Sonequa Martin-Green on 'Star Trek: Discovery' breaking new ground, how she deals with the fandom for the franchise, and more

The actor, who became the first black female lead in a 'Star' Trek series, is also part of 'Space Jam 2' with LeBron James

Earlier known for her role as Sasha on The Walking Dead, life changed dramatically for Sonequa Martin-Green in 2017 when she was cast as the first black female lead in a Star Trek series. Headlining Star Trek: Discovery as Michael Burnham, Sonequa has since endeared to millions of fans across the world with her interpretation of the coveted role, as well as the show that has broken new ground constantly.

2020 promises to be a big year for the actor, as apart from her television role, she also starts filming for the much-anticipated sequel to Space Jam, the live-action animation film, in which she will share screen space with LeBron James and Don Cheadle.

Two seasons into Discovery and preparing for the next, Sonequa is fully aware now of not just the responsibilities that come with being part of an iconic franchise like Star Trek, but also the impact it has had on her career.

“Yes, from the beginning, the creators have always been really progressive, ensuring that the series focussed on diversity and constant innovation. Every Star Trek has had that concept at its core, as we are obviously catering to a massive fan base. There’s so much respect I have for the writers and directors, as they want the show to reflect society, as well as use the potential of the franchise in the right manner,” she begins.

Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham

Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham   | Photo Credit: 2020 CBS STUDIOS INTL

Discovery has become more complex as the show has progressed in terms of sci-fi references on the show, technical plot points and so on. With an ardent following that will not forgive the slightest of logical loopholes or discrepancies, actors have to be on point with their understanding of the storylines, however intricate they may be — something that Sonequa acknowledges ardently: “Be it quantum physics or wormholes or time crystals, I’m always doing my research to satisfy my curiosity. It’s important for me, as an actor, to have at least an idea of everything my character knows and talks about on the show. This essentially means that I’m Googling all these terms and concepts on the Internet when we get our scripts, until the time when I can’t process anything more!” (laughs)

While the response to the first two seasons have been largely positive, it goes without saying that there will always be the ‘purists’ who criticise some part of the enterprise... how does she deal with that?

“We were clear from the beginning that our show was going to keep the legacy of Star Trek alight, but definitely have its own clear identity. Fans have strong opinions purely because of their love for the franchise, and their feedback comes from a place of pure passion as they hold it so close to their hearts. We want them to keep feeling this way, and we take it all in our stride. But at the same time, we have understood that while it may be difficult to accept, the right changes are accepted wholeheartedly,” she quips.

One of the funniest and weirdest moments on the show happened with Sonequa’s real-life husband (Kenric Green) played her father! Looking back at the moment, the actor laughs, “It was actually such a hoot for both of us! Even though he was on the show only for a little bit, now I can always say that my husband is my dad (laughs). When the opportunity came our way, we loved it and didn’t have to think twice about going ahead with it.”

With production of the next Star Trek: Discovery season underway, Sonequa, who can’t reveal much about where her character is headed towards, signs off saying that she’s always “trying to find a balance” and responds to a last query on if she is aware of Discovery’s fandom in India.

“We love India! The culture, the fans, the ideology of the viewers is something I’m absolutely fascinated by. It’d be my dream to visit someday,” she concludes.

Watch Star Trek: Discovery, part of the ‘Greatest Of All Time’ series, weeknights at 10 pm, on Zee Café

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 3:10:59 PM |

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