Star Trek: Discovery boss discusses why they decided to do a 1,000-year time-jump for season 3

(Image credit: Netflix)

Star Trek: Discovery season 3 is only days away – but the events of the show itself are centuries away from the second season. Burnham and the crew time-jumped 930 years into the future, and everything's very different, with the trailer revealing something called "the burn" happened in those missing years.

Initially, season 3 was only going to jump 300 years into the future, but the powers that be changed that to almost 1,000 years instead. We’re curious to find out why, but showrunner Alex Kurtzman is careful not to give too much away.

“I don’t want to spoil things. But one thing that we were very excited about was being entirely free of canon. That does not mean erasing canon, and we have not done that,” Kurtzman assures our sister publication SFX in the new issue. “It does not mean that anything that has been established as canon is going away – it all still exists.

“But one of the things that people often said about Discovery was that in some ways, there was a limitation to what it could do, because it was constricted by what we kind of know how things turned and it has to adhere to canon. And so we’re sort of watching the untold chapter of a story that can never really break free of its bonds, in a way.

“Michelle [Paradise] and I certainly felt strongly that jumping 1,000 years into the future just gave us room to invent a lot of things. It allowed us to put Star Trek into a blender, meaning every assumption that you have about staples of the Trek universe can be upended in 1,000 years, because nothing could possibly be exactly what it was. That was a really exciting challenge for us.”

How does the weight of the past play into this series? “I’m trying to answer your question without spoiling too much,” Kurtzman says. “I’ll give you an example. It’s safe to say that in the spirit of what I just said, I would look to the past and I would try to understand what happened to the people I love. So Burnham is absolutely going to look to the past and try and understand what happened to Spock.

“We all know what happened to Spock, but everything that we now take for granted, she has no understanding of. So, she will dive into that and she will get to see what became of her brother. And that will actually impact the story for her in a significant way. I’ve just told you more than I told anybody about that!”

Read more of our interview with Kurtzman, plus the entire cast of Star Trek: Discovery, in the new issue of SFX – out now! Star Trek: Discovery season 3 starts streaming on UK Netflix on October 16 and on CBS All Access in the US.

I'm the Editor of SFX, the world's number one sci-fi, fantasy and horror magazine – available digitally and in print every four weeks since 1995. I've been editing magazines, and writing for numerous publications since before the Time War. Obviously SFX is the best one. I knew being a geek would work out fine.