Michael Burnham's relationship with Cleveland "Book" Booker will be put to the test in the fourth season of Star Trek: Discovery. Burnham and Book came together in the show's third season, as Burnham investigated the Burn. Book has since decided to stick around as Burnham takes command of Discovery and embarks on a new mission with challenges all its own. During a panel moderated by Deadline (via Trek Movie), Star Trek: Discovery co-creator and co-showrunner Alex Kurtzman hinted that Burnham will be tested on all fronts in the coming season, which is currently in production in Toronto, meaning in her new role as captain as well as in her new personal relationship.
"Burnham has spent a lot of time thinking she had to be one thing or the other and ended the season being rewarded with the captain’s chair for being two different things," Kurtzman said. "Vance basically says, ‘You don’t have to pick. You do things your way and that’s why I want you in the chair. Because you’re always ultimately fighting for what’s right.’ Burnham is going to have to keep figuring that out. She’s going to have to keep learning what that means. Her relationship with Book will be tested in many ways, for reasons that I won’t tell you."
As for her mission to help rebuild the federation with hope and dilithium, there she will face more traditional Star Trek challenges. "The Federation is coming back together but it’s not fully back together," Kurtzman said. "And so the continued mission of bringing other worlds in and meeting the criteria and standards of what it means to be a member of the Federation but also not to rob other cultures of their identity is something that we’ll explore."
Speaking to ComicBook.com ahead of the show's third season finale, co-showrunner Michelle Paradise discussed what becoming captain means for Burnham. "I think being captain, in some ways you don't answer to people in the same way, but in some ways, you still have to answer to people," she said. "And so I think what's exciting for the Burnham character is that season three takes her on this journey from essentially rejecting the chair in episode three when she and Saru are having that conversation, to taking it at the end of 13.
"And then the question of, 'Now, what?' She's grown in many ways over the course of these three seasons and in new ways over the course of season three and what does that mean for her now? And how can she continue to grow moving forward, even as she's a captain? Those are the things that we get to explore now moving forward that I'm super excited about."
Star Trek: Discovery's first three seasons are streaming now on CBS All Access. The new season is currently filming in Toronto.