It's a good time to be a Star Trek fan. All the classic shows and movies are available to binge at a moment's notice, and there's a boatload of new stuff coming our way. One of the biggest things on our radar at the moment is Discovery Season 3. We don't yet know when it's coming to CBS All Access, but we're willing to venture an educated guess that it's happening pretty soon. If you've been scouring the internet for new info about the upcoming episodes, you may have come across a worrying rumor claiming Season 3 will mark the end of the series.
We're not convinced Discovery's ending anytime soon, and you shouldn't be either. Below, we're unpacking three of the biggest reasons why.
The Midnight's Edge YouTube channel, which analyzes news, rumors and industry context for popular sci-fi franchises and other assorted nerdery, claims Discovery Season 3 was substantially reshot, and the season's cliffhanger ending was turned into a suitable series finale, paving the way for cancellation.
3. Discovery's concept can be infinitely rebooted
The first season of Discovery focused on Burnham's past with Captain Georgiou and explored the Mirror Universe. Season 2 was all about dipping a toe into the Original Series era with Pike, Number One, and Spock. Of course, part of this is because of widely reported showrunner turnover behind the scenes.
While some fans have bristled at this impulse to completely revise the show's premise, it's also key to the show's longevity. With the USS Discovery officially "off the books" according to Spock at the end of Discovery Season 2, the black-ops Federation ship is free to pick and choose which bits of canon it wants to play with. Or, as is presumably the case with Season 3, it's free to leave all that baggage behind and head nearly a thousand years into the future to tell an entirely different kind of Star Trek story.
So even if the worst-case scenario is true, and Season 3 is indeed a "dumpster fire," as Midnight's Edge claims, the showrunners will probably just rejigger the concept again. But by leaving behind the thorny bramble-bush of canon that bogged the show down in previous seasons, we'd expect Discovery can spend well more than one season exploring the distant future.
2. A delay in filming is not a cancellation
There's a couple reasons to suspect we might see a substantial gap between the end of Discovery Season 3 and the premiere of the show's fourth season. So even if the third season did see some reshoots – which are pretty standard for most movies and TV shows – that doesn't mean they changed it because the show has been preemptively cancelled.
The most obvious reason for a delay that series star Sonequa Martin-Green, who plays Michael Burnham, recently revealed that she's expecting her second child. She hasn't shared how far along she is, but it's fair to assume Discovery Season 4 wouldn't begin filming until the tail end of this year, and maybe early 2021. (Unless they plan to have Burnham carrying a lot of potted plants and books, that is.)
Another important detail: Disco doesn't need to carry the franchise alone anymore, so there's no need to rush. There are more Trek shows in the works, like Lower Decks and a possible Captain Pike spinoff with Anson Mount. Michelle Yeoh's Section 31 spinoff just got underway after Discovery Season 3 wrapped in late February. If new episodes of Disco arrive in spring or summer 2020, there's Section 31, Picard Season 2, and perhaps a yet-unannounced show to fill the gap for a good long while
1. Discovery is the flagship for CBS's long-term Trek strategy
Alex Kurtzman, currently executive producer of Discovery and Picard, signed a five-year deal to oversee the entire Star Trek franchise in 2018. He's played a major role in creating the future vision of Trek since 2009, working on J.J. Abrams' movie reboots as well as the CBS shows.
That seems to be a pretty strong indicator that the powers that be at the studio are happy with the job Kurtzman's doing with Star Trek. They're so happy with it that they want him to keep doing it until at least 2022.
As alluded to above, there's a lot of potential in the latest change-up to Discovery, which leads us to believe that Kurtzman's thinking long-term for the show, rather than mulling over how to cut his losses and wrap it up.
"The only restraints are making sure that we don't violate some Trek fundamentals. But because we're not having to sync up with canon, we really had a different kind of freedom this year," Kurtzman told Space.com in early February.