Exclusive: Star Trek: Discovery director Olatunde Osunsanmi says season 5 will combine both new and old elements from the iconic franchise.
Season 5 of Star Trek: Discovery will combine both old and new elements of the storied franchise. Season 4 of Discovery just concluded its bold new arc on Paramount+. The show is the flagship among a handful of other Trek series on the streaming platform, including Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Star Trek: Lower Decks, and Star Trek: Prodigy.
When Discovery debuted in 2017, creators Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman crafted an exciting new chapter for the franchise that focuses on Captain Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green). Burnham is a human who was raised by Vulcan parents as the adopted sibling of Spock. The series opens about 10 years before Star Trek: The Original Series, where viewers first met Spock and Kirk. Starting the series as an extremely sharp and talented science specialist, Burnham slowly makes her way to the rank of Captain on the USS Discovery, though not without some major bumps along the way. Through season 2 and season 3 of the series, Burnham and her now-beloved crew have explored new frontiers with their unique spore drive technology that lets them bounce anywhere through the galaxy instantaneously.
In an exclusive interview with Screen Rant, director and producer Olatunde Osunsanmi reveals the larger strategy of Star Trek: Discovery as the show enters season 5, which was officially greenlit earlier this year. Osunsanmi describes a plan that will try to capture some of the magic of the original series. He says it’s not necessarily about bringing back specific stories from the old series, but rather a revival of the storytelling style and process. He hints that this will involve scenes from the past, likely flashbacks, and how they inform future events. The early series often focused on philosophical explorations, not necessarily big battles or action narratives, which might be what Osunsanmi is alluding to. Read his full answer below.
“The galaxy’s a big place where incredible things can happen. Season 5 is shaping up to be… all I can say is that – it’s not time travel – but we go back into the past to get further into the future. There’s this old version of Star Trek that exists. And this new version that’s been created by Alex but there’s a lot of things we still love about the old version. So it’s about pulling from there… not necessarily stories or characters but more themes, and process, and how those stories are told, and applying it to what we do in the future. And that includes [Burnham’s] character and things she does as a Captain.”
So much narrative ground has been covered by Star Trek: Discovery, including a 900-year-jump into the Starfleet of the 32nd century. In the recently-concluded season 4, the Discovery crew also broke new ground by crossing the galactic barrier to make contact with Species 10-C. The show has been allowed to break some rules and set its own course in the franchise, unencumbered by canon in many ways. Now that they’ve come so far in that exploration, the show’s creators are seemingly hoping to return to the franchise roots in some ways.
Osunsanmi will presumably still be expanding Star Trek: Discovery’s 32nd-century narrative while using the flashbacks to illuminate the importance of future events. As so many series creators have learned over the years, a dive into backstory can be the most fascinating choice to make after a character has evolved over many seasons. Burnham’s past was touched on in season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery when a young Spock joined the show and revealed more about how Burnham was raised as an orphan. With the Trek legacy, the show has countless avenues to explore in terms of backstory to explore.
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