Time TravelThe first two seasons of Discovery took place in a timeline just prior to the events of the original series around the star date 2255. However, season two ends with the U.S.S. Discovery jumping 930 years in the future. This is an interesting development because one of the main criticisms of the series has been that it only retreads history and does not have the opportunity to explore new territory. At the beginning of Star Trek Discovery season 3, the program goes from a prequel to the farthest reaching Star Trek franchise to date.
Time travel is always a tricky phenomenon to handle in any kind of storytelling, but the Star Trek franchise has dabbled in it enough to have established a good set of rules. There have been examples like Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek: First Contact, among others, which used time jumps that enabled an adventure in a different era and a return home. Star Trek (2009) introduced the concept of an alternative timeline which has been met with some fan criticism, but is a concept that has seemed to influence Discovery in the past.
As of now, it seems most likely that Discovery will not find a way to return to its original timeline. This makes the series something of a sister franchise to Voyager which found itself teleported into deep space. There are many interesting concepts that the writers can explore which include the angst of the crew, adaptation to new technology, and the future state of the federation.
What Will 3185 Be Like?The rumor is that the Discovery will emerge to find a federation that is completely in tatters. However, the showrunners are quick to point out their respect to cannon, and an adherence to the underlying Trek concept of showing a better form of humanity. The more important development is that the show's writers are no longer bound to create stories within the existing territory established by previous films and shows and are now free to explore new waters.
Crossover With Picard?One of the interesting things about the Discovery time jump is that it means both Picard and Discovery are now operating in a timeline that is new to Star Trek. Although Discovery is much further in the future than Picard, it's an advantage that these shows are written simultaneously. One suggestion is that Picard is now free to reference a Starfleet cover up about the fate and technology of the Discovery. Also, the Discovery crew has the opportunity to reference events as they take place in Picard.
That time travel has become such an integral component of Discovery means it's quite possible that we will see time jumps of Discovery to Picard or vice versa. Now that the showrunners have maneuvered both series into new terrain, it only makes sense to take advantage of concurrent filming to explore new and exciting Trek concepts. Crossover strengthens the franchise and always has the potential for capturing new audiences.
The Future of Star TrekWorld economic conditions have shaken every level of our society, but the future of Star Trek remains hopeful. The franchise has always flirted with elements of time travel, but perhaps now we are on the cusp of witnessing a series willing to make a mature commitment to the concept. Now that both Picard and Discovery are floating in uncharted waters, the writers are free to work together, break new territory, and boldly go where no series or film has gone before.
The wild card in all the speculation about Star Trek Discovery season 3 is the uncertainty of the world economy. Hopefully the Coronavirus pandemic will resolve itself quickly, and Star Trek showrunners will suffer no interruption to their plans. Keep checking in to Mahannah's Sci-Fi Universe for breaking rumors and the latests discussions on everything related to Star Trek!