By Ani Bundel

Star Trek opened its two-part panel at New York Comic-Con 2019 with a look at the coming Star Trek: Discovery S3, which debuts in 2020. A full panel of showrunners, producers, and the cast, including Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Mary Wiseman, Anthony Rapp, Wilson Cruz, and newcomer David Ajala talked about the jump to the future and how much the show will change with a 930 year jump forward in time.

Fans got a look at that jump in the brand new trailer. Alex Kurtzman and the other production people practically fell over themselves to assure the audience assembled that they should not worry than a move to the future will make this somehow “not Star Trek.” The word “canon” was tossed around liberally, with multiple statements from everyone involved of how committed they are to it.

That being said, jumping into the future is a huge leap, and fans should expect serious changes coming down the pike. (No pun intended.) Doug Jones noted that the characters don’t even know if there is a Federation a thousand years onward. It’s a leap of faith they’ve all taken.

For Martin-Green, it was all about duty. Jumping into the future was the ultimate “duty calls” moment. It’s a decision to stick to their ultimate mission that has now bound these characters together in a way that they hadn’t been previously. “It’s about the collective identity,” in Martin-Green’s words, along with their own paths to self-actualization. Her own role, Michael Burnham, has had one of the most radical arcs over the first two seasons of Star Trek ever. Not just of those in a lead role, but any Trek character ever.

Those paths to self-actualization are just as important as well. Martin-Green emphasized that the show is called “Discovery,” not just because they are discovering things about space and time, but about themselves in the process. The other actors also talked about how this move to the future will help change them. For instance, Tilly, who is an ensign, has found herself pushed to do things far beyond her paygrade. According to actress Mary Weisman, who plays the character, “This season, it’s a time for her to step forward.” (She also advocated that the Federation should be paying Tilly more.)

Star Trek: Discovery may be moving forward into the future, but Kurtzman promised that the changes will all stay within what Star Trek is supposed to be to fans. Jumping nearly 1,000 years in the future means that things will have changed in an extraordinary manner. But the point of Star Trek, from its first episodes in the 1960s, was to be a beacon of hope, and a promise that there will be a future, and humanity will survive. Right now, people need a lot of hope, and the show is about bringing that back to people.