Sonequa Martin-Green Confirmed As First Officer Michael Burnham in “Star Trek: Discovery” [UPDATED]

This morning CBS finally ‘officially’ confirmed Sonequa Martin-Green as a member of the cast of Star Trek: Discovery. Her casting as the lead in the series hasn’t exactly been a secret as it was reported by numerous outlets and industry trades in mid-December. It appears that unlike with the many other official Discovery cast announcements, Martin-Green’s was held back. Presumably this delay was to wait until after AMC broadcast the seventh season finale of The Walking Dead, which aired last night.

Michael is her name

One thing that those December reports did get wrong was the character’s name being “Rainsford.” This morning’s official announcement and social media posts revealed her character’s name is actually “Michael Burnham.”

The TrekMovie staff would like to point out that Michael is a female first name, and we have confirmed with CBS that Michael Burnham is, and always has been, the name of Martin-Green’s character. Further, Discovery writer Bo Yeon Kim confirmed the the name of Martin-Green’s character on Twitter.

Today’s announcement did not confirm Burnham’s rank, just that she held the position of first officer. Last August former showrunner Bryan Fuller revealed that the series lead would hold the rank of Lieutenant Commander (with caveats) and be referred to as “Number One.” Although, it is possible character’s rank could have changed since Fuller’s departure.

UPDATE: Andrew Lincoln Wants In

After the official confirmation this morning, Variety reported that Sonequa’s Walking Dead co-star Andrew Lincoln wants to follow her to the 23rd century for a cameo. The actor is quoted saying:  

“She’s an incredible personality with incredible grace and strength and tenacity,” Lincoln told Variety. “She’s a very impressive woman. She will be leading that starship with the same class and fortitude. That is going to be one happy spaceship. I’d love to beam myself up at some point in some kind of Greg Nicotero special effects makeup.” When pressed if he would actually don some alien makeup and appear on the show, Lincoln said with a laugh, “No spoilers.”

Andrew Lincoln and Sonequa Martin-Green in The Walking Dead

Speaking of The Walking Dead, Sonequa was a guest last night on AMC’s companion show Taking Dead, where she gave Star Trek a shout out and flashed the Vulcan salute.

Martin-Green Makes Her Next Destination Well-known During Last Night’s “Talking Dead.”

ICYMI: Sonequa and the Discovery group photo

While CBS is just getting around to acknowledging it, Martin-Green has been working on Discovery for quite some time. She was even spotted in Toronto among her Discovery cast mates. A couple of weeks ago Chris Obi (T’Kuvma) posted a photo to his Instagram account of some of the Discovery cast out to dinner celebrating the birthday of James Frain (Sarek).

Discovery’s Cast Celebrating James Frain’s Birthday: (R-L): Jason Isaacs, Michelle Yeoh, Chris Obi, Sonequa Martin-Green and her husband Kenric, Doug Jones, James Frain, Shazad Latif

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at

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Wait, this hadn’t been announced yet?

Not officially. Since oftentimes shows try to wait for another show’s story to play out, out of respect

Will her name be pronounced MISH-elle? Seems like a weird first name for a Star Trek character, but who knows? I liked her previous name better, I think, unless the pronunciation is something unique.

I was thinking the same thing, it’ll sound like a variation of Michelle

Before people freak out, there’s a couple female actors with “Michael” as their first names, Michael Michelle and Michael Learned. And those are just off the top of my head.

Someone else pointed out that Bryan Fuller shows often have female characters which typically male sounding names or nicknames. Charlotte/Chuck on “Pushing Daisies” for example

I’d say overreaction but first thought is why can’t a woman have a feminine sounding name on a starship? Then again we had “Katherine” I guess as a Captain. Also I am clearly a hypocrite on that issue since I’d prefer it was actually just “Number One” as in the same person from the Cage. LOL

Katherine Janeway, Deanna Troi, Kira Nerys, Natasha Yar, Beverly Crusher, I think the real question you should ask is “why can’t a female officer on Star Trek have a masculine name?”

Why would anyone care one way or another. People get too wrapped up in feminism, masculinity, fairness in everything ever and blah blah.

I don’t care if the characters first name is fartmuffin. A name doesn’t make up a character. Their actions do.

Please let’s start an internet campaign to name a Trek character “Ensign Fartmuffin.”


“Nerys” is a feminine-sounding given name? :)

The River Temarc,

Re: Nerys

Isn’t it a rhyme with Ferris?

Before Katheine, we almost had Elizabeth.

It was Captain Kathryn Janeway, actually.

“A couple…” In other words, a very rarely used name for a female, therefore strangely received by viewers.

Love the name.

Michael is a female name in the USA? I only know it as a name for males, where I live. The female version of the name is Michaela here. I suspect it might be so in a number of other countries, too, that Michael is only a males name. Wikipedia seems to confirm that:

“Michael (and its variants) is one of the most common given names for men in the world.”
“Variants of Michael rank among the most popular masculine names in multiple countries.”

So in my opinion it is a weird name choice for the female lead character. They are selling the series world wide after all. Even in the USA it seems that it is mostly used as a name for males.

Has it been announced that the character is American?

No, but I mentioned the USA, because the series is a US series and the producers/writers seem to be from there, too. So I wonder, why the use of Michael, when it is even in the USA rarely used for females.

Feminizing a root name is an import to English from the Romance languages which identifies most nouns, including proper names, as having either a predominantly feminine or masculine quality whether it makes sense or not. For example, computer is computadora in Spanish.

Its definitely odd. Those saying it isnt are simply wrong.


It may be as odd to some as women having the right to vote was to others in the past, but the Women’s Movement has long been fighting the needless sprinkling of feminine suffixes in the English language for decades. It wouldn’t really surprise me if in this well-documented wage disparity age that some parents might believe applying the practice to proper names by removing what often is regarded as a “diminutive” suffix, might give daughters an more equitable economic edge. And the suffixes can always be trotted out for the more intimate less formal non-professionally molded nicknames largely used by friends and family for the most part anyway.

Here’s Learned’s experience:

“I wasn’t crazy about it as a kid. Children accepted my name, my friends did, but adults didn’t believe me when I would tell them my name.

They’d say, ‘What’s your real name?’ And I’d say, ‘Michael.’ And they’d say, ‘C’mon, are you SURE it’s not Michelle?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Are you sure it’s not MICKEY?’ And that would make me feel fraudulent. I used to lie and say, ‘My name is Betty.’ I had an initial ring that had belonged to my father when he was a boy and I would hold it up – it had aB on it, his name was Bruce – and say, ‘My name is BETTY.’ There’s no story behind my name. I am the oldest of six girls. I just jokingly say, a few martinis and they (my parents) probably thought it was cute. There are other Michaels around now. I had a friend named Bam, that was her name and her sister’s name was Peter, and I remember feeling very comforted by that. It was no great hardship.” — Michael Learned

Im not sure I see the comparison between people thinking woman having the right to vote being odd at that time and people thinking “Michael” for a woman is odd today. That’s a reach. Your point being, I assume, that in 200 years Michael might be a very common female name. Sure, maybe. Perhaps Snuffles will be a common name too, I dont know.

Im not saying it’s bad. Im not making a judgement about some nefarious effort on the part of the creative staff. But the fact we’re all talking about it is proof it’s an “odd” name for a woman in 2017.

I’ve never a girl named Michael. I’ve never met a girl named Snuffles either and if I did I’d think it was unusual and uncommon.

Michael for a girl is odd. It just is.

I remember meeting a girl named Cory many years ago. I had never heard of Cory for a girl. But I liked it. Skylar became very popular for both boys and girls.

If the male Captain was named Joan, we’d think it was odd. Doesnt mean its bad. It is what it is.


I’m likewise not sure what significance is your focus about it being odd to your native English speaking ears?

There are all sorts of names the world over for both men and women that sound odd to English speakers. I mean Chinese names outnumber us. Likely because my living family roots spoke other languages, I got over the fact, like Learned’s childhood peers, that people have unique names outside of the mundane English conventions. And I knew of Learned because in my late teens THE WALTONS was extremely popular and our family watched it religiously.

When I first heard Beyonce, Sonequa and Jaleel, I found them unique and I suppose you would say odd. Now people are naming their pets and daughters Beyonce.

Fictional characters’ names are often even more unique. I believe likely influenced by trademark concerns as common words can’t be trademarked and trademarks in the US can be lost if their use as an English language word becomes too commonly adopted by speakers. Even with all his popularity, I’ve NEVER met anyone or their pet named Sherlock.

I mentioned the oddness of the Women’s Vote as an example of adapting to changing conventions and to segue into the Women’s Movement which has long campaigned to eliminate feminized words such as stewardess, hostess, actress, spokeswoman etc. believing it serves no purpose but to segregate and discriminate against women’s equality to men. Growing up with feminists, it is just not that big of a leap for me that they’d hold Michaela or Michelle in similar regards, especially given Michael was originally the name of an asexual non-human entity.

I also suppose coming from now old immigrant stock that I’ve never been happy with the tremendous pressure, starting with US Immigration Office personnel, back then, and to some extent even now, to “Americanize” immigrants’ names, in general, so that they didn’t sound so “odd.”

Come on, lets not argue over something so silly. Are you really trying to make the point that “Michael” for a woman is a common name? Im not sure where you are, but Im in North America, where Star Trek is produced and where, I assume, the bulk of the audience will come from. Michael for a woman is not common.

Im on the side of “it doesnt matter” but it is TRUE that it is not common. Hence why everyone is discussing it.

If the male Captain was named Mary would you not think it was odd? I guarantee when you read that her name was Michael, you thought “hmm”, yu didnt just take it in as if her name was Michelle. It IS unusual. Thats all. Its okay to admit it.


I’m not trying to argue. You have simply lost me on as to why its lack of commonness in 21st century English seems to be so overwhelmingly of Paramount [ sic ;-)] concern as to possibly indicating some quality of the show more than the oddness to English ears of Spock, Sarek, T’Pol, Garek, Quark, etc.?

On the one hand you keep saying it isn’t a big deal, but on the other you seem to be trying to say something is important about it being odd in English.

I have provided you with a plausible avenue as for why the now rare, but not unheard of, female name, Michael, in the 23rd century, might be on the way to being as common as flight attendant is a noun, now, as opposed to when stewardess was more common back when the first series was premiering on NBC.

On its surface its unusual. That is apparent by how many people have commented on it. Just as if the male Captain had a “female” name. Its perfectly fine to have that name…but its still unusual. How unusual is open to debate and whether there is an in-universe reason or not.

To me, I sort of thought of the fact they are proud of featuring as their lead a black female…and then gave her a “male” name. Sure, there are women named Michael. Its just unusual. It might be hardly unusual to you…but its still a degree of unusual.


I can honestly tell you that unlike when I was quite young and parsing out English conventions and learned John Wayne’s real name was Marion (identical in spelling to the first name of one of my female aquaintences) Michael Morrison and found that odd, that I did not find Michael as odd as that, because my generation’s flower children, et al simply came up with so many “unique” new names for themselves and their offspring (River, Moon, Summer, August, Ali (for a man), etc.) that Michael was more in the more “conventional” sounding names category, i.e. less odd, for a woman by the time that I discovered and became taken with the actress Michael Learned.

Don’t give a toss about the name as long as the character is well developed and the stories good & true to Trek.

Get your logical arguments out of hear! That makes too much sense for a fanboy discussion!!!

or is that fan’girl’ ha.

Sooks will always sook especially when it comes to Star Trek, something I will never understand. Never heard the name used as a female name here in Australia but really, does it matter? I don’t care and I am not sure why others are so much. Looking forward to this show big time.

John Wayne’s real name was Marion. Shelley is a man’s name and a woman’s name. There are lots of crossover names out there in the world. There was a woman called “Pete” on Parenthood. Maybe the whole point is that we are going beyond tradition and norms and it’s FINE. It’s Star Trek. It’s supposed to push the boundaries a little.

Yeah its not a big deal but it is odd. Like, hey feminism is great and we have a black female lead! Oh and she has a man’s name. (And yes, Michael is predominantly a man’s name).

If the male Captain was named Marion we’d think it was odd too.

Nah, Michael is okay. Highly uncommon, but okay. Many female names end in -ael.

Burnham and Rainsford, though… what’s up with those weird, generic, vaguely British-sounding surnames? Ran out of interesting name ideas before the show ever started?

I agree. I made the point that most of the character names suck. Nothing cool or memorable about them. Ship full of average joes.

Kirk is cool. Strength there. Picard…well I remember “Jean-Luc” being criticized but Picard was still a strong name. Sisco…strong name, cool. Janeway, meh. But Chakotay was cool, Paris was cool.

Discovery names are lacking. Very generic so far.

I find the discussion of “strong” and “weak” names so laughable. You sound like a fool.

its really just that you don’t like them, let’s face it. Nothing wrong with this girls surname, sounds pretty tough if you ask me. “Burn ’em!”

@Torchwood – its not that my point is foolish. its that it went over your head. You stating as such makes you look pretty silly. We’ll try to dumb down the discourse for you in the future.

No your point is foolish and you continue to prove yourself a fool with every post on this site.

@Torchwood – your post above actually reinforces my standing here and diminishes your own. Im sorry many of my posts go over your head. Im not sure I can dumb them down enough for you. Ill provide you some free advice though – if you have a different opinion, feel free to state it in a reasonable and thoughtful manner. When you resort to petty insults, it only serves to undermine your own position.

Go on now, give it a try!

This from someone called “TUP.” Not exactly an expert on what makes a good or bad name.

@Landru – HA! Good one.

“TUP” isnt my name “Landru”. Sorry that went over your head. “TUP” is short for The Unknown Poster which I used here originally but it was burdensome to type out so I shortened it (for this and other sites I post on).

I will say I preferred “Rainsford” because it was more distinctive, and also “Han Bo” over “Georgiou.”

Maybe her ancestors were terrible at cooking meat.

Michael? Michael?!

*finds inner Mad Dog Tannen*

“What kind of stupid name is that?”

Michael isnt a unisex name. It has variations which should be considered but next we’re going to get a guy named Jennifer.

Yes, it IS a unisex name. Your ignorance of that fact changes nothing.

Michael is NOT a unisex name. My dad’s name is Michael – I’ve never in my entire life heard of a woman named Michael. The name choice is absurd, I guess they want to bury this show before it even begins.

Google Micheal Michelle. It is unisex. You didn’t know that but now you do.

Just because some idiot parents got it wrong one time doesn’t make it unisex.

“Andrea” and “Simone” are male Italian names. In German these names are FEMALE. In Germany there are living male Italians named “Andrea” or “Simone”. Nobody cares about it.
Also “Maria”, which is a common female name, is used as a second MALE name… “Rainer Maria Rilke”.
How absurd to be upset just because a name in a fictional tv-show and think to call it quits for that reason.

But we’re talking about names in English. And I don’t think that’s a bad basis for having doubts about the show, if they got something this fundamental wrong this whole thing could end up being worse than casting Scott Bakula as anything other than a shelf.


Aren’t you getting it fundamentally wrong when you assert Michael is a name fundamental to English when in fact it is an Anglicization of a Hebraic name, Mikhael, which is gender neutral as the Hebrew scripture DANIEL, written in Aramaic, clearly identifies its origin as angelic?

No I’m not, my point is we are talking about a modern English name. It’s origins are irrelevant, in current usage it’s a male name.
Also, fairy stories are no basis for any argument.


Re: fairy stories are no basis for any argument

So in your experience no Modern human gives their child a name based solely on the name of a favorite fictional character or word for that matter?

Re: talking about a modern English name

No we are NOT. It very clearly is an ancient name and we are discussing its usage in the 23rd century to be, where its contemporary usage would be as ancient and irrelevant as the ancient origins and use that you seek to disregard.

Jennifer, as in Jennifer JASON Leigh?

It’s obvious that Michael Burnham will be Trek’s first transgender character.

lol that would be something. Its probably more that someone (maybe Fuller) is too clever for their own good.

If that’s true than Star Trek Discovery should explain how mental disorders turn people Transgender. Star Trek is about Science and I’m sick of this society turning away from it. Turning away from the truth.

Too much truthiness in that statement for these folks to handle.

I can see your critical , Sir ?!

JohnR should explain how his mental disorder made him into a bigot.

Well, identifying as transgender has nothing to do with having a ‘mental disorder.’ And mental disorders don’t ‘turn’ someone transgender. I mean come on, how exactly would that happen? I know this because I do actual science in the area of clinical psychology and the science you seem to love so much is very clear about this. There is absolutely nothing pathological, harmful, or dysfunctional about expressing and identifying one’s gender in whatever way a given person feels fits one’s identify.

Sure there is a disorder in the DSM related to gender identify, but that issue is multifaceted and complex and controversial. Still, as much as I am bothered by the diagnosis, the diagnostic criteria clearly states that so-called ‘gender dysphoria’ is not, in and of itself, a disorder.

Really, the distress and impairment experienced by individuals identifying as trans comes from social stigma and non-acceptance.

Star Trek’s always been about progress and tolerance, and the notion that “truth” is in the eye of the beholder. There is no “truth” to your transgenderphobic statement other than it reveals your backward attitude to genderism.
Star Trek needs to oppose that sort of anti-liberal, reactionary attitude by all means necessary. That’s why I’m glad Stamets is gay and that’s why I hope Michael Burnham is transgender. Nuff said!

I cant say I care too much either way about the name but I DO think its a bit unusual that a character that is being pushed as a “female lead” is given a name that is VERY prominently considered a male name. Perhaps that factors into the show in some way.

Here you go:

Diversity is not a bad thing but in the end, people’s wallets will decide whether or not DSC is too PC/Extreme-Left/SJW-friendly

Boo, NEED MORE WHITE PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Its Star Trek, diversity is in its genes.

That’s racist.


There is a HUGE difference between turning well-estiblished, previously white comic book charcters black, female or gay and introducing all-new characters as black, gay, transgender or xenophile… I’m glad Trek doesn’t have to burden of comic book lore… Michael Burnham is an all-new character, Thor is not…

If people don’t want diversity to not be a big deal, then stop making a big deal. The weird reactions to an actor, who’s not a straight white dude gaining a lead role is actually what makes the case for one reason why it’s necessary.

BTW, I’m with Ava Duvernay on this. I hate the word diversity too. It’s just reflecting everyone instead of just expecting one slim segment to reflect everyone.

“Diversity” is just a buzzword. Whether people are all white men (as in the fanastic classic 12 Angry Men who WERE diverse in opinion and life experience) or a mixed bag of every conceivable physical configuration (our beloved TOS Star Trek). NEITHER affects the actual quality. I would say the “draw” too, but that’s proving more and more to be not true… Just in necessarily not the way OP asserts.

A lot of white-washed movies have been flopping lately (Exodus, Noah, Ghost in the Shell…) .

Yes, there are a lot of “I dont care if he’s gay but…” types that do obviously care. A lot of deep-seeded bigotry. Diversity is important. Showing characters that are different and accepted is important in society. Its the “so what” crowd that makes it a big deal when its notable in a positive way but they try to make it negative.

Usually angry white guys that dont understand or accept the reality of life as a minority, gay person etc.

I am still waiting for the logical explanation how the Star Trek universe in the 23rd century could NOT be diverse. We have to come out from our point of view from 2017 of the western world and try to imagine the perspective from 2250. Not forget to mention to get out from the point of view from a human.
Space… a small frontier… no new and unknown civilizations, all the same like in the bible belt? In a BIG Space? REALLY?!?!?

It really is odd. People complaining about “diversity” and “political correctness” dont seem to realise they are arguing in favour of all white, all male, all straight etc. Very sad. But they say addicts cant truly recover until they admit they have a problem. I imagine its similar with bigots.

Everyone is so focused on the name, no one seem to notice she went from Lt. Commander to now first officer. Thats pretty big news and would make a lot more sense of her being the lead now. Lt. Commander was fine but I didn’t really like the ‘lower decks’ idea. And then we found out her character would probably be on the bridge all the time anyway. Now since she’s first officer she will have a direct hand in everything so it makes a lot more sense.

And honestly who knows if she will stay first officer for long because the Captain of the ship missed nearly a month of filming the pilot where as she’s been there from the start. So maybe Issac character may not be very permanent. Its all pretty interesting though.

And I love she gave the Vulcan salute on Talking Dead. She is fast becoming part of the Trek world. Still not sold on the prequel thing but I think she’s going to be a great addition.

I think it’s possible to be a Lt. Commander and First Officer:

Here’s a tidbit about Spock from Memory Alpha:
“Spock is referred to as a lieutenant commander in “Court Martial”, though the final draft and revised final draft of that episode’s script instead referred to him as a full commander (in the equivalent line of dialogue). The Star Trek Chronology listed Spock as having been promoted from lieutenant commander to full commander following “Court Martial”. This was apparently the result of mishearing a captain’s log entry that Kirk makes in “The Menagerie, Part I”, where Spock is still identified as a lieutenant commander. He is also referred to as a lieutenant commander in “Tomorrow is Yesterday” and was first referred to as a commander in “Amok Time”, indicating the promotion occurred between those two episodes. Somewhat oddly, even when he was a lieutenant commander during the first season, he still wore a full commander’s stripes.”

True but its odd she was only reported as Lt. Commander for months until today. I know people like Riker is also called commander but first officer always took priority in terms of title. It was strange she was never just called that until now.

No biggie but its just exciting now that officially she will be the first officer. Many people did fear we were getting a ‘lower decks’ character for awhile who would be tooling away in engineering or something. To know she will have a direct leadership role at least makes it easier to see how she can be the main star but not the main leader…at least for now.

I thought it was pretty clear she was the First Officer though. Which is why going back to last summer, Bryan Fuller said she’d be known as “Number One.” The only times that phrase has been used has been in reference to First Officers.

Yeah I know but it was weird that no one ever identified her as first officer until now. My point is all the media simply said she was a Lt. Commander so it was odd no one just said she would be second in command. And then of course when Fuller said those remarks he was still on the show, so it was no telling what they had changed when he left, especially since all the casting happened after he left.

Anyway I’m just happy its all been clarified because it has been a bit confusing (and still is lol). Remember even for Yeoh character went through small changes after she was announced having a role.

Yes, of course it’s possible! “First Officer” is a position, and “Lieutenant Commander” is a rank.

If a Commander [rank] were skipper of a ship, she could have a Lieutenant as her First Officer.

The bit about First Officer Spock is fascinating. I thought he wore LCDR stripes until the end of First Season TOS. Now I’ll have to go back and check. [fake grumbling]

Just realized that George Kirk was a Lt. Commander and First Officer of the Kelvin, and Worf was the same for the Defiant.

Maybe another Pike/Kirk situation?

Turns out I have a girls name.

Man, she’s gorgeous…

Really, you think so? I think she’s average-looking, at best.

Everyone has different tastes. But she IS beautiful. I mean..thats an apparent fact. You might not be attracted to her personally, but she’s beautiful. Moreover she is talented.

Very talented and seemingly humble and gracious about it. I’m happy to see her doing well.

First names play such a secondary role in Star Trek universes that it’s almost a non-issue. How many times did anyone call Scotty “Montgomery” or Sulu “Hikaru” or Spock “Unpronounceable”? It’s usually a world of last names and/or rank, apart from more intimate relationships. Maybe she’ll even end up as a “Mickey.” 😜


Spock’s last name was unpronouncable, NOT his first.

Depending on whether one uses the Surname/Last Name tradition, yeh. In most fanfic, it’s Schn T’Gai Spock.

Or Mikki. Or Michie. Or Mischa….

Andy Lincoln, yes please

Regardless of Sonequa’s stage name, I am nervous about the series availability for high viewership. I have lingering doubt it will achieve CBS numbers expectations, whatever they may be. Although I have no knowledge of Netflix market penetration outside of USA and Canada to achieve high viewership numbers, I have doubt about untested CBS all Access and Canada’s numbers goals. I am Canadian, a long-term fan who definitely would not want another failed ST Series (shorter than 7 seasons) but I will not spend $80 a month just to obtain cable and watch ST-DSC. I usually wait for the series BRD or DVD which should be at similar price and be watched at leisure.

Viewership isn’t as much of an overriding factor as it would have been had it been on TV. It’s more about subscribers overall to the service. And since Trek is acting as the series to help really propel the service, it won’t be canceled right away.

Also, licensing the first season to Netflix covered the entire production cost of the first season. And I don’t imagine Netflix pulling out of future seasons since they were pushing hard for the series in the first place.

To put it into perspective, CBS All Access renewed The Good Fight for a second season, after just four episodes. And keep in mind, that The Good Fight doesn’t even have as lucrative of a international distribution package that Discovery has. It only had 7 million viewers when the pilot was shown on TV, and four months ago there were only about 1.2 million CBS All Access subscribers (before any original scripted content), and probably more now.

The goal is for 4 million by 2020. If that is accurate, even if only 2 million more people subscribe for Star Trek and other shows, the network will likely consider it a success. If even 3 million subscribe for a year, its $216M-$360M (depending on the plan).

The goal “4 million” subscribers will be reached within a week after the pilot has aired on CBS… if the pilot is not complete drifle. I’m worried that they might get more subscribers than they can actually handle, leading to server breakdowns and chaos. Maybe the subscription numbers will fall again after ne season of DSC, but I’m sure they’ll get 6-7 million subscribers initially! No doubt about that…

All Access is already over 2 million subscribers now after The Good Fight premiered. This was a show with little hype and as far as I can tell hardly any marketing (I still have no idea who is even on that show outside of the main lead) and it still had no problem getting over a million new subscribers and has already been renewed for second season after just four episodes.

Star Trek Discovery has ridiculous hype, quite a few known stars in both TV and film, any news like someone photographing a a piece of wood from the set it makes all the entertainment sites and yes basically Netflix is paying for the first year of the production having it for their site worldwide giving CBS a wide berth to give it a longer chance.

For this thing to fail, especially so early on seems almost impossible. Even if it doesn’t do as well on AA as CBS hopes, if its a big hit on Netflix worldwide there is going to be a lot of money thrown at this thing to keep it going on their site alone. I see Discovery going 3 seasons minimum. Second season is already in the bag thanks to Netflix and as said they don’t even expect to get to four million until 2020. But if Discovery gets them there within 2 seasons it won’t have any problem continuing.

@Tiger2 – yup. CBS leveraged the popularity of The Good Wife into drawing fans that would know. It didnt have to create new fans with a huge marketing campaign. The same can be said for Discovery. The Trek fandom will do the heavy lifting. The media will all cover it as its Trek’s return to TV.

And the premiere airing on CBS is brilliant (same thing they did for The Good Fight).

CBS is making the right moves here.

Now if only someone could event a “streaming technology” that worked, we’d be able to watch (inside joke).

I agree. I think it was a poor choice to make it solely available on a brand new and unknown platform. Exclusivity only works for things that have been proven to work. Star Trek, though it has the fandom and pedigree, has faded from mainstream super-popularity.

That’s why I think the first trailer is crucial. It will set the tone, which has to be properly hinting at weight, canon, chemistry, and connection with the audience. Not to mention, that all too-important, “it” factor.

I do love the casting so far. I cannot wait to see what species Doug Jones will portray I am a BIG fan and I have adored Michelle Yeoh for a good while as well.

Here we go again with this lame debate. If YOU wont pay for cable to watch, that’s fine. Thats your choice. If they aired it on CBS you’d still need cable, no?

I mean, sure, shame on CBS for not beaming this series into my brain for free. How dare they want me to pay for it.

By their own accounts, The Good Fight is doing well. I believe they said their subs are over 2.5 million which is more than HBO GO. They will hit their 4 million target.

This is actually a GREAT business structure to ensure the best chance for long term survival of the series. If you want it on CBS Network, enjoy the three episodes that might air before its cancelled.

I didn’t know this was an old fight? That said, that IS good news about The Good Fight and bodes better for this series. I’m more optimistic hearing that.

Another poster in another thread spent like two straight days arguing about how terrible this was that CBS was putting the show on All Access. He claimed that “streaming technology” did not exist to deliver a series through that medium, pined for it to be available for rent(!) on DVD, said Netflix streaming was terrible and never worked, claimed this was a fact for everyone and wasnt just his Internet connection which he claimed was excellent.

He complained that it was a cash grab because you have to pay for CBSALL but he wanted to be able to rent the DVD’s, which you’d assume he’d have to pay for but apparently was piggy backing on a friend’s Netflix account.

He thought his position was reasonable. lol Finally, a mod interjected and told us both to stop debating. I went home and watched The Walking Dead and a couple of movies in glorious HD on Netflix with zero buffing. Weird that I can do that but he cant…but its a weakness of Netflix.

Also this complaint about “solely available”… its always solely available first run. If it was on CBS and you dont have cable (or Internet) you cant get it. If it was on Netflix and you dont have Netflix, you dont get it.

People say things without thinking. The person I referred to above wanted it on Netflix because he had access to his friend’s Netflix account so to him, it was “free”. But to others without Netflix, it wasnt. Its all perception.

If you want to watch Game of Thrones you cant turn on Channel 3 and watch it.

This isnt new. When The Sopranos hit it big, how many people did not have HBO? They sought it out. This is the same.

And the Good Fight has shown us that its a plan that works for CBS.

I’m Canadian as well. I’m fortunate enough to have cable TV and will be there for the premiere.
I’d like to say I don’t care about the characters name, but I do.
I’m a middle aged white guy who wished he could be Captain Kirk since I was 10 years old. He was the hero I wished I could be.
I want characters I can identify with.
If Michael Burnham turns out to be a transgender character? Meh…
Thing is, I’ve met maybe two transgendered individuals. If this character happens to be transgender? I won’t write in spewing hate with “how could you?”
I just won’t be able to identify with a transgender character because my life experience is so different.
Without compelling stories to keep me interested, I fear I might tune out if they’re trying to win me over with gay or transgendered characters as stunt casting.
It gives the show something to talk about on the talk show circuit and create some buzz.
Call me a hater if you want, If I’m going to pay for CBS ALL Access, or Space on my cable package, give me characters I can relate to or if not? Better have some damn good stories.

I’d be surprised if the character is transgendered, partially for the reasons you’ve stated. But its not always about identifying with a character in a basic way (ie. the swashbuckling hero). If she is transgendered and that is apart of her journey, then we identify with the journey, we gain insight into her (and perhaps ourselves) through her experiences.

A lot of people identified with Spock even though none of us are aliens.

However, people making the leap that she is transgendered because of the name are over-simplifying it I think. The transgendered people I’ve known have all changed their name to one they personally identify with, not keep their former name.

Just throwing this out there – Michael (Michal) was the name of David’s first wife in the Bible…so in a way I suppose there is precedent.

Who thinks to show diversity they will have a devout Christian first officer?? Ha ha

You don’t have to actually be religious just to have a religious name. One of my friends is name Adina which is from the bible. Her family isn’t religious just liked the name.

But there have been plenty of religious characters on Star Trek like Kira, Tuvok and T’pol to name a few.

Disaster unfolding before our very visors. At least we have JJ Trek to look forward to

For one jarring moment there, I thought that read “Michael BURMAN”.

I actually had a colleague named “Michael Berman” last year, not related to Rick Berman. This makes Michael Burnham, female, sound even stranger for me. But I like strange!

Micheal as a female name – should I note Michael Learned from THE WALTONS? That IS her birth name,too.

So everyone says “what about Michael Learned”. Okay, you got us. You all came up with one woman named Michael. So that proves its a common female name. *rolls eyes*.

Michael is the name of a masculine Biblical character, as are Matthew, Mark, Luke, Daniel, Gabriel, John and a host (no pun intended) of others, including Jesus. Those names became popular names because of their appearances in the Bible. If you search far enough and wide enough, you can find people with all sorts of unusual names. I’ve seen some really unfortunate ones, like people named after numbers or backward-spelled place names or just made-up words that don’t mean anything. Michael must be regarded as an odd choice for a female character. There was a male character on FIREFLY named Jayne (…The man they called Jayne…). In that case, the feminine name added a bit of levity and took some of the heaviness off of a morally bankrupt, thuggish character. Jayne’s name was sort of an Achilles heel, a vulnerable spot where people could instantly chop him down do size by making fun of his name. I guess we’ll find out what the dramatic purpose of “Michael” is–hopefully there is one.

According to Biblical lore, Michael is an archangel. And there are many who believe that angels are genderless, neutral beings.

Interesting enough, her TWD character is Sasha, which is also used for men and women alike.


My recollection is that angels are typically depicted as neutered males.

The archangel Michael features in the Book of Daniel 12:1, and in the Quran as Mikaeel. He is considered a saint by the Catholic Church, Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Eastern Orthodox Church. For the Roman Catholic Church, 29 September is the feast day of the three archangels: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.

Guido Reni’s Michael (in Santa Maria della Concezione church, Rome, 1636) tramples Satan:

comment image

Smike has it right. Biblical angels are generally considered asexual.

The reason Michael pops up as a male human name is that Michael is the most powerful of all angels and as Christianity rose, whether one was a believer or not, Michael was considered a powerful being and that one could curry its favor by bestowing the name on one’s most important offspring which, more often than not through most of human history, would be a first born son.

I dont think anyone is saying the name is “bad” per se, its just an odd creative decision especially for a female series lead with the idea of that being, more or less, a barrier being broken down (not entirely obviously, but its something to hang their hat on that their lead is a black female).

One would suspect there is a dramatic purpose, as Cyg noted. Otherwise its just odd. For a mainstream TV show, you can have unusual names, sure, but this isnt really an unusual name as much as its a predominately male name given to a female lead.

If the male Captain was named Lucy, we’d all be going “huh?” too.

The name first appears in the Hebrew Bible in the Book of Numbers, 13:13 where Sethur the son of Michael is one of 12 spies sent into the Land of Canaan.


Re: Hebrew Bible

I don’t get the distinction that you are trying to draw with “first appears”? NUMBERS is instructional in Hebraic teaching and DANIEL is historical.

Besides GENESIS, also instructional, is quite clear, the angels were created before the humans. Ergo, the angel named Mikhael first appeared in creation before any human named after him. The provenance of the name is clear.


Re: GENESIS is quite clear?

Not sure how I came up with that particular turn of phrase as I am more than well-schooled in GENESIS’ ambiguities. What I meant was that heaven; along with the beings which presumably inhabited it, i.e. angels; was created long before mankind in GENESIS.


Because the first appearance of the name establishes that name as a masculine name; that is its provenance——Numbers. It’s nothing to do with the other contents of the book. Neither has it anything to do with when angels were created. They might have had different names when they were first created, or whatever…make up any backstory you wish. The origin of the name is in Numbers. If, for example, someone produces a movie, and then, 20 years later, produces a prequel to said movie, the original movie is the original source of all original ideas in that movie, not the prequel made 20 years later for having a dramatic setting that is earlier.


Re: first appearance of the name

You are aware that current Hebraic Scripture scholarship holds that both books were edited together affairs from several different uncited authors and their earlier texts (Copyrights to regulate and orderly orchesttrate such things wouldn’t be invented for millennia to come.) such that there’s no way to establish the provenance of who wrote the name first and when. Plus there’s a whole oral part of Hebraic teachings before things were ever committed to writing too.


I’m just going by the article. If you read the source (noted at the bottom of the Wiki page), you’ll see that it consistently refers to the name as being masculine. It’s a male name. Full stop. Yes, there are women with male names. And there are men with female names. But, these are atypical. Michael is a male name, and has been for 3,000 years or so. I know a Jewish girl named MacKenzie (her first name), but that doesn’t mean that MacKenzie is not by and large a Scottish surname. You would not say that MacKenzie is a Jewish given name just because of the girl that I know. For every norm there are deviations from it. By and large, Michael is a masculine name.


Well, it sounds as if you are leaning towards a usage case based on census data where the preponderance of the name throughout history might be demonstrated to be associated with sex M by greater numbers. In which case, who wrote it first would be an irrelevant tangent. Actually, there’s evidence that NUMBERS itself was copying census data from non-Hebraic rulers.

This would be a fairly strong case to build except for the fact that many ancient censuses thought only males and the male line worth tracking.

I am unaware of a source where someone actually crunched the numbers of M/F names from ancient censuses that tracked both? I know from my Data Processing and Computer Science majors that the Hollerith punch card system in the US allowed such sorting and tabulation but it is tainted by the fact that many of those early post Hollerith census takers and immigration authorities invented English spellings and outright wholly different English names for non-English names. But I suppose something could be done with the data to build a case?

But as we are dealing with a fictional name, I wonder if there were a way to definitively identify its first occurrence and its gender identity or non-gender identity in said usage if that should prevail?

It’s both—the Biblical origin added to which is the traditional usage of the name henceforth. Dunno about pre-Hebraic usage. Since the name is constructed from Hebrew phrasing, I’d assume there is no prior occurrence of the name to be found.


Well, I gave your Wikipedia source some deeper perusing. and the plot thickens. It notes that “Mychal” is the gender neutral spelling of “Michael”.

I also found out that, Michal, which is a woman’s name, pre-dates your Numbers cite by a century. The significance is that while it seems to be regarded as a separate name, it crosses Michael as the spellings evolve and “Mychal” seems to obviously suggest.

”Although possessing an identical or almost identical spelling when using the Latin alphabet, the Czech and Slovak language “Michal” and the Polish language “Michał” (popular male given names) are the local forms of “Michael” rather than of “Michal”. This can be compared to French spelling “Michel”, which is also a local form of “Michael”.” —

Welcome to the Star Trek family, Sonequa Martin-Green. I hope you’ll be great!

Now go watch TOS, if you haven’t seen it before. :-)

I’d say say , Go Watch Enterprise Sonequa ! Corylea ?!

Who ever said a first officer needs to hold the rank of full commander?

I just wish she were a better actor. Many in the cast are excellent, but I was never impressed with her on The Walking Dead.

Quick tidbit about her. Sonequa actually auditioned for Michonne, and did not get the role. But she so impressed Mazzara with acting skills, the character of Sasha was created for her. Her co-actors on the show are also always constantly singing her praises.

Her co-actors may say that, but that doesn’t change the fact that I was never impressed with her on The Walking Dead.

It’s okay. I didn’t expect to change your mind. :)

Her character on Walking Dead was mediocre and forgettable. She had zero charisma, so I can’t imagine her being able to carry an entire series as the lead.

Luckily you won’t have to imagine because it’s a reality now. ;)

Anybody remember Michael Lerned from “The Waltons?” She never seemed bothered with that name.

RIP Sasha. :(

She went out well, though. :)

She went out stupidly. The casket gag was SO forced and obvious.

I hope your life gets better.

I was glad to see her go. Her character was pointless and boring.

Why did they give this actress/lady, a male-sounding character name ? “Michael” ? She’s going to be a Transgender character ? we don’t need this show to be about Sex/Gender politics

Why give this lady an english-sounding name anyway?!
A big Star Trek universe with a lot of species and yet the character has to be a human and “accidentally” american or at least of english-speaking origin. Not very believable!
This show doesn’t need to satisfy rednecks.

It doesn’t need to satisfy hate-filled liberals like you. American means redneck? It’s an American TV show and always has been. It’s not believable to have a character of English-speaking origin? Wow get a clue, the English speaking world has been the leader in space exploration for 75 years, and those from the non-English speaking world usually speak English as well.

Yeah. How logical. We are talking about a fictional universe with VARIOUS species across LOST of planets set 240 years in the future and almost every character happens to be not only human, but also american?
How believable is THAT in a VAST universe?
It’s an american tv-show? It’s a fictional tv-show which doesn’t take place in the USA nor on earth itself.

Michael as a female name is difficult to stomach if it’s not done for a reason, such as exploring transgenderism. I’m called Michael (male) so it just sounds off.
But there are more interesting aspects to this. I never was a fan of the name Rainsford. Burnham is a lot, well, more figurative… Burnham sounds a lot like “burn ’em” as in “burn them”…On purpose? But if, then why?
Lorca and Sarú are great names, but Burnham and Stamets only make sense as part of cheap puns… “Burn’em, Burnham!” and “Dammit Stamets!”
Now, we need to make the doctor’s first name Lance! Dr. Nimbue Lance… “We need an Nimbue Lance!”

Great Name , Smike ! Nimbue Lance , I’ll go with it !

Is the name kind of a tribute?


No. Obviously not.

Michael is an alternate form of Michaela. It can be male or female.

In Hebrew it is often used as a female name.

Meaning “who is like god”

Could be pronounced Mika-elle, in which case it is either male or female… I just hope CBS isn’t doing this just to stir up controversy to stimulate interest. That’s a marketing flunky tactic and you don’t need that when you have a good product…

You mean like McHale?

No, it’s like first syllable “Mika”, second syllable “Elle” (as in the letter “L”)

McHale is pronounced like Mikhail…

I’m guessing she’ll be playing the black lesbian that Fuller originally wanted. *yawn*

Lesbians make you sleepy? Weird. Or is your bigotry exhausting?

It’s Dursley complaining about 261 toys this year vs the 262 he had last year.

i think the feminine name is Michaela .. because it’s mine :P

Huh. Never knew Michael was a female name. I’ve never met a female named Michael or even have heard of a female named Michael. But again the left wing creates new definitions and rules in terms of gender, diversity, and blah blah blah. Lol smh.

You are literally getting your panties in a twist over a name. Sad and fragile beings you are.

We are talking about a FICTIONAL tv-show which is set in the FUTURE in a part of the UNIVERSE which includes “strange new worlds and new civilizations”, which on a logical way absolutely can’t NOT “CREATE
NEW DEFINITIONS in terms of diversity”. And yet you are upset about that. Seriously?!?
What do people expect in the future which takes place outside earth?
The absence of diversity? How logical can that be?

By the way: there was an ENT-episode named “Cogenitor”.
Must have been too much for some folks. Mad mad left wings. How dare
they… they “create new definitions”.

We have saying they are taking the mickey or more politely extracting the Michael.

Apart from the possible transgender angle, or the notion that “Michael” doesn’t want to be defined primarily by her gender and so has adopted an unconventional name, there may be some other plausible explanations:

1. “She” is actually a male agent undercover (probably Section 31 or Starfleet Intelligence), and the female identity is part of the disguise. “Michael” is the character’s real name — but that’s not necessarily revealed until later in the season. Remember when the character was originally announced, it was identified as simply “Number One”, and there were hints the character’s real name was a plot twist to be revealed later on. (However, this was back when Fuller was still the showrunner, so things may have changed since then).

2. It’s the reverse: The character is a female agent undercover as a male, and the male name “Michael” is part of the disguise. We see her as she really is, but the characters on the show don’t. Some parallels with Melisandre in Game of Thrones (when she took off that necklace), or Sam Beckett in Quantum Leap.

3. The character had unconventional/contrarian parents.

4. It’s a publicity stunt. A gimmick.

Hopefully it’s not the last one.

Or her name is Michael. Maybe her father was in Starfleet and his name was Michael.

Calm down everyone! All we know is HER name is MICHAEL… that’s it… anything else is just in your imagination and doesn’t count!

We will know more when it airs so just wait until then before jumping on band-wagons or high-horses!

Oh and it is is pronounced Mike-all

Has anyone actually been seen, on camera, pronouncing it as “My-Kul”? It could be pronounced Mee-kel. Or even Mi-shell. Lord knows there are already enough weird variants of common names pushed out by creative parents that just want their kid to have a lifetime of explaining how their name is spelled.
“Yes…my name is Terry…but with an “a” and doube “ee”s. You know, Taree.”

Re-inventing the familiar is as popular as ever. However, until we hear her character…on screen, being adressed, phonetically, as My-kul…we just don’t really know.