New 'Star Trek' Series Makes History With First Ever Black Female Lead
Sonequa Martin-Green has been cast in the lead role for the forthcoming Star Trek: Discovery series, which marks the first time in the history of the Star Trek canon that a black woman has held such a position.
Instead of being a captain (as is usually the case in the Star Trek franchise) The Walking Dead actress will serve as a lieutenant commander on the series, according to a report from Entertainment Weekly. However, not much else is known about Martin-Green’s character, including her name.
“Star Trek started with a wonderful expression of diversity in its cast. We’re continuing that tradition,” Bryan Fuller, the show’s former showrunner and executive producer, said at the Television Critics Association Summer Tour. “We wanted to paint a picture of Starlet that’s indicative of encountering people who are much more different than we are.”
According to Fuller the decision to cast a nonwhite woman in the lead role was inspired by Mae Jamison (the first black female astronaut), as well as Nichelle Nichols, the only recurring black and female cast member from the initial Star Trek series.
Fuller also added that the change in the lead role’s description adds to the evolution of the upcoming series, providing a different perspective not seen in the franchise’s predecessors.
“We’ve seen six series from the captain’s point of view,” Fuller said. “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.”
Martin-Green’s role on the series adds her to a list of other Black Star Trek actors from the past such as LeVar Burton and the late Don Marshall (who passed away back in October of this year).
Aside form having its first lead role done by a black woman, Star Trek: Discovery will also have the TV franchise’s first openly gay character, a lieutenant played by Anthony Rapp. CBS will be premiering the series in May on its All Access streaming service.