Huge news, Star Trek fans: The first new Trek series in a decade has found its star. f
Sonequa Martin-Green, well known to genre fans for her role on AMC’s mega-hit The Walking Dead, has been cast as the lead of Star Trek: Discovery, sources tell EW.
The casting ends meticulous search to find the ideal actress to anchor the eagerly anticipated new CBS All Access drama. Martin-Green will play a lieutenant commander on the Discovery. (CBS Television Studios had no comment.)
Martin-Green is will continue to serve as a series regular on AMC’s zombie drama, where she has played the tough pragmatic survivor Sasha Williams since season 3.
The casting brings the 31-year-old Martin-Green back to the CBS family. She previously played Courtney Wells on The Good Wife (which is getting a spin-off series, titled The Good Fight, on All Access that debuts in February). She also starred as Tamara on ABC’s Once Upon a Time. Martin-Green’s husband, Kenric Green, is also an actor on TWD.
Martin-Green represents the first African-American woman to lead the cast of a Trek ensemble, fulfilling a years-long goal by the project’s original showrunner Bryan Fuller. The series will also have the TV franchise’s first openly gay character, a lieutenant played by Anthony Rapp.
“Star Trek started with a wonderful expression of diversity in its cast … we’re continuing that tradition,” Fuller noted to reporters in August. “We wanted to paint a picture of Starlet that’s indicative of encountering people who are much more different than we are.” While Fuller stepped down from his duties to focus on his upcoming series on Starz, American Gods, Discovery’s new showrunners Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts are moving forward with his original vision.
Another evolution from Trek tradition: Unlike the previous series in the franchise, the main protagonist of Discovery won’t be a captain (at least, not initially). Fuller described Martin-Green’s character as a “lieutenant commander with caveats.”
“We’ve seen six series from the captain’s point of view,” he explained. “To see a character from a [new] perspective on the starship — one who has different dynamic relationships with a captain, with subordinates, it gave us richer context.”
The casting of Martin-Green fills the most crucial role in the series, which CBS will premiere in May on its All Access streaming service. Discovery has made a flurry of other castings in recent few weeks too. Michelle Yeoh will play Captain Georgiou, the Starfleet Captain aboard the Starship Shenzhou; Doug Jones (Hellboy, Falling Skies) will play Lt. Saru, a Starfleet Science Officer and a new alien species in the Star Trek universe; and Rapp (Rent, Road Trip) was cast as Lt. Stamets, an “astromycologist,” fungus expert, and Starfleet Science Officer aboard the Starship Discovery.
The show also cast three actors as Klingons: Chris Obi (Roots) as T’Kuvma, a leader seeking to unite the Klingon houses; Shazad Latif (Penny Dreadful), who will play Kol, a Klingon Commanding Officer, and protege of T’Kuvma; and the newcomer Mary Chieffo as L’Rell, the Battle Deck Commander of a Klingon ship.
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Trek is executive-produced by Fuller, Berg and Harberts along with Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin, Akiva Goldsman, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth.