WHO IS NUMBER ONE?
Sonequa Martin-Green plays First Officer Michael Burnham
Why Michael? Is this an “A Boy Named Sue” thing?!
It’s not! Bryan Fuller typically has his female leads have male names. I was so happy they decided to go with it, because I think so many things are being touched on. It’s the power of androgyny that we find in the future – a lot of aspects of society have been ameliorated by embracing androgyny. What I created was that Michael was named after her father, which is something you don’t see very often. that’s also an interesting dynamic that we’re exploring.
Burnham was brought up on Vulcan. How has that informed her personality?
I’m the only human to have not just attended the Vulcan Science Academy, but excelled. I think that speaks to Burnham’s level of intelligence. Burnham is highly disciplined, highly principled, and the Vulcan/human dichotomy that lives within me is so emblematic of my personality. But there are also the principles of the Federation that I dearly hold on to, and have used to define myself by. So this is a woman who is by the book… and who’s not only by the book, but makes sure to press forward the ideas of the book.
What big themes does Discovery address?
every iteration of Star trek has been about cross-culturalism, essentially. But in this one, it’s being explored in a new way. We’re seeing the macro within the micro. We see how we’re interacting with the alien species and cultures that we come across, and ask what are the basic fundamentals we need to be living by when we come across these beings every bit as valuable as we are. But we deal with it internally as well. you see us embracing – and not embracing – ourselves and each other, within Starfleet. It’s like: understanding those outside of you can only happen once you understand yourself. that’s something I think speaks to us today – especially with our socio-political climate right now.