The relationship of Star Trek: Discovery to the universe’s canon has been somewhat changeable over the last few years, particularly since bringing in Spock and more familiar elements of the series. The time jump at the end of season 2 solved continuity issues by placing the Discovery 930 years into the future, namely the 32nd century and the year 3187. And although we’re still waiting for specifics, it appears that season 3 of the CBS All Access show will explore what’s happened to the Federation in this period.
As this is the most distant future in the established timeline for Star Trek, new episodes will have a free rein to explore what happens to the Federation and various species. Doug Jones’ Cmdr. Saru will be the interim captain of the Discovery, at least until a planned new captain is announced. And the actor recently commented on season 3 at the Saturn Awards, describing the exciting possibilities as so:
“We jumped to the future at the end of season two. This is a big deal. We’ve boldly gone where no Star Trek series has gone before. So we’re gonna see what happens in the future. What condition is the Federation in? We’re gonna find out when we land.”
The producers of Star Trek: Discovery are keen to explore the 32nd century and these world-building questions, and tell stories without the burden of the series’ canon. However, we may still see new adventures for the versions of Spock and Captain Pike seen in season 2, but more likely through a spinoff and the Star Trek: Short Treks one-off episodes.
For now, with Star Trek: Picard set to be released in early 2020, we probably won’t see the third season of Star Trek: Discovery until some time later that year. Until then, we can continue to expect more teases from the cast about the fresh start for many of the characters in the series, as well as photos (available above) that show the core characters split across different locations.