We didn’t get a new trailer for the fourth season of Star Trek: Discovery during the Star Trek Day festivities last month, although we did get a premiere date: November 18, 2021. But we didn’t have that long to wait. The much-anticipated new trailer debuted during Discovery’s New York Comic Con 2021 panel, which included cast members Sonequa Martin-Green, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, Wilson Cruz, David Ajala, and Blu del Barrio, as well as showrunner and executive producer Michelle Paradise
(Spoilers for prior seasons below.)
As I’ve written previously, in S3, Michael Burnham (Martin-Green), Discovery, and her crew arrived in the future and found that Control’s plan had been thwarted: life still exists. But the galaxy was very different thanks to something called The Burn, a catastrophic event that caused all the dilithium in the Milky Way to explode and destroy much of Starfleet in the process. In the aftermath, with no warp drive possible, all the planets had become disconnected and were no longer governed by the Federation. Michael did, however, manage to locate one sole Federation liaison on a remote space station with the help of a new ally, Book (David Ajala).
The Discovery crew reunited with what was left of Starfleet, figured out what caused The Burn, and managed to defeat a rival syndicate known as the Emerald Chain. In the S3 season finale, planets were beginning to rejoin the Federation, and Discovery set out to bring dilithium from the nebula to planets that had been cut off by the Burn, presumably bringing the warp drive back and enabling travel between distant worlds once again. Burnham finally became captain of Discovery after Saru opted to return to his home planet of Kaminar for a spell. And we bid a sorrowful farewell to Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh); a spinoff series is rumored to be in the works.
According to the official synopsis, in S4, “Captain Burnham and the crew of the USS Discovery face a threat unlike any they’ve ever encountered. With Federation and non-Federation worlds alike feeling the impact, they must confront the unknown, and work together to ensure a hopeful future for all.” Much of the main cast is also returning for S4: Doug Jones as Saru, Rapp as Stamets, Wiseman as Tilly, Emily Coutts as Keyla Detmer, and Cruz as Dr. Culber. S3 additions Book (Ajala), Adira (del Barrio), Gray (Ian Alexander), and Starfleet Commander-in-Chief Vance (Oded Fehr) will also be returning.
The first trailer dropped in April, and made mention of a “gravitational anomaly” five light years in diameter moving through the galaxy—clearly the formable threat hinted at in the synopsis. Highlights included spiffy new Starfleet uniforms), as well as glimpses of Vulcans and Book’s cat, Grudge.
This new trailer focuses even more on the threat of that mysterious anomaly—”a threat like none our galaxy has ever faced before,” per Michael. It’s serious enough to warrant a gathering of Federation (and presumably non-Federation) leaders to strategize about how to combine efforts to meet the threat head-on, given that billions of lives are at risk. On a more personal level, Michael is struggling to balance her new leadership role with her penchant for taking risks and bending Starfleet rules. “Your acts of bravery are huge swings of the pendulum,” she is told. “But there is a very fine line between a pendulum and a wrecking ball.”
But that’s precisely the combination of qualities that could make Michael a truly great captain, assuming she and her crew survive their jump into the anomaly itself. “Once we enter the anomaly we are going where no one has gone before,” Michael says from her captain’s chair. What could be more true to the spirit of Star Trek than that?
Star Trek: Discovery S4 will premiere on November 18, 2021, on Paramount+.
Listing image by YouTube/Paramount+