This week Star Trek made history (again) when it named Sonequa Martin-Green as the lead for its upcoming show, Star Trek Discovery. Discovery is its first new television show in more than a decade.
Why is this history?
Because Martin-Green is the first African-American woman to lead a Star Trek show. (Star Trek Voyager had the first female lead of the franchise). It’s the also the first time the show won’t be told from the ship’s captain point of view, as Martin-Green is slated be to the lieutenant commander on the ship, not the captain.
“Star Trek started with a wonderful expression of diversity in its cast … we’re continuing that tradition,” said show creator Bryan Fuller in August. “We wanted to paint a picture of Starlet that’s indicative of encountering people who are much more different than we are.”
As Star Trek is the show that made a multi-cultural crew commonplace by having a Japanese helmsman, a Russian navigator, an African-American female communications officer, it is a natural progression to have an African-American woman lead the show; and they’ve picked a great actor in Martin-Green.
If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, you’re already familiar with her through her portrayal of Sasha Williams. I’m not really a fan of that show, but I’m a fan of her in it. She’s pretty badass and can hold her own against zombies and people. I’m guessing she is going to transfer those skills to Star Trek.
Martin-Green is the latest to join a pretty diverse cast, which includes: three Klingons and the first openly gay character on a Star Wars television show.
The actors portraying the three Klingons are Chris Obi, Shazad Latif, and Mary Cheiffo. Obi (Roots) will portray T’Kuvma, a Klingon leader who wants to unite the Klingon houses. Latif (Penny Dreadful) will portray Kol, a Klingon commanding officer and T’Kuvma’s protege. Chieffo is a new actor and will play L’Rell a battle deck commander of a Klingon ship.
The other cast members include Anthony Rapp of Rent and Road Trip will portray Lt. Stamets who is the an astromycologist, fungus expert, and Starfleet science officer. His character is also gay. Doug Jones of Hellboy and Falling Skies will play Lt. Sara, another Starfleet science officer who is an alien species new to the Star Trek universe. Michelle Yeoh has also been confirmed as Captain Georgiou, a Starfleet Captain aboard the starship Shenzhou.
Discovery is set ten years before the original series and will explore a previously mentioned event from Star Trek’s history (hmmm …. I wonder what that will be), and it is separate from the Star Trek movies.
Personally, I’m pumped about this show. I’m consistently impressed with its innovation and diversity (although I’m not a fan of how they suddenly made Sulu gay in the newest movie … not even George Takei was a fan of that).
For me, Star Trek is the show that’s always going to be relevant to life. Even now, I watch the older shows, and I’m impacted by them and the lessons of diversity and integrity they show. I look at the teamwork and how they deal with impossible situations, and I’m encouraged. Maybe the future won’t be so bad. Maybe we’ll all learn how to get along and make the world a better place for everyone. There are also some pretty sweet action scenes and a bunch of humor mixed in.
Star Trek Discovery is set to release in May of 2017 on CBS. From there, the episodes will be available on CBS All Access (I may actually get a subscription to it now) or on Netflix if you’re in Canada (or just move here).