Star Trek: Discovery has returned for season four with a new captain – albeit one we already know very well – and the promise of “a threat unlike any they’ve ever encountered.”
There’s a bigger threat to the show though, with studio Paramount pulling the show from Netflix for international audiences at the last minute, leaving everyone outside of the US and Canada with no official way to watch Discovery. The studio has since backtracked on that choice, with some international fans able to watch the show after all – though viewers in many countries will still be stuck with few options.
Here’s everything you need to know about Discovery season four, including when and where it’s premiering outside North America, and how you can watch it before then with a VPN.
When is the release date for Star Trek: Discovery season 4?
Discovery season four is already here: it debuted in the US and Canada on 18 November on Paramount+, and episodes are now rolling out weekly on Thursdays.
Outside of the US things are a little more complex. Some countries are getting the first two episodes simultaneously on Friday 26 November to catch up to US viewers, with the remainder weekly on Fridays thereafter. Elsewhere there are still no official launch plans for the season in the wake of the show leaving Netflix.
Here’s the latest list of countries getting the new season this year:
Australia, Austria, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Italy, Mexico, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, Uruguay, and Venezuela
Where can I watch Star Trek: Discovery season 4?
This varies depending on your region. In the USA the show is exclusive to the Paramount+ streaming service (formally CBS All Access), while Canadian viewers will find it on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streamed on Crave.
What about elsewhere? In a shock move, just days before the fourth season premiere, Paramount paid off its contract with Netflix and pulled the show from the streaming service with immediate effect – including the prior three seasons.
The plan was for Discovery season four to premiere internationally on Paramount+, as it does in the US, but that wasn’t going to happen until “early 2022.” After a massive fan backlash, the studio has backtracked.
So, if you’re in a country where Paramount+ is available, the first two episodes will now debut on that service on Friday 26 November, with episodes weekly thereafter.
In Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom the fourth season will instead debut on the free service Pluto TV. The headache here is that while Pluto offers some on-demand content, it’s primarily a live broadcast streaming service – so episodes will air at 9pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and you might have to tune in at the right time to watch them. We’re not sure yet if episodes will also be adding to Pluto’s on-demand content library.
If that doesn’t work for you, then in the UK, Germany, France, Russia, South Korea and “additional select countries,” episodes will be available to buy individually from “participating digital platforms,” though it’s not clear yet which platforms that means – hopefully the big ones like iTunes and Amazon Prime.
Even then though, these solutions cover only a fraction of the 190 or so countries that Netflix made Discovery available in, meaning most of the show’s international audience will still be left completely without an official way to stream the show for the foreseeable future.
How to watch Discovery in other countries
The good news for international Disco fans is that there are ways to watch Paramount Plus from outside the US. If you’re not in one of the countries mentioned above getting the show through Paramount+, Pluto TV, or digital storefronts, this will be the best legal way to watch the show as it airs Stateside, rather than waiting all the way until next year (or later, depending on where you live!) to find out what happens next.
Click through above for our full guide, but the long and short of it is that you’ll need a VPN (NordVPN and Surfshark are our favourites, but check out our full ranking of the best VPN providers) and to purchase a digital gift card to get around the hurdle of not having an American credit card.
Watch the Discovery season 4 trailers
A first trailer for the season was unveiled at 2021’s Star Trek First Contact Day, back on 5 April:
Confront the unknown together. Stream #StarTrekDiscovery Season 4 exclusively on #ParamountPlus in the US later this year. #FirstContactDay https://t.co/Eo8AaeB0Ov pic.twitter.com/sQ1jwQOdZL
— Paramount+ (@paramountplus)
April 5, 2021
A second trailer with plenty of new footage was then released at New York Comic-Con in October, giving us a better sense of the season’s story:
What is the plot of Star Trek: Discovery season 4?
The official blurb for the season doesn’t give much away:
“Season four of Star Trek: Discovery finds Captain Burnham and the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery facing a threat unlike any they’ve ever encountered. With Federation and non-Federation worlds alike feeling the impact, they must confront the unknown and work together to ensure a hopeful future for all.”
From the trailers above we can see that a gravitational anomaly, measuring five light-years across, is threatening catastrophic damage to life in the galaxy. It will take Burnham and crew, plus the alliances they can forge with the Vulcans and other species, to fight this phenomenon and save the universe once more.
Obviously, the idea of coming together to fight an invisible force that can devastate lives feels quite apt for the Covid-ravaged times in which we find ourselves. So, maybe season four will bring a little cheer and help us all see that working to put aside our differences and helping each other is the best way to avoid being wiped out by enormous gravitational anomalies.
At the end of season 3, Michael Burnham had taken her place in the Captain’s chair on the bridge of Discovery, so season 4 will no doubt see her new status tested in the far-future where they find themselves.
In a panel hosted by Variety, co-showrunner Alex Kurtzman discussed how Burnham earned her command in the last scene of season three and what that means for the upcoming episodes.
“In some sense, it’s an ending, but it’s very much a new beginning because season four for Michelle and I has been largely defined by this question. Every time we broke story, the question is: ‘How is this affecting Burnham as a captain?’ And I don’t mean affecting, I mean challenging her. Just because she has the chair doesn’t mean that she’s necessarily ready for certain things. And there are choices that she now has to make as a captain that she wouldn’t have to make as just an officer on the ship.
“So every story was calibrated to what new door does this open to her experience of being a captain and what new challenge does she have to face the ship to face and what new thing does she have to learn about herself and to discovery.”
Who are the cast and crew for Star Trek: Discovery season 4?
The crew from season three all looks set to return, with the following already confirmed:
Sonequa Martin-Green – Captain Michael Burnham
Doug Jones – Saru
Anthony Rapp – Paul Stamets
Mary Wiseman – Sylvia Tilly
Wilson Cruz – Dr Hugh Culber
David Ajala – Cleveland ‘Book’ Booker
Blu Del Barrio – Adira
Ian Alexander – Gray
Emily Coutts – Keyla Detmer
Oyin Oladejo – Joann Owosekun
Tig Notaro – Jett Reno
The director for season 4 is Olatunde Osunsanmi, who has also overseen episodes for Star Trek: Short Treks, Bates Motel, Gotham, Legends of Tomorrow, Falling Skies and Timeless.
Writing duties are spread among several authors, with Alex Kurtzman, Bryan Fuller, Sean Cochran, Anthony Maranville, Brandon Shultz, Chris Silvestri, and Michelle Paradise all returning.
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