“Star Trek,” one of the most iconic and influential global television franchises, returns to television 50 years after it first premiered with “Star Trek: Discovery.” The series will feature a new ship, new characters and new missions, while embracing the same ideology and hope for the future that inspired a generation of dreamers and doers. The series will premiere on the CBS Television Network with all subsequent episodes available on CBS All Access, the Network’s digital subscription video on demand and live streaming service, and will be distributed concurrently by CBS Studios International on Netflix in 188 countries and in Canada on Bell Media’s Space channel and OTT service CraveTV.
During CBS’ portion of the Television Critics Association (TCA) summer press tour last year, “Star Trek: Discovery” executive producer Bryan Fuller said that the lead character would be a woman and she very likely will be non-white. The vast majority of actresses who had been seen for the part up until that time had been either African-American or Latina. Fuller also said that the lead will not be the captain of the ship, with the goal being to tell stories through some other character’s eyes who is not the captain, as has typically been the case in past “Star Trek” series and movies. The lead would be “a lieutenant commander with caveats” Fuller said, and their intention was to go diverse, not just with the lead role, but with the entire cast.
About 6 months later, it was announced that Sonequa Martin-Green, well known from her role on AMC’s mega-hit “The Walking Dead,” was cast as the lead in “Star Trek: Discovery.”
The search for the lead was apparently an intense one, as producers wanted to make sure they found the right actress to topline the eagerly anticipated new CBS All Access reboot of the iconic series.
This marks the first African American woman to lead the cast of a “Star Trek” ensemble series – one that, as Fuller also previously said, will be the most diverse, and will also include the franchise’s first openly gay character.
Immediately after it was announced that Martin-Green had been cast in the upcoming series reboot, “Walking Dead” fans immediately took to social media to express their concern for what they believed would eventually mean the death (or some other exit) of their beloved, tough, pragmatic Sasha Williams (the character the actress plays on the AMC zombie drama series). Well, it finally happened. Sasha’s caught zombie fever – perfectly-timed too – and breathed her last human breath by the end of last night’s season finale. But you knew it was coming, so it shouldn’t have been a big surprise.
Martin-Green is now officially “beamed up” and ready to take on some Klingons, Romulans and whatever popular Star Trek enemy race will transfer to the series reboot.
In addition, revealed today by the project’s website, her character’s name is First Officer Michael Burnham; yes, while not common, Michael can be a woman’s name too.
Martin-Green’s casting followed that of another black actor, British thespian Chris Obi (who has been cast in the upcoming reboot as a Klingon – specifically as “T’Kuvma,” the Klingon leader seeking to unite the Klingon houses).
Michelle Yeoh, Douglas Jones and Anthony Rapp are also series regulars.
The first season will comprise of 13 episodes, but little has been revealed in terms of story, other than to say that the new series will be set in the Prime Universe (as opposed to the Kelvin Timeline used in the J.J. Abrams-produced films) and will take place about 10 years before Captain Kirk’s five-year mission. In other words, the series will act as a bridge between the first two series in the timeline, about a century after “Star Trek: Enterprise” (which was a prequel) and a decade before the original series.
“Star Trek: Discovery” is produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Alex Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout, Bryan Fuller’s Living Dead Guy Productions and Roddenberry Entertainment. Alex Kurtzman, Bryan Fuller, Heather Kadin, Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts, Akiva Goldsman, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth serve as executive producers.
Still no premiere date at this time.
Watch the previously-released “Star Trek: Discovery” production video announcement below: