Star Trek: Discovery shocked fans in its second season finale by jumping the titular Starship and its crew 930 years into the future. The show’s third season will be set in the 32nd century, in the year 3187. That’s further into the future of the prime timeline than any Star Trek series before Discovery, and any still to come that has been announced. That’s an interesting situation for a ship that does not have a permanent captain aboard to be in. Doug Jones plays Cmdr. Saru in Star Trek: Discovery. Saru has been the ship’s acting captain. He told Collider at the Saturn Awards (where he won one of Discovery’s three awards) that Discovery’s third season will reveal that state of the United Federation of Planets in this era. He also teased that making contact with the Federation may affect Saru’s role aboard Discovery.
“We jumped to the future at the end of season two. This is a big deal. We’ve boldly gone where no Star Trek series has gone before,” Jones says. “So we’re gonna see what happens in the future. What condition is the Federation in? We’re gonna find out when we land. What happens to me and my rank? I’m a Commander, but I’m also acting Captain of the ship because we lost all our captains now. I take the ship and so, do I get to keep the Captain’s chair? Do I have to give it away to another Federation/ Starfleet captain in the future? We’re gonna find out all that when we get there.”
How the future of the Federation affects Discovery’s third season remains to be seen. Jonathan Frakes will return to direct two more episodes of the show in its third season. He teased at a recent convention appearance that Discovery will have more of the familiar Star Trek optimism in its third season.
“I can tell you this much about season three of Discovery: It is in fact much more optimistic,” Frakes said. “They’ve gotten themselves out of the Mirror Universe... After Gene died, some of the writers decided that Deep Space Nine should maybe take a different tone, which, I think, it did to certain degrees of success. The optimism that Gene infused in all of his shows and in all of us may not be as obvious as it once was, but it’s certainly the driving force of his vision and the franchise and [Alex] Kurtzman and all the people who run our shows are very conscious that that canon is important to all of you and all of us. JJ [Abram]’s movies, I thought, were very uplifting and wonderfully told stories. There needs to be conflict to make drama. So I’m here to share that Discovery certainly is taking a more optimistic, traditional Star Trek approach in next season.”