Sonequa Martin-Green Hits Media Circuit, Talks Star Trek: Discovery Role

While it has been known since December that Sonequa Martin-Green (of The Walking Dead fame) will play a lead role in Star Trek: Discovery, her role was officially announced this past week. She will be playing First Officer Michael Burnham, following Martin-Green’s departure on The Walking Dead in its recent season seven finale. Martin-Green has already hit the media circuit talking about her Star Trek role.

“Being the first officer on the ship is going to be a wild ride because we haven’t seen that happen before in the Star Trek canon,” said Martin-Green to The Hollywood Reporter. “We haven’t seen the story be told from the perspective of the first officer rather than the captain. It’s going to open up so much potential for new storylines because not being the captain automatically gives you a different perspective. I’ve been floored by the performances on The Walking Dead from the beginning and I’m going to be astounded again by the people we’ve got assembled on Star Trek. I’m really excited.”

Martin-Green throws up a Vulcan salute on the mid-season finale of "Talking Dead"
Martin-Green throws up a Vulcan salute on the mid-season finale of “Talking Dead”

The pressure of a leading role on a Star Trek series is not lost on Martin-Green, as she told Tvline.com on April 3rd.

“There’s definitely a lot of responsibility to being the lead of any show,” she said. “Obviously to be the lead of this, [an offshoot of] one of the most popular, if not the most popular, television series of all-time… you can certainly get lost in it if you allow yourself to, and just sort of be frozen.”

In the same interview, Martin-Green gave her take on how the show is shaping up, and what fans can expect from the cast and crew of Star Trek: Discovery.

“This iteration of Star Trek is going to have a different take than the others in the Star Trek canon,” she said. “It’s going to be bigger, rawer and grittier… and the story’s going to build on itself. It’s going to be a tremendous journey.”

To Vulture.com, Martin-Green gave some insight into her familiarity with Star Trek.

“Yeah. I love the original series. It’s my favorite out of all of them, and I just love the dynamic between Kirk and Spock,” said Martin-Green. “All the characters on the show had rich relationships. I found myself just keeping it on in the background when I was doing a lot of my work when I first started.”

Martin-Green’s casting wasn’t the only time Star Trek: Discovery was in the news this week. An Original Series character, Harcourt Fenton Mudd, will return to the screen, played by The Office‘s Rainn Wilson. It’s unknown what extent the character will play in Star Trek: Discovery.

Star Trek: Discovery is currently shooting in Toronto and is expected to premier this fall.

Cast members include Jason Isaacs (Captain Lorca), Michelle Yeoh (Captain Georgiou), Chris Obi (T’Kuvma), Sonequa Martin-Green (Lt. Cmdr Rainsford), Doug Jones (Lt. Saru), James Frain (Sarek), and Shazad Latif (Kol), Anthony Rapp (Lt. Stamets), Sam Vartholomeos (Ensign Connor), Mary Wiseman (Cadet Tilly), and Mary Chieffo (L’Rell) and Rainn Wilson (Harry Mudd).

Gretchen Berg, Aaron Harberts, Rod Roddenberry, Trevor Roth, Heather Kadin and Alex Kurtzman are executive producers on the series. Nicholas Meyer and Kirsten Beyer are serving as a writers and consulting producers.

Stay tuned to TrekNews.net for the latest news on Star Trek: Discovery. Follow @TrekNewsnet on Twitter, TrekNews on Facebook, TrekNews on Instagram and TrekNewsnet on YouTube.

Kyle Hadyniak has been a lifelong Star Trek fan. A graduate student at the University of Maine, Kyle spends his time either doing school work, playing music, reading history, or immersing himself in a good video game. You can follow Kyle on Twitter @khady93.

6 Comments Join the Conversation →


  • Ctrl-Opt-Del

    So… Is her character a transgender man, or just has a masculine sounding name? (Before people accuse me of being a “hater” or “transphobic”, I’m just asking a question, as it is undoubtedly an odd-sounding name for a character played by a woman unless the character is not going to be a woman despite being played by one; if the character is going to be transgender, why not cast a transgender man instead of putting a woman in “drag”?)

    • Peter Z

      Good question, though in the cast list she is referred to as Lt. Cmdr Rainsford

    • DRShorey

      Michael can be used as a name for a woman.

      • Ctrl-Opt-Del

        I’ve never met, or even heard of, a woman called Michael – Michelle, yeah, but not Michael – but, ok; we’ll just wait & see…

  • Spock

    I don’t understand her comment that “we haven’t seen the story be told from the perspective of the first officer rather than the captain.” Has she watched much Trek?

    In general, I would say very few episodes of Star Trek from any series have been told primarily from one character’s perspective. Some scenes involve the captain, while many do not. Sometimes we get a “Captain’s Log” entry, sometimes a “First Officer’s Log” entry, and sometimes entries from other characters. Many TNG episodes included away teams led by the first officer. The action happened planet-side while the captain remained with the ship.

    I don’t buy the narrative that Trek has always been told from the captain’s perspective.

    • Matineer

      Yeah, TOS was clearly from the Captain’s perspective; but then you had “Tholian Web” with Spock in command. The newer shows, especially post TNG, focus more on the ensemble cast. In a show like Star Trek, though, it’s hard to resist the temptation to get the Captain into danger for dramatic reasons. Time will tell if the First Officer POV is something they’ll maintain, or just an initial “hook” to make this show different. In real life, I believe, it’s the XO who actually runs the ship for the captain. TV captains seem to do everything.