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Star Trek: Discovery's Spinoff Show Just Hit A Big Story Problem

Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Discovery season 3, episode 8, "The Sanctuary".

Emperor Philippa Georgiou is dying in Star Trek: Discoveryseason 3, but what would her possible demise mean for the Section 31 spinoff? The former ruler of the Mirror Universe is one of Star Trek: Discovery's most intriguing characters and she's also unique: Georgiou is a villain who is nonetheless intensely loyal to Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green). However, Georgiou's future is in grave doubt since an unknown affliction is gradually killing her.

The revelation that the Mirror version of Philippa Georgiou was the leader of the Terran Empire was perhaps Star Trek: Discovery season 1's best surprise twist. Indeed, after a shaky start, the series began to find its creative footing during Discovery's 4-part saga in the Mirror Universe. Permanently bringing the evil Georgiou into the Prime Universe was also a creative gamble that paid off. The Emperor is a volatile foil for Burnham and the noble crew of the U.S.S. Discovery and she is a reliable source of dramatic tension, unpredictability, and black humor. In Star Trek: Discovery season 2, Georgiou became an agent of Section 31 and CBS announced that Michelle Yeoh will star in her own spinoff about the Federation's black ops agency, although it has yet to materialize. Clearly, the events of Star Trek: Discovery season 3 will greatly impact Georgiou and her Section 31 spinoff.

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However, the fact that Emperor Georgiou is dying throws a wrinkle in the Section 31 spinoff plans. The Terran has been afflicted by debilitating traumatic flashbacks ever since she was debriefed by a mystery man named Kovich (David Cronenberg) when the U.S.S. Discovery arrived at Starfleet Headquarters. Georgiou has been hiding the seriousness of her illness but she finally (but grudgingly) submitted herself to an examination by Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) and Dr. Tracy Pollard (Raven Dauda) in Star Trek: Discovery season 3, episode 8, "The Sanctuary". Discovery's physicians tried to determine if what's killing Georgiou is "physiological, psychological, temporal, or interdimensional." When the Emperor checked her own results, they confirmed that she is dying, although Culber noted that "it's not that cut-and-dry". Culber also knows that for all of Georgiou's arrogant bluster, the Emperor is secretly terrified.

It's hard to imagine that Star Trek: Discovery really will kill off Emperor Georgiou, who is one of their best characters, but it's certainly possible because it's also difficult to determine where exactly she fits in with season 3's new 32nd-century setting, especially since Michael Burnham and her starship's primary mission is to determine the cause of The Burn and reunite the broken United Federation of Planets - a goal that doesn't necessarily interest a despot like Georgiou.

Star Trek: Discovery season 3 could be laying the groundwork for the Emperor's exit, whether it's Georgiou leaving the series to headline her Section 31 spinoff or Michelle Yeoh, who is an in-demand international star, bowing out of the Star Trek franchise. Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman has claimed that the setting of his Section 31 spinoff will come as a surprise to many Star Trek fans, but will it still star Michelle Yeoh as Emperor Georgiou if Section 31 does materialize? Star Trek: Discovery's Georgiou-is-dying storyline casts it all in doubt.

As such, Star Trek fans have cause to wonder if the Section 31 spinoff really is still in the cards. After all, Star Trek: Discoveryseason 4 has already begun shooting while Star Trek: Picard season 2 ramps up in January 2021, and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will also go before cameras next year. Season 2 of the animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks has already been in production for months and so has Star Trek: Prodigy, which will be led by Kate Mulgrew, who is returning as Star Trek: Voyager's Admiral Kathryn Janeway. And yet, the Section 31 show remains shrouded in mystery, and it begs the question of whether there's still room on this crowded slate of Star Trek projects for Section 31 starring Michelle Yeoh as Emperor Georgiou.

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