In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Sonequa Martin-Green, showrunner Michelle Paradise and executive producer Olatunde Osunsamni spoke about the character of Michael Burnham.
Martin-Green said that she knew from the very beginning that Burnham would become captain. “I actually knew going in,” she said. “I didn’t know when exactly that was going to happen when we started, but I knew that I was going to earn it — as Burnham — and I was excited to come from that angle where you get to see someone sort of slip and trip and fall forward and learn, and grow, and all that good stuff and see what it took to get the chair. I knew that, that’s what the story was going to be about.”
Keeping that secret meant hearing criticism from fans who wanted her to be captain and wondering why it hadn’t happened. “People have been a little disagreeable about it over the years and been like, ‘Why aren’t you captain?’ and it’s like, ‘You know, it’s compelling storytelling and say that hopefully one day it’ll happen’ but yeah, keeping it close to the chest …’like little do you know!'”
Martin-Green was asked how it felt to be the first Black female captain on Star Trek. “So the fact that I get to champion this kind of diversity and be solidified in the legacy of the franchise as a Black woman, it means what it means to each person who takes it into their hearts,” she said. “And so the impact is exponential because one person is affected one way and another person is affected another way. But the fact that we’ll get a Black woman doing this franchise that has been huge in our society for decades, I’m just so proud to be at the heart of it. I want to give it justice and give my all because of that. And I just so appreciate that I can even contribute in this way, however small or big it may be. And I’m excited for the continued growth.”
Paradise told fans about prepping for a new season and what went through the minds of those writing and creating Star Trek: Discovery. “We have these questions about what are the awesome things in canon that we haven’t touched on yet or where are the opportunities like this season with the Guardian of Forever,” she said. “It’s really having sixty years of history is actually…it’s so much fun to be able to bring in some of these things.”
The full video can be seen at the Hollywood Reporter.