Star Trek: Discovery's Mary Wiseman and David Ajala Discuss Their Characters' Changing Roles In Season 4

When Star Trek: Discovery returns for its fourth season next week, some of the characters will have new roles and dynamics in the series. The most obvious example is Sonequa Martin-Green's Michael Burnham taking over as Discovery's captain, but there are others as well. Cleveland "Book" Booker, played by David Ajala, was a courier in the post-Burn future. Now he's a free agent stationed aboard Discovery as it tries to reconnect the Federation. Mary Wiseman's Ensign Sylvia Tilly became the ship's first officer under Saru in season three. Both characters find themselves navigating unfamiliar territory in Star Trek: Discovery's fourth season.

"She's kind of like steadily headed on that road now towards her captaincy," Wiseman says of Tilly while speaking to after Discovery's New York Comic Con panel in October. "And she's only just now having the questions of like, wait, what does this mean for my life? Is this what I really want? Who am I? All that stuff that does happen when big stuff comes up in your life. So they are kind of well paired in that way where they're kind of trying to figure out where they fit in this massive organization, where their their their them as individuals fit into that and how they can serve themselves as individuals within that."

Ajala adds, "I think for Cleveland Booker, he's just navigating his leadership in this new space and I think he's completely at ease with Michael Burton being the captain, he's excited for her, but I don't think he's overthinking his place within the Federation. He'll find his feet one way or another."

As two of the people closest to Burnham, they're also affected by her becoming the ship's commanding officer. "There's only so much of Michael to go around," Wiseman says. "Now she's in charge, so she's busy, which I do think, at least for my character, opens up some possibilities for having relationships with other characters, but also not being in such a mentee role. She lived with the person she most looked up to and loved and who was of a higher rank than her, had more experience than her, more life experience than her, and so now I think the shift is her coming into her own and being able to provide that sort of guidance that she got from Michael to others. For example, Tilly takes on more of a role, not as a mentor, but as somebody who looks out for Adira. That's a very fun shift to them go from the person who had to be taken care of a lot to being someone who can offer care."

Book is also romantically involved with Burnham. Ajala says, "Book has had the luxury of establishing a relationship with Michael Burnham before she was captain and I think they have this sort of relationship where there is a certain level of respect for each other and friendship and care and trust. So she would never have to fight for Book's loyalty because it's not about ego because they both happily work towards the bigger picture. But that is definitely tested in this season."

What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Star Trek: Discovery returns for its fourth season on Paramount+ on November 18th.