STAR TREK: DISCOVERY casts its lead in Walking Dead's Sonequa Martin-Green; further cast details revealed

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Star Trek: Discovery may have lost its original showrunner in Bryan Fuller, but it’s finally gained its star. EW is reporting that after an extensive search, Walking Dead actress Sonequa Martin-Green has been cast to play the upcoming TV series’ lead. Green became known to genre audiences playing the tough Sasha Williams on the hit AMC zombie drama for the last four seasons. Star Trek: Discovery will see her switching gears slightly to play the Lieutenant Commander on the titular USS Discovery starship. This is the first time that the lead of a Star Trek TV series will in fact not be the captain of the ship and the first time the lead will be a black woman.

Joining Sonequa in the crew of the Discovery will be fan-favourite genre actor Doug Jones (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy) and Broadway veteran Anthony Rapp (Rent) as Lieutenants Saru and Stamets respectively. Jones’ Saru will be “a Starfleet Science Officer and a new alien species in the Star Trek universe”, while Rapp’s Stamets, who has already made headlines as the franchise’s first openly gay character, is “an “astromycologist,” fungus expert, and Starfleet Science Officer”. Also cast in the show will be Asian superstar Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Tomorrow Never Dies) as Captain Georgiou, the commander of another Starfleet starship.

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Discovery is set to be the long-running Star Trek franchise’s much anticipated return to the TV format for the first time in more than a decade after the cancellation of the short lived prequel series Enterprise. It will not be related to the current Star Trek movies, which is set in the alternate timeline (known as the “Kelvin Timeline”) kicked off by JJ Abrams’ 2009 feature film reboot with Chris Pine as a young Captain Kirk. Instead, Discovery is set in the classic timeline, and takes place roughly a decade before the original 1960’s Star Trek TV series saw Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise set off on their five-year journey into space. This is roughly a century after Earth first made contact with the Klingons (as shown in Enterprise), with the current political climate seeing the two people engaged in a tense cold war.

Fittingly, EW also reveals that three new additions have been made to the cast, all playing Klingons. Roots actor Chris Obi will play T’Kuvma, “a leader seeking to unite the Klingon houses”, while Shazad Latif, who played Dr. Jekyll in the final season of Penny Dreadful, will play “Kol, a Klingon Commanding Officer, and protege of T’Kuvma”. Rounding out the trio of Klingons will be 6-foot tall newcomer Mary Chieffo as L’Rell, “the Battle Deck Commander of a Klingon ship”.

Star Trek: Discovery is set to premiere in May 2017, and will air exclusively on CBS’s new streaming service in the US and Canada. For the rest of the world though – in other words, us – it will be available on Netflix along with all other Star Trek series.

Last Updated: December 15, 2016

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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