After 57 years of Star Trek starships traveling through the warp, Star Trek: Discovery Season 5 could make a fundamental change in Starfleet. Captain Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and the USS Discovery-A took a warp trip back to the galaxy solving the mystery of The Burn in Star Trek: Discovery season 3. However, Discovery remained the only Starfleet ship with a displacement-activated spore unit in season 4. However, Starfleet may be poised to follow Discovery’s lead in season 5.
Star Trek: Discovery Season 5 could finally equip every Starfleet ship with its own spore unit. Being able to instantly jump to a new location by traveling through the mycelial network was Star Trek: Discoverygreat idea that made it unique, but the spore boost was also problematic with canon because it was invented in the 23rd century era, before theStar Trek: The Original Series. Over 980 years later, the Federation still relies on the warp drive powered by dilithium crystals. After the burn, Dr. Ruon Tarka (Shawn Doyle) developed a next-generation spore unit that he installed on Cleveland Booker’s (David Ajala) ship as they went brazenly to destroy Species 10-C. Both the Discovery and Tarka spore units were destroyed Star Trek: Discovery season 4 finale, but Commander Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) pointed out that Disco’s spore unit can be repaired. In Star Trek: Discovery season 5, the next generation spore unit could be replicated and installed throughout Starfleet, largely eliminating the need for warp travel.
Why Spore Drive is (and isn’t) better than Warp
Obviously, the USS Discovery being able to instantly jump to its destination via the spore drive is incredibly convenient. From a storytelling standpoint, the spore unit as a plot device allows an episode to move quickly, and the mycelial network has lent itself to interesting new Star Trek stories in previous seasons of discovery. The spore unit also gives Star Trek: Discovery a futuristic technological edge, along with its 32nd century innovations such as programmable matter, that makes Star Trek forward-thinking rather than still reliant on technology dreamed up in the 1960s.
The flip side is that the instant spore unit jumps eliminate other Star Trek tropes and classic story opportunities, like the countless warp travel stories gone wrong. The time in between when a starship is traveling through the warp is also a prime opportunity for character development and to enhance the dramatic story needs of a Star Trek episode. There were also numerous thrilling chases in Star Trek that would have been rendered obsolete by the starships simply jumping from place to place.
How Starfleet using Spore units would change Star Trek
Star Trek: Discovery being set at the farthest point of Star Trek’s future logically lends itself to radical changes that fit life more than 780 years later. Star Trek: Picardscene of the 25th century. It would make sense that in Star Trek: Discovery’In the distant future, Starfleet is so advanced that it has finally moved beyond warp travel, which has been in use for a thousand years. Star Trek has already moved beyond the limits of traditional warp travel by creating a transwarp thrust, Star Trek: Voyagerthe slipstream quantum unit e Star Trek: ProdigyProto-Warp Unit. discovery‘s spore displacement cube unit makes sense as the next step in Star Trek’s future. But widespread use of the spore unit would also mark a sea change in the way Starfleet operates and how Star Trek stories are told. Again, this should be part of it Star Trek: Discovery‘s mandate to push the franchise into new frontiers while another series can still maintain Star Trek’s traditional warp drive.
Next: Discovery Season 5 Ignoring the Star Trek multiverse would be a mistake
Star Trek: Discovery Season 5 is expected to premiere in 2023 on Paramount+.