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Star Trek Discovery Season 3's Many Voyager Parallels Explained

The fact thatStar Trek: Discoveryseason 3 is set in the 32nd century has created a number of parallels between it and Star Trek: Voyager. The main premise of Discovery season 3 revolves around the Discovery's time jump 930 years into the future, and the challenges they are facing from leaving behind everything they know to come to a time period where the outlook for the Federation and Starfleet seems bleak. So far, Discovery's crew has learned that if they want to survive in the future, they must rely on each other and find new ways of operating as a starship crew.

Many of the same themes were present in Star Trek: Voyager. Voyager saw its main cast stranded in the Delta Quadrant, attempting to return home even though at maximum speeds it would take 75 years to reach the Federation. While Voyager was not set in the far future of the Star Trek timeline like Discovery season 3, the crew were still thrust into an unfamiliar situation and forced to work together to overcome it. Along the way, they became better people and a better crew because of their ordeal.

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There are differences between Voyager and Discovery season 3. While Voyager's ultimate goal was always to return home, Discovery's crew is prevented from returning to their own time in order to keep the Sphere data safe from Control. Discovery season 3 is also set within an ostensively familiar region of space, while the Delta Quadrant was completely unexplored territory before the Star Trek franchise. Perhaps the biggest difference is that Discovery's crew chose to go to the future, while Voyager's crew was thrown into the Delta Quadrant against their will.

Even with these differences, however, the parallels between the two shows are undeniable. Discovery season 3 is covering new territory for the Star Trek franchise, just like Voyager did. The crew is already realizing that survival in the 32nd century means cementing their bonds as a family, something Voyager's crew had to learn as well. Additionally, Michael Burnham is feeling the burden of the responsibility she bears Discovery's crew in a way that is similar to Voyager's Captain Janeway.

Discovery Is In Uncharted Territory - Just Like Voyager

One of the reasons that Star Trek: Voyager was so well received by fans was because of its premise. Prior to Voyager, other Star Trek shows had stuck close to home, exploring what was rapidly becoming a familiar region of space for the franchise. The Delta Quadrant offered opportunities for new planets and aliens every week, and the creative team on Voyager took full advantage of this freedom to explore a lot of territory, even creating some new alien species that became staples on the show. All this made Voyager feel refreshing and interesting.

The 32nd century has already allowed for something similar to happen on Star Trek: Discovery season 3. Seasons 1 and 2 of  Discovery were in the 2250s, a time period before the start of Star Trek: The Original Series. While it is true that the first two seasons dealt with topics fans hadn't yet seen covered, such as the Klingon War, they still felt like they were using an old playbook to tell their stories. That playbook has been thrown out entirely for season 3, and like Voyager, Discovery has been freed from the constraints of predictable Star Trek. The show is free to establish whatever canon it likes about the 32nd century, just as Voyager was able to do with the Delta Quadrant.

Both shows also have crews who were operating largely without Starfleet oversight for a period of time. The Federation and Starfleet have been decimated in the 32nd century by The Burn, and while both still exist their influence has been severely curtailed. Just like Voyager, Discovery's crew found themselves in a situation with extremely limited Federation guidance upon their arrival in the 32nd century. While searching for the Federation, they have had to rely on their own instincts of what is the best course of action in any given situation, all while attempting to hold onto their Starfleet principles and ideals.

Discovery And Voyager Both Have Close-Knit Crews

Star Trek: Voyager's other main appeal was its portrayal of the relationships between its main characters. The crew began the show as wary allies, especially because half of them were replaced by members of the Maquis during the first episode. It seemed at the start of the series as though the two separate crews would struggle to find common ground, but by Voyager's final season, they were a family, bound together by the respect and love they had gained for each other through the challenges they had faced.

Discovery's crew were already moving in a similar direction during the show's first two seasons, but their time jump has made them realize that coming together not only as a crew but as a family is vital for their survival. Just like Voyager's crew, all that the people on Discovery have now is each other, whether they like it or not. Discovery's new Captain Saru has realized this, and while conflicts broke out between some members of the senior staff during season 3 episode 4, Saru strived to maintain a sense of camaraderie and emphasize that because of their unique circumstances, the crew had to act as more than just colleagues; they now had to be each other's support system. While Discovery's crew is still in the early stages of navigating this new reality, the ways they have pulled together already suggest that they are on track to becoming as closely bonded with each other as Voyager's crew was.

Another satisfying thing about Star Trek: Voyager was the fact that Voyager's isolation actually allowed some of its main characters to thrive in ways that they would not have in Federation space. From the Maquis to Tom Paris to Seven of Nine, a number of characters experienced growth and development that was facilitated by being on Voyager, and Star Trek: Discovery season 3 has the opportunity to offer its main characters the same chance. The 32nd century has already allowed Michael Burnham to branch out in ways that were not available to her as a Starfleet officer, and it is possible that Discovery will give other characters a similar chance to learn new things about themselves.

Burnham and Janeway: The Burden Of Responsibility

Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Discovery both feature female leads, and while Michael Burnham is not the captain of Discovery, season three has given her a heavy sense of responsibility for her crew, similar to Voyager's Captain Janeway. Janeway was constantly plagued by feelings of guilt during Voyager's seven seasons, always second-guessing her decision to strand those under her command in the Delta Quadrant by destroying the Caretaker's array. She was also fiercely protective of her crew, and on more than one occasion demonstrated her willingness to sacrifice herself if it would mean ensuring their safety.

Discovery season 3 has shown Michael struggling with a similar burden. Michael had planned to be the only one to make the journey to the future at the end of season 2, but most of Discovery's crew agreed to accompany her at the last minute despite her objections. It is clear in season 3 that Michael is feeling the responsibility of being the reason her friends are stuck in the future. Despite what is arguably best for her, Micahel has agreed to be Saru's first officer now that she has been reunited with Discovery. It seems that she is committed to staying with the crew even though her experiences during the year that they were separated have potentially made her realize that she is happier not being a Starfleet officer.

Michael's decisions show that she feels accountable for Discovery's crew, and may even be evidence of her guilt for what she perceives as them becoming caught up in a decision they never asked for. Whether or not Michael's guilt will manifest itself in the same way Janeway's did in terms of recklessly endangering herself to protect Discovery is not yet clear. If she continues to take on everyone else's problems as well as her own, though, it is more than likely.

Up until season 3, Star Trek: Discovery was about as far removed from Star Trek: Voyager as it could get. The decision to take a page out of Voyager's book in season 3 however has breathed new life into Discovery and may go a long way to bringing new fans to the show. Star Trek: Voyager may have ended almost 20 years ago, but its storytelling legacy continues to live on in season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery.

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