Star Trek: Discovery's third season will see the Discovery crew trying to rebuild the United Federation of Planets, but it won't be easy. Even with a new dilithium source to allow warp travel after the Burn, Discovery and the Federation will find familiar challenges in bringing planets into the fold. Co-creator and co-showrunner Alex Kurtzman alluded to this during an online panel moderated by Deadline (via Trek Movie). "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."
Through the efforts of Michael Burnham and the rest of Discovery's crew, the Federation discovered what caused the Burn and found a new dilithium source. Burnham became captain of Discovery after Saru went on sabbatical to return to Kaminar. Discovery's new mission is to spread hope and dilithium throughout the galaxy, alluded to by Burnham's last personal log entry before taking over Discovery, released via the Star Trek: Discovery Logs Instagram account. In the log, Burnham says:
"One of the last before I have the privilege of calling myself Captain. I am beyond lucky, beyond grateful, to be her right now, to be able to serve with this crew, this family. My new home…The Burn took a toll across the galaxy: planets cut off from each other, loved ones separated, too many lives lost. But we finally have the answers we need… Now, we can rebuild. Reconnect. Heal. I'm so proud to have been a part of that, and I can't wait to see what we accomplish moving forward. It's up to us, all of us, to leave the past behind to step out of the darkness and into the light. I believe we can do it. We are the Federation, and I believe that, together, we can do anything…"
Star Trek: Discovery showrunner Michelle Paradise spoke to ComicBook.com ahead of the third season finale's debut. From a creator's standpoint, she discussed what lies ahead for Burnham in Discovery's fourth season.
"[I]t feels like when you cast someone like Sonequa [Martin-Green] in the Number One role, you're just waiting for the day when she's going to take the captain seat," Paradise said. "And we knew going into season three that that's where we wanted to take her at the very end of the season. But 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. 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 fourth season is currently in production in Toronto.