Sonequa Martin Green Sees Lessons For Women In ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

Tomorrow brings the Star Trek: Discovery “Visionaries” panel to Wondercon, and TrekMovie will be there to bring you all the news. While we wait for that, we have an update with some comments from two actresses from Discovery: Sonequa Martin-Green and Emily Coutts.

Sonequa sees lesson for women Michael Burnham

Last week CBS held their inaugural “EYE Speak Summit” in Los Angeles, which featured a number of women who work for CBS in front and behind the camera, including Star Trek: Discovery’s Sonequa Martin-Green. The goal was to promote female empowerment within CBS with the panelists sharing “their personal stories and how each of them is helping to move the conversation forward.”

Martin-Green drew inspiration from her Discovery character to make a point, telling the crowd:

My character [Michael] is failing and falling…And I’ve been vilified for it. But it champions the fact that women can make mistakes that are revolutionary. We need to see that more in our stories.

She also discussed a Trek-like theme of “culturation” as a means of understanding, saying (via Variety):

“Your culture meshes with mine and mine meshes with yours, but you don’t take from mine and I don’t take from yours. We live together, embracing each other’s culture, and being expanded by it. That’s the way it should be,” she says.

Sonequa Martin-Green speaking at CBS EYE Speak Summit

Discovery star Mary Chieffo attended the event and shared some pictures of Sonequa and herself, on Twitter.

Coutts talks becoming a Trekkie (and shaving her head) for ‘Discovery’

In a new interview with Aced Magazine, Emily Coutts, who plays Lt. Keyla Detmer on Discovery, said her biggest challenge in prepping for the role, was learning to understand the world of Star Trek itself.

The language and just getting a grasp on the Star Trek world. I tried watching all the Star Trek shows and TV, but it seems to be endless. I wasn’t like a Trekkie growing up, so I sort of had to learn everything about this world because I wanted to give the fans something they felt was in line with where the story had come from. So basically just getting my head around all the elements of the show.

Later in the interview, Detmer says she has been converted, noting:

Now I’m a huge Trekkie. I totally got into the world and was taken by the whole thing. I started with the original series and went on to TNG. I just got wrapped up in these characters and I understood it. I had never watched it and my family was never into it, but my boyfriend is a huge Trekkie. He got me very excited about certain elements of the show. So I’m continuing to watch it. So yeah, I consider myself a sci-fi fan.

The actress also talked about how the opportunity to be on Star Trek was worth getting a radical new haircut:

[News of the new look for Detmer] sort of came about in the middle of episode 2. They decided Keyla was going to continue on and trying to figure out what happened to her. There was talk of a haircut and I didn’t know what to expect. My agent called and said they wanted to do a kind of headpiece and half shave, so I said let’s do it. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of this show. It was a fun change and I like doing stuff like that. It instantly puts you in a place where you feel like Keyla.

Lt. Keyla Detmer (Emily Coutts) survived the USS Shenzhou, but not unscathed

Get hyped for Wondercon

Some of those who will be at the WonderCon panels (one for Discovery and one for IDW’s Star Trek comics) on Saturday are buzzing about it on Twitter.


Star Trek: Discovery is available exclusively in the USA on CBS All Access. It airs in Canada on the Space Channel and streams on CraveTV. It is available on Netflix everywhere else.

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.

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Martin

I had no idea she been “vilified” for her character having failings! And I read all Trek sites, blogs, forums… I’m really confused by her statement. I thought it was status quo that audiences like 3-dimensional characters. The fans have vilified the show, haha, but not an actress who reads someone else’s words. Is she making it up? Vilified seems like such a dramatic word to use. Or have I been living under a rock? I loved her in Walking Dead, where she was allowed to be warmer and have a personality, I’ve not connected with her in Discovery, but ‘vilify’ her or the character? Not that invested to care. I thought the SHOW was vilified for unnecessarily doing a visual reboot and merrily contradicting 5 past series. Now there’s some hatred she might have cottoned on to.

The “I’ve been vilified” is Sonequa speaking as her character.

Kirok

It took a moment but ultimately I came to that conclusion, Matt. But even still, she was hardly “villified” beyond a couple of episodes. Then that aspect seemed to disappear. Which, quite frankly, is part of what was wrong with the show.

Agreed. She was an outcast for maybe 3 episodes? and then everything was all hunky-dory.

Michael Hall

Remember that look Detmer gives her when she first boards the Discovery? “I’m mutilated for life, and you’re responsible.” Ouch.

What potential this show had, and how little of it was ultimately realized.

Jordan

There’s failings, and then there’s committing mutiny. The two are not equal!

Trekboi89

Her character was an Ass. No redeeming qualities, arrogant & inept till the end.
She looks good though, Wish she had that hair on the show- Glad the poodle puff is gone.

Arathorn

I’d love to watch you refer to a black woman’s natural hair as “poodle puff” to her face.

Hint: It wouldn’t go well.

Robo

I don’t think he meant that in any derogatory way. In fact, it seemed the show frequently used her hair style as a sign of the current state of the character.

Arathorn

Just a little real-world coaching on my part

Boze

Sorry, but that thing Michael wore on her head for the final episode was *anything but* natural. It looked like she had a box glued on the top of her head. I’m fully prepared to ridicule that sort of hair regardless of the consequences. I see it as my citizen’s duty, for the embetterment of the world as a whole. It’s one of my four major tenements: help the weak, protect endangered animals, conserve water, and laugh at bad hairdos.

There’s probably only one woman who would get away with hair like that, and that’s Grace Jones. Do you remember those awesome hairdos she had in A View to a Kill? In particular, the one with two “wings” on the sides and a flat strip in the middle? Such a badass hair. But, of course, May Day is a badass lady, Michael Burnham is not. Michael’s face would probably make it look like a double shrubbery. Ni! :-P

Michael Hall

First use of a Python reference I’ve ever seen, anywhere, that manages to come off as purile and stupid. Congrats on that one.

Fabio

And where do we not see lessons for women in today’s series? The strange thing is not finding them.

Spiked Canon

agree. it’s in our face most of the time and especially on Discovery. Weak male roles and masculine female roles

HN4

You poor little boy.

G66

What the heck is she babling about? Poor little victim. Her character has been criticized because she is annoying and not likable among other reasons. And the comment about our cultures meshing but you don’t take from my culter and I don’t take from yours is beyond ridiculous. It sounds like she is referring to cultural appropriation b$. Don’t these people realize it’s a compliment to appriate some part of someones’s culter? And she wants more stories about women? Is she blind how many of the characters (the majority) are women? And this b$ despite more men naturally gravitating towards science and military influenced fields than women just as women gravitate naturally toward other fields more feelings based like certain doctors and teachers and care takers. I guess I must be sexist for stating science. By the way I think Janeway was a great captain. So here are the STD characters. Male captian – evil, male love interest- tortured and more emotional human/klingon bad guy, male doctor and engineer (sort of) gay so basically feminine (not acted as masculine/tough) and male cast in background barely speak. Oh and male alien first officer – just follows orders and all the Klingons were male and bad except the lone female. Forgot about Harry Mudd more bad/sinister than the original Mudd. Woman Admiral – good & strong, Woman (main character) – good & strong, Both helmsmen (oops helms persons) – both good and not portrayed as weak in the slightest, Tilly – innocent… Read more »

VoR

You mad, bro?

G66

Yes cause the show sucks and the SJW crap is alienating more people than it’s attracting. Real smart way to build a successful show but then you probably think the last two movies especially the last one were huge successes. Treat half or even more of the population like crap with your arrogance and it will be over. Their killing Star Wars now but you probably think the last film was a great success losing alomst a billion from previous film.

Tay Dervis

Well, at least you’re not letting it bother you.

G66

Doesn’t it bither you that a great franchise is being destroyed? If it doesn’t bother you then you don’t care. At least we know how you feel.

Tay Dervis

There’s a huge gray area between not caring and indignantly ranting about it.

Star Trek, like anything else, has been corrupted by corporate greed and bonehead decisions. But at the end of the day you have to either accept its flaws and try to enjoy it for what it is or simply stick watching reruns. It really is sad but those are the choices we are left with.

Michael Hall

Naw. If the show sucked–I think its failure was actually more nuanced than that, but no matter–it was due to lousy writing and storytelling choices on the part of its producers, not its espousement of political positions you don’t happen to like or, more likely, exist only in your own fevered imagination. Unless, of course, you can point to some sort of poll or survey demonstrating that “SJW values” alone cost DSC or THE LAST JEDI audience share. Can you? I thought not.

Michael Hall

*Yawn* Triggered much, bro?

Dr. Image

Nailed it!

Robo

I’m sorry, but is there ANYTHING about her character thus far that has anything to do with being black OR female? They could’ve cast Chris Pine in that role and nothing would’ve changed (even the name). There’s plenty of interesting dichotomy to work with. Here’s an orphan from a planet where her race is always at the bottom rung of society and her gender is often treated as a second class citizen. Now she’s adopted into this “enlightened” world where she’s still treated as something less simply because of her home planet. That should’ve been the story to tell. An outcast on a ship full of outcasts. Discovery: The Starship of Misfit Toys. Perhaps next season.

Gary 8.5

I am hyped for Wondercon and I Love those Discovery covers!

David Alexander Harrison

“Multiculturalism” just seems to be apartheid dressed-up as “respect”, her definition can’t make sense unless you enforce strict racial purity. If someone has one black parent & one white parent you could say they have stock in both “cultures”, but what if they have a child with someone else who isn’t also half & half of both? Can someone have, say, 75% black culture & 25% white culture; or 25% black, 25% white, & 50% Asian? If that still makes them of black and white – or black, white, & Asian in the second example – culture equally, how far back do you go to decide what cultures a person is “eligible” to consider themselves a part of? This is the literal antithesis of “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination”. Personally, I’m an individual, not precious or protective over collectivist stereotypes about my race; and if anyone – respectfully – “appropriates” my culture I regard it as a case of “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”.