Sonequa Martin-Green ‘Honored’ To Be ‘First Black Female Lead of a Star Trek Show’

Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek imagined a quasi-utopian world that had moved beyond the prejudices and unnecessary divisions that he saw all around him. The original cast included both the Russian character Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig) at the height of the Cold War and the legendary Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) at a time when most Black women on screen were forced to play maids. CBS’ new iteration, Star Trek: Discovery, looks primed to continue the franchise’s tradition of diversity and inclusiveness. It’s the first Star Trek show with a Black female lead, Michael Burnham (The Walking Dead‘s Sonequa Martin-Green).

“I can see the beauty of it, and I can hope for the impact of it,” Martin-Green told Entertainment Weekly. “Being the first Black female lead of a Star Trek show. I don’t know if I can put it into words how honored I am and how blessed I am to be in this position, at a time such as this.”

Discovery will also feature the franchise’s first openly gay character: Anthony Rapp’s Lt. Stamets. That makes him a trailblazer, though Rapp told Entertainment Weekly that his character’s sexuality is barely remarkable in the far future of the Federation.

“The fact of my character’s sexual orientation is just a fact among many, and is treated just as straightforwardly and simply as any fact about any of the other characters,” Rapp said.