When Star Trek Discovery blasted onto CBS All Access (now called Paramount+) in 2017, it was the maiden voyage of a whole new frontier. Star Trek had been away from TV for a while, living primarily on the big screen with a whole new cast and attitude. But Discovery aimed to bring Trek back to its roots and, in the years since, has seen its role in the franchise shift from follower to pioneer.
“It’s interesting to be, now at this point, the first [show], because it seemed like for the longest time we were the last,” Discovery star Sonequa Martin-Green—who plays Michael Burnham—told io9 while promoting her latest film, Space Jam: A New Legacy. “[We were the] latest and we had this whole franchise behind us to sort of look to and stand on and so now it’s odd to be the first in this sort of new expansion.”
Martin-Green, of course, is talking about all the shows that have come since Discovery and that will continue to be released beyond that. First, there was Star Trek: Picard. Then the animated Lower Decks. Soon there will be Prodigy and Strange New Worlds, and more still beyond that. And as the newest Captain of a Federation Starship, she loves to see the universe growing. “I love that the world is expanding. I think that this is the type of story that creates positive change,” Martin-Green said. “And so I support any expansion of this story because of that. Because the more that people can see this kind of diversity, this kind of inclusivity, the more people can see this kind of sacrifice and unity—which are similar things in Space Jam—I think the better. I love it”
The actress, who also had roles on ABC’s Once Upon a Time and AMC’s The Walking Dead, is also excited about her Trek character’s latest foray. When last we left Burnham at the end of season three, she was the new captain of the Discovery—having been promoted thanks to dealing with the Emerald Chain crisis and Doug Jones’ Captain Saru taking a leave of absence to return to his homeworld. When asked, after having to prove herself for so long, what challenges the character will face now as Captain, Martin-Green perked up.
“Oh, my goodness. I love that question,” she said. “And now it’s going to be about finding out who I am as Captain, as Michael Burnham, because there’s always been this question of who am in this moment? Who am I in this role? Who am I at this time? How do I service this moment? How do I service everyone around me? And now I’m going to have to answer those questions for myself as Captain because everything is different now. And we’ve got a huge threat coming our way, which we saw in the trailer for season four. And so we’re going to have to come together and fight for the future like we usually do. But now doing that as Captain is very different. So I love it because no stone is left unturned and I’ve said this before about the show, but no stone is left unturned in that journey to solidifying who I am exactly as Captain.”
It sounds like Captain Burnham will have quite the journey ahead of her, and plenty of backup on the Paramount+ Star Trek universe too. Star Trek Discovery season four premieres later this year. Space Jam: A New Legacy is now on HBO Max and in theaters.
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