Discovery Season 5 Cast Says Goodbye and Share Favorite Memories


They have boldly gone where no Star Trek has gone before. Literally. We’re talking 930 years in the future. But Star Trek: Discovery (affectionately known as Disco) will be remembered for more than that innovative Season 2 plot twist. Showrunner and Trek titan Alex Kurtzman reinvented the franchise with Disco, which became a huge success and helped launch Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Star Trek: Lower Decks, Star Trek: Prodigy, and the upcoming Star Trek: Starfleet Academy and streamer film Star Trek: Section 31, starring Michelle Yeoh.

So, get ready: The fifth and final season premieres April 4 on Paramount+. The cast tells us that the end generally feels “bittersweet,” mostly because they didn’t know going into Season 5 that it would be their last adventure together. The season was mostly shot when news dropped that Disco would not be returning for a sixth season. The producers lured back the cast to shoot additional scenes and create an effective coda.

It’s a dynamic, action-packed final ride, in fact, purposely plucking something unique from Star Trek lore to give the season a singular focus. Captain Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery rush to solve a mystery about an ancient hidden power that could wreak havoc in the wrong hands. Enter new villains L’ak and Moll, played by recurring guest stars Elias Toufexis and Eve Harlow, respectively.

Cast members Blu del Barrio, Wilson Cruz, and Mary Wiseman — Adira, Dr. Hugh Culber, Tilly — are jazzed about the final season, but in a roundtable interview with journalists, the actors waxed philosophical, reflecting back on their milestone moments. Dive in.

Blu del Barrio on Their Historic Star Trek Role

Out of all the actors in Disco, Blu del Barrio’s personal and character arc has captured some of the most attention. Del Barrio came aboard the Discovery in Season 3 as a teenage member of the United Earth Defense Force. Adira’s natural curiosity and stellar knowledge of what then had become a 900-plus-year-old vessel eventually led to her staying on board under the tutelage of Commander Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Ensign Sylvia Tilly (Wiseman).

The actor and the character came out as non-binary around the same time. It would be the first time a non-binary actor played a role in a Star Trek show, and del Barrio’s scenes with transgender character Gray, played by out trans actor Ian Alexander, also became a Trek first.

When asked about some of the most interesting things they learned about themselves during this pivotal time in their lives — and the show’s — del Barrio shared, “Yeesh. Um… there was a lot of self-discovery for me… a lot of self-discovery the last three, four years that came from playing this role and working and living inside this universe that I was not expecting.” They added:

“I have always been somebody who always thought at every moment in time that I know myself really well… [But] working on season three, season five especially, this period of my life has changed so drastically, and I’m so glad that it has. I’ve been able to let go a little bit of control, of wanting to really know the intricacies of how I function.
I think that this show helped me do that, helped me kind of open up my mind a little bit and listen to myself

“And having these people around me as my mentors and my friends also really helped me to do that. This experience has helped me grow in ways that I did not think that I could grow in.”

On Filming (and Grieving) the Final Season of Discovery

Sonequa Martin-Green, David Ajala, and Wilson Cruz holding small weapons on an ice planet in Star Trek: Discovery

Discovery’s cast didn’t have the luxury of knowing that Season 5 would be its last. In fact, Wilson Cruz was already off shooting another project after production presumably wrapped, but thanks to modern tech, he managed to video in for a final “group hug” goodbye after the coda was shot.

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“The vibe was bittersweet, I would say,” said Mary Wiseman. “I don’t know, it’s weird … it’s a good goodbye [but] kind of difficult to conceive… It didn’t feel real. We’re still just joking around, and I remember the last thing you do, usually, when you wrap a season is, you clap people out. And when they called my name, I was smiling and being weird. And then I felt tears and spit and snot just rocket out of my face… it was very spontaneous and weird. And that was the moment I think I accepted that it was over.”

“I remember that very vividly,” del Barrio admitted, “because it was Sonequa who said it, too. I was laughing the entire day. I didn’t know how to deal with it. I feel like… the grieving process for this show has come in like tiny little moments. It’s like 20 seconds of time when it kind of just hits you really hard, then you might cry for a second, and then it goes away, and then it feels weird again. It’s how I’ve experienced it since we wrapped.”

What Wilson Cruz Gained from Star Trek

Wilson Cruz’s Dr. Hugh Culber has endured a great deal during Disco’s run. A wild near-death experience early in the run, followed by a renewed sense of commitment to life partner Commander Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp). What did he personally take away from his time on this series?

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“Having worked with Anthony Rapp for over 25 years, [I know] that ‘goodbye’ is never goodbye, right?” he said. “He’s been a part of my life for this long, he will continue to be, and now all of these amazing people that I’ve shared this experience with will also be a part of my life. So, I won’t miss them. I’ll miss everyday interactions with them, but they’ll be sick of me soon.”

“What I will take away from [playing] Culber is this belief that I have, that no matter how hard things get, no matter how difficult a cultural or political moment might be, that all we can really control is our responses to that and who we are,” said Cruz, adding:

“And like Culber, if our lives aren’t working for us, it doesn’t have to take your sudden death for you to realize that you can reinvent yourself at any given moment; that you can create the life that you deserve, the love that you deserve, the career that you deserve, just by choosing to do that.
And if you do that, you will be, just like Culber, in awe of how wonderful your life could be if you give yourself that permission.

In the meantime, the third episode of this season gives Cruz a chance to play outside the box with Culber. We can’t reveal much, but it’s a memorable, must-see episode of television filled with alien monsters and big twists. “They gave me free rein, which for an actor is so wonderful and yet terrifying,” Cruz said of the episode. “I got the script a couple of weeks before and… I will tell you the thing that saved me from my own anxiety in performing that part was having Sonequa and David [Ajala, aka Booker] in all of those scenes with me supporting me and cheering me on and letting me know that I wasn’t completely falling on my face. And I needed that reassurance, to be honest with you.”

Were They Happy with How Discovery Ended?

“I personally am really happy,” del Barrio shared of where Adira winds up at the end of Season 5, “especially not knowing beforehand that these were the last moments we were having. It felt like a beginning for [Adira] more than anything else. It felt like the start of their story, and it’s nice just sort of leaving that up to mystery and knowing in my heart of hearts that they would be okay… and they have a family and a home.”

Mary Wiseman said she was “very satisfied” with where Tilly ends up. And of his character’s endgame, Cruz noted:

“I’m really happy with the fact that, despite not getting a couple more seasons to… realize the end of what I thought was going to be his arc, after watching it, I actually am thrilled that I kind of manifested where I wanted him to end up, which was really comfortable in his own skin and still in awe of the universe, and all of these strange things that have happened to him that he has now allowed the mystery of to exist.
Not everything needs an answer, that sometimes it’s okay for mysteries to exist and that’s just part of life
. But for a control freak like Hugh Culber, that’s a lot.”

The Star Trek Cast’s Proudest Moments

Anything can happen on Star Trek. And anywhere, for that matter. One doubts this will be the last we see of Disco’s crew. This troika was happy to share some of their proudest moments during the five-season run. Mary Wiseman pointed out a Tilly story arc that found the character protecting students she brought on the ice moon back in Season 3, one of whom was the character Adira. “That reshaped her understanding of what she wanted to do and what gave her life purpose,” she added. Wilson Cruz shared:

“There’s a moment at the end of Season 2 when Paul is literally dying on the bed in front of me, and we are making our way 900 years into the future, and Hugh has made a choice to stay in this relationship, to stay on this ship with this crew and go out into the future, this unknown future. But the decision to stay and to love this man and to continue to be a doctor, and in Season 3 become the counselor on the ship, is his way of really claiming his life and responsibility for it.”

“I’m really proud of the relationship that Ian [Alexander] and I got to portray as Adira and Gray,” del Barrio mused. “I’m really proud of that. And I love Ian to death. I’m so happy that I had him opposite me in this.” The fifth and final season ofStar Trek: Discovery blasts off April 4 on Paramount+ and you can watch it through the link below:

Watch Star Trek: Discovery

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