7 Reasons We Have A Giant Crush On Star Trek: Discovery’s First Officer

Returning 2020

We’ve been waiting a long time for Star Trek: Discovery to finally premiere, but now that we’re just weeks away from the Sept. 24 debut on Space our excitement for the pending episodes is positively bubbling over. Especially thanks to the captivating leading lady splashed across all of the promos, trailers, and posters, Sonequa Martin-Green.

As First Officer Michael Burnham, Martin-Green impressed producers so much that they put the entire show on hold in order to wait for her availability to open up. And while we can only base our opinions on the few short snippets we’ve seen so far, we have to say we understand why. Not only does this actress seem to embrace all of the traits we know and love about the Star Trek leads of the past, she’s adding her own special flair to boot.

Ahead of premiere, here are just a few reasons why we’re crushing on this incoming Starfleet officer.


1. She has a proven track record of kicking ass and taking names

If Martin-Green looks familiar that’s probably because she’s hot off another huge franchise, a.k.a. The Walking Dead. There she played fan favourite Sasha Williams for five years until the character went down in a blaze of glory in the seventh season finale. While we don’t want to spoil Sasha’s ultimate ending for those waiting to catch up, let’s just say she wrapped her life on her own terms and went out kicking and screaming. It was a fitting finish for a character played with gusto and guts, and one that the actress gave multiple layers to. If she brings that kind of complexity to Commander Michael Burnham then we’ll all in for a ride.


2. She brings more physicality than previous leads

Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Mulgrew and Archer were all fine captains in their own rights, but their purposes trended more towards diplomacy and leadership. While some were bound to the ships they served (ahem, Sisko), others relied on their sharp tongues and the occasional phaser to get themselves out of tricky situations. From the promos we’ve seen Burnham will be different, and will have to rely on her physicality to save herself from some pretty hairy situations indeed. That’s just one of the perks of making your lead a First Officer rather than a Captain, we suppose.


3. She also happens to be the show’s first black female lead

In the franchise’s history there has only been one female captain, and one black captain. This is slightly surprising given the show’s strong history of diversity and inclusion, but it also makes sense if you look at historical networks and their broadcast expectations. Today, the TV landscape is much different than it used to be, which is why a black female lead isn’t just welcome, it’s overdue.


4. She pairs well with Discovery’s other female lead

While we’re on the subject of diversity, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that the show’s actual captain, Georgiou, is played by Asian actress Michelle Yeoh. From the trailers we know that Burnham has served under Georgiou for at least seven years, and that the pair share an interesting dynamic that we don’t often get to see on television. Sure, we’re getting better with female relationships and mentorships, but you can bet that these two won’t just be chatting about boys. Not when there’s an entire world in space to save from war, at any rate.


5. She has interesting familial connections

So Burnham isn’t a captain, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t led a pretty interesting life leading up to the moment when we first meet her. Both of the character’s parents died when she was younger, leading her to be fostered by a Vulcan named Sarek (played in the series by James Frain). If that name sounds familiar to you it should: Sarek was Spock’s father, which means the odds are that Burnham should be quite intimate with her foster brother. Or at least, as intimate as a human can be with a Vulcan family member.


6. She’s got the range to play a human invoking Vulcan traits

Speaking of those Vulcan connections, we love the way Martin-Green is already invoking some of those mannerisms in the trailers we’ve seen. Not only does she stand at attention the way we remember Leonard Nimoy standing as Spock, but her vocabulary and choice of words seem to emulate that character as well. And sure, emotion will come into it (Burnham is human, after all), but she’s able to play an interesting mix of composure and passion that we may have never seen in a character like this before.


7. She’s not your traditional “good guy”

Thanks to characters like Walter White and Don Draper, the definition of a TV hero has certainly changed. But when you think about it, flawed female leads are a bit harder to come by. Usually the challenges faced by those types of characters are about trying to “do it all,” a tired female cliché. We’d like to think that Burnham is more like a Dutch from Killjoys, and while she tries to do the right thing she messes up now and again too. In fact it appears from the promos that Burnham may actually be responsible for the major war that we come into with this series, but she’ll be damned if she doesn’t try to fix it in her own unique way.

We can hardly wait.