Now that the Multiverse has been confirmed by Star Trek: Discovery, season 5 shouldn’t ignore one of the biggest ideas in the franchise. During the mission to stop the Dark Matter Anomaly, which came from its creators, Species 10-C, in another galaxy, Dr. Ruon Tarka (Shawn Doyle) revealed that he’s from a different reality in the Multiverse. Therefore, Star Trek: Discovery established the existence of even more alternate timelines beyond the Mirror Universe and the Kelvin timeline from J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movies.
Star Trek: Discovery season 5 teases a welcome shift in tone from the dire galactic threats that Discovery seasons 3 and 4 revolved around, but beyond the season’s main story is the greater idea of the Multiverse and its ramifications. Star Trek: Discovery season 3 established the Temporal Wars happened a couple of hundred years before Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) arrived in the 32nd century, and the Temporal Wars also led to the crossover of a time soldier named Yor from the alternate Kelvin timeline. In Star Trek: Discovery season 4, Dr. Tarka wanted to to generate enough power to send him back to his own parallel reality by destroying the DMA and Species 10-C. The Multiverse is obviously now a major factor that explains a lot about the Star Trek franchise. It’s a Pandora’s box that is now open, and Discovery can’t close and mustn’t ignore it.
Long before the term « Multiverse » became part of pop culture, Star Trek: The Original Series established the existence of the Mirror Universe. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Enterprise, and Star Trek: Discovery have all spent a great deal of time exploring the alternate reality ruled by the Terran Empire and its Emperors like Philippa Georgiou (MIchelle Yeoh). Star Trek: The Next Generation set up its own alternate realities like the darker, divergent timeline of « Yesterday’s Enterprise. » Of course, J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movies are set in the Kelvin Timeline created by the arrival of the Romulan named Nero (Eric Bana) in 2233 that changed the history of Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine).
Star Trek: Picard season 2 was about stopping Q (John de Lancie) from creating an alternate future where the evil Confederation rose up instead of the United Federation of Planets. But Dr. Ruon Tarka in Star Trek: Discovery posits there are even more, and potentially limitless, alternate realities in the Multiverse. This puts Star Trek on an equal footing with comic book Multiverses like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Multiverse.
Star Trek simply needs to begin exploring the ramifications of the Multiverse, and that logically has to start with Star Trek: Discovery as the furthest point in the timeline with the most knowledge of the alternate realities. However, in Star Trek: Discovery season 5, Captain Michael Burnham and the USS Discovery-A are on the hunt for the « greatest treasure in the known galaxy. » Whatever this prize is, the other powers in the Alpha Quadrant as well as the criminal underbelly of the galaxy want it as well. Burnham’s quest is set up to be a worlds-spanning treasure hunt that will see her cross paths with people Michael knew when she was a courier.
It’s unclear whether Star Trek: Discovery season 5’s story will lend itself to further exploration of Star Trek’s Multiverse. « The greatest treasure in the known galaxy » doesn’t sound like finding it will require Burnham to leave her timeline for a different one. But Star Trek can’t wait much longer to really begin exploring the ramifications of the Multiverse, which is the next great frontier for the franchise.
Star Trek: Discovery Season 5 is expected to premiere in 2023 on Paramount+.