‘Star Trek: Discovery’s Sonequa Martin-Green on the Crew’s Jump to the Future
In its third season, Star Trek: Discovery really does boldly go where no person has gone before.
“We jump 930 years to 3188 to save all sentient life,” says Sonequa Martin-Green, who plays Cdr. Michael Burnham. That’s 114 years later than any other Trek traveler has ventured. “We’ll find out how civilizations have evolved,” she continues.
The first we see of Burnham, she’s hurtling solo through a wormhole in a time travel suit, followed by the USS Discovery. The Starfleet heroes are on a one-way trip after jettisoning their 23rd-century lives and loved ones — goodbye, Spock! Their mission: Take the dangerous “Sphere Data” they saved from a genocidal AI far enough away that it can’t be located and used by other villains. To keep the new hiding place an eternal secret, Starfleet ordered the existence of the Discovery ship and crew erased from historical memory.
After Burnham crash-lands on an unknown planet in the 32nd century, she detects multiple signs of life, but the ship is nowhere to be seen. As she desperately searches for her crew, she quickly finds herself in a precarious situation with the first local she meets, Cleveland “Book” Booker (David Ajala, Supergirl). Book is an audacious hustler whose job is to obtain stuff, often stolen, for all kinds of traders in a huge marketplace.
Though their first meeting is less than cordial — more of an MMA fight than a handshake — he becomes her guide to this often dangerous future…and perhaps more. As Ajala coyly revealed at a recent Star Trek Day panel, “Book and Michael bring out something special in each other.”
Book also delivers the shocking news that, in this era, the once powerful United Federation of Planets is “a ghost” of what it was, diminished by a cataclysmic event known as the Burn. “That’s this season’s big mystery,” executive producer Michelle Paradise says. “What was the Burn and how did it impact this new future, specifically the Federation?” When Burnham eventually reunites with her crew, their mission turns to facing whatever power-hungry group stepped in to fill the void and making the Federation great again.
As the crew, including Cdr. Saru (Doug Jones) and Ensign Tilly (Mary Wiseman), try to adjust to their rebooted lives, “they each go through a metamorphosis,” says Martin-Green. “There’s societal change that was not expected, and they latch onto each other because that’s all they have here.” That and their now antique spacecraft. “We’ll definitely have Discovery in space doing awesome jumps in warp speed and all that good stuff,” Paradise promises.
“In this place where people are struggling, having lived in a time when the Federation was strong, the crew will become invaluable,” she adds. “They will bring hope for a different future.” That’s an uplifting message that Star Trek will always deliver, no matter the year.
Star Trek: Discovery, Season 3 Premiere, Thursday, October 15, CBS All Access