Star Trek Guide

Star Trek Discovery: Who Will Be the New Number One?

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery Season 3, Episode 6, "Scavengers," now streaming on CBS All Access.

The most recent episode of Star Trek: Discovery brought about a number of surprises, including a kiss between Michael Burnham and Book. But the hour was not all smiles for Michael, as the rogue mission she went on to rescue her new beau got her in trouble with the new Federation, as well as Captain Saru. As a result, the Kelpien was forced to demote his first officer, a clear signal of her breach of trust.

With the position of Discovery's number one now open, here are our thoughts on the most likely candidates for the job.

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Paul Stamets

The spore drive specialist is arguably Discovery's most valuable asset (just don't ask Lieutenant Detmer), as the conduit to the mycelial network that the ship can use to jump at a moment's notice. This past episode also saw him making a surprising connection with newcomer Adira, meaning that the usually grumpy Stamets could have some people skills necessary for command. But considering his continued fascination with all things spore drive, it may be tough to convince him to pull himself away from the engine room for a position on the bridge.

Sylvia Tilly

On any other Star Trek show, it would be baffling to promote an ensign all the way up to commander in an instant. But as Discovery has shown, it is not like any other Star Trek show. Tilly has been through a massive trial by fire the past few seasons, including having to masquerade as her malicious Terran self and getting held captive within the mycelial network. And prior to the ship's jump into the wormhole, she was enlisted in the Command Training Program, meaning she's eyeing a spot in the captain's chair. Saru also took notice of a particularly impressive scene with Tilly in this past week's episode, as she doles out orders without flinching.

Jett Reno

The former engineer of the Hiawatha may be the coolest head on Discovery, able to get through crises with a calm attitude and plenty of snark. With the loads of life-or-death situations that the ship seem to encounter every episode, that is something that could come in handy as the crew continues to get adjusted to life in the 32nd century. On the other hand, Reno seems to not have the people skills necessary for command, hilariously yet dismissively forgetting the names of other crew members at a moment's notice.


Admittedly, not much is known about the bridge officer. She stepped up as the spore drive ops person after Airiam's death, a reference to the fact that actor Sara Mitich had played the late cyborg in Season 1. What's noteworthy is that every time Saru or Michael leave the ship, Nilsson is usually left in charge of the bridge. This could indicate that she has assumed the rank of second officer. And if Saru follows Starfleet protocol, that means Nilsson is a natural fit for Michael's former position.


As mentioned before, Discovery is an unconventional Star Trek show. This is a series that rotated through captains for its first two seasons, a deviation from previous shows that had one person in the chair for their durations. With that in mind, it would be unsurprising if Saru and Discovery decide not to appoint Michael's successor, instead opting for the captain to go solo in the 32nd century.

Streaming on CBS All Access,Star Trek: Discovery stars Sonequa Martin-Green as Commander Michael Burnham, Doug Jones as Commander Saru, Anthony Rapp as Lt. Commander Paul Stamets, Mary Wiseman as Ensign Sylvia Tilly, Wilson Cruz as Dr. Hugh Culber, David Ajala as Cleveland "Book" Booker, Blu del Barrio as Adira, Ian Alexander as Gray, Tig Notaro as Chief Engineer Reno and Michelle Yeoh as Philippa Georgiou. New episodes of Season 3 air on Thursdays.