WHO IS NUM­BER ONE?

Sonequa Martin-Green plays First Of­fi­cer Michael Burn­ham

SFX - - Star trek: discovery -

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.

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