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Entertainment Weekly

Exclusive

Star Trek: Discovery star Sonequa Martin-Green breaks her silence

CBS

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Ready to learn a bit more about the lead character in Star Trek: Discovery?

We spoke to star Sonequa Martin-Green about her mysterious role for this week’s upcoming issue of Entertainment Weekly. Her character, First Officer Michael Burnham (deliberately a man’s name), has been shrouded in mystery so far, with the show’s trailer hinting at a Vulcan past. Is she human? Vulcan? Martin-Green is ready to clear things up (a little).

We can tell you that Burnham is fully human (not half-Vulcan as some have speculated) and is the first human to attend the Vulcan Learning Center as a child and then the Vulcan Science Academy as a young woman. She has a close relationship with Sarek (James Frain), the father of Spock. For the past seven years, she’s been serving on the U.S.S. Shenzhou.

“I’m the first officer on the U.S.S. Shenzhou that is captained by Captain Philippa Georgiou, who is played by the amazing Michelle Yeoh,” she says. “I have an inner war and it’s a journey of self discovery and finding out what it means to be alive, to be human, to be a Starfleet officer, what it means to be a hero.”

The producers searched long and hard to find an actor who could pull of Burnham’s divided nature. “We read a lot of people and they either went way too robotic or and chilly or way too emotional,” says Aaron Harberts, who serves as showrunner on the series along with Gretchen J. Berg. “What’s beautiful about Sonequa’s performance is she’s capable of playing two, three, four things at once. She’s got such a great command of her craft, she’s able to be aloof but warm; logical but able to surrender her emotional side to the audience.”

Adds Martin-Green: “I have the Vulcan conflict in my life from Sarek and Amanda so there’s always going to be that inner conflict with me. But I think it’s relatable because we all have some kind of inner conflict going on — who we are versus who we present ourselves to be. There’s a lot to be discovered.”

Next: Star Trek: Discovery producers explain the show’s delays.

On Monday, CBS announced Star Trek: Discovery will debut Sunday, Sept. 24 (first on CBS, then shifting to CBS All Access streaming service). EW has more scoop to come, follow @jameshibberd for more.

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