When will the USS Discovery emerge from that wormhole and blast out into the 32nd century? We know Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 is coming in 2020, but the exact release date is still shrouded in mystery. With Picard entering the second half of its debut season, hardcore and casual Trekkies alike are wondering what's next for the franchise. Could Discovery Season 3 happen immediately after Picard?
There are a few good reasons to believe Discovery Season 3 is coming much sooner than we thought. Hit the Spore Drive!
The idea that Discovery Season 3 could drop sometime after the Picard Season 1 finale is not exactly news. At both San Diego and New York Comic-Cons last year, CBS said outright that Discovery Season 3 will debut sometime in 2020, and way back in October of last year, there was enough footage for CBS to drop a tantalizing trailer teasing a time-jump for Burnham, antagonistic Andorians, and one callback to the Trill from Deep Space Nine.
This week, various folks on Twitter — including TNG star and Trek director Jonathan Frakes — announced that Discovery Season 3 had wrapped filming. This led some fans to head into warp-speed speculation. If Season 3 is done, new episodes could drop as soon as April. The season finale of Picard Season 1 airs March 26. In terms of Trek chronology, Season 3 of Discovery is a quasi-sequel to Picard, since the crew jumped from 2257 to 3187.
Still, the idea that Discovery Season 3 will hit in April or even May isn't a foregone conclusion. Just because filming has concluded, doesn't mean the episodes are ready to watch. With any Star Trek series, there's obviously a ton of post-production involved, which could slow down the release of new episodes.
Then again, if enough episodes were filmed prior to October 2019 — when the NYCC trailer dropped — it's possible Discovery Season 3 could start much sooner. Discovery's debut season was split into two "chapters," each with their own mid-season break. If Season 3 does something similar, the first part could come very soon.
There's also the business side to consider. According to numerous reports, Picard broke records for CBS All Access, and the company probably wants to keep as many of those subscribers as it can. Otherwise, the service could lose a lot of those customers at the end of March. If Discovery Season 3 happens right away, it's a different story.
Inverse has reached out for CBS for a sense of when Discovery Season 3 will launch. Network reps have assured us an announcement is coming soon, but they can't reveal anything yet.
If Discovery does launch in April, it could mark a new precedent for the franchise. The last time multiple Star Trek shows were debuting new episodes back-to-back was in the 1990s and early 2000s. That's when Next Generation was on at the same time as Deep Space Nine and then, later, when Voyager overlapped with DS9.
Let's just hope the space ships Le Sirena and Discovery can take the strain of warp factor RIGHT NOW.
Picard airs Thursdays on CBS All Access.