The return of CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery was met with much fanfare and acclaim last week at the red carpet premiere.
In episode 1, audiences saw the introduction of a new Captain, Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), who takes over the crew of the USS Discovery as they take over the mission of the USS Enterprise, which was damaged while investigating seven mysterious signals.
As the mission begins, fans caught their first glimpse of a flashback of Spock (played by Ethan Peck), as Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) makes a trip to investigate her foster brother’s quarters on the damaged Enterprise. With episode 2 “New Eden” set to be released tonight, we caught up with Martin-Green to discuss the show, how her character has grown and what fans can expect in Season 2. You can check out a quick clip from Season 2 above.
RM: The Star Trek fan base has always been a passionate one. What has it been like for you to engage with those fans for the past year?
SMG: I absolutely love engaging with Trek fans. I say this a lot and it’s so true, it is such a highly intellectual passionate crowd. I love the passion and the loyalty because you see people who have had this be a part of their lives for generations. They can talk about how they watched it with their parents and their grandparents and now they can share it with their children.
So, you can see it going down family lines. It makes for invigorating encounters and I really appreciate it because I consider us all to be extended Trek family. It’s really lovely to me to sort of “geek out” with everyone because our entire company is just as excited just as passionate and we are on cloud nine.
RM: What experiences from your past do you draw upon in playing Commander Michael Burnham because you haven’t had the chance to play this type of character before?
SMG: I have not. I actually don’t pull from my own life when I work. The way I like to work as an actor is strictly from imagination. I like to just use the parameters that have been provided to me by the writers and just try to really create within that. I would say though, I spent my entire life preparing for this moment. So many experiences in my childhood and adolescence and young adulthood prepared me for just this experience.
RM: In working with the writers and creators of the show, what excites you the most about your character’s development so far?
SMG: From the very beginning I was very excited at how multi-layered the character is. There are so many things that are relatable about this woman. First of all, the fact that I am a black woman who happens to be a genius and who has succeeded in a completely different culture and excelled above her Vulcan peers. She had to sort of assimilate culturally and overcompensate. Also, having to sort of find her way in her role in the Star Fleet.
Having someone who is so intelligent, so tenacious, career-oriented and at the same time wounded. She is full of traumatic experiences from her past. I was so excited to play a character like that because it is very fulfilling as an actor to play someone who has a troubled past because so many people can relate to that. A big part of the calling of being a story teller is to take on that pain that so many people feel. I love that. I love that there is pain there, that there is vulnerability there but also such true strength, grit and selflessness. That is very exciting to me to be playing Michael Burnham and be on this journey of restoration, absolution and self discovery.
RM: With that in mind, as fans get ready for Episode 2 and the rest of Season 2, what should they expect?
SMG: Pretty much everyone of this ship, Discovery, is on a mission of restoration at this point. The Klingon war is over and now there is peace. So, now there is time to slow down, take a deep breath and maybe even a sigh of relief. We get the chance to dig into ourselves, dig into each other and really figure out who we are now and how we move forward.
That is what you’re going to see in Season 2 as we explore the dynamics between faith and science, logic and emotion. That also has to do with the introduction of Spock in exploring the family dynamic. There are some theories out there about there being a sexual relationship between Spock and Michael because we saw in the first episode of Season 2 that they are estranged and have been for years. However, that is definitely a no, I’m here to squash that for sure this morning. It is very much a familial relationship.
We’re going to explore what’s inside of the soul, and exploration of the soul so it’s a very exciting season. We’re all so very proud of it.
You can watch Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All-Access with a new episode dropping each Thursday.