Sonequa Martin-Green Excited By New Opportunities for Michael Burnham in ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Season 3

Sonequa Martin-Green at PaleyFest NY for Star Trek: Discovery

In the last of our red carpet interviews from PaleyFest New York, Star Trek: Discovery star Sonequa Martin-Green spoke to us about season three, brimming with her usual (and contagious) enthusiasm for her writers, co-stars, and crew.

How has Michael changed this season?

Oh my. I wish I could tell you. I’m very excited to share it, because there has been deep deep deep change. As we see in the trailer that we just released, there’s been a year, and there’s been an inevitable maturation in that year, and change is… it’s linked to this very future that we’re in, and it will… (laughs) basically, there’s a host of problems that this new future presents, an entirely brand-new tapestry of conflict.

And so the change, you will see it reverberating throughout the entire season, this change that has happened. And I really really love and I appreciate the writers for it because it’s almost become a sort of cornerstone for Michael Burnham, is to just be in constant search for who I am and who I really want to be versus who I’ve been programmed and conditioned to be. And so that question of identity, it’s ramped up to the nth degree.

Michael Burnham during her first year after her leap into the future

In previous seasons, Michael spent a lot of time with Pike, or Tyler, or Lorca, but now they’re all gone. Who are a lot of your scenes with this season?

Oh my, that’s another thing that I love about this, is that just by nature of what these people did, jumping to the future… a lot of it is in-house, which I really really REALLY love. Because of course we all know that this cast is stellar. That was one of the things I was most excited about when I found out we were going to be jumping to the future is that as much as we will forever miss the people that have come before, and we will never forget them, and did not want them to leave, the fact is that we have to find who we are together in this new future that can’t help but bind us together. And duty called, and we answered the call. And now all we have is each other. And so that in itself creates a lot of opportunity for us to play off of each other and with each other as we discover the new world.

Are there specific people that you haven’t had a lot of scenes with before that you’re getting to work more with now?

It’s always a sort of revolving door. We always love opportunities to work with people that we don’t often get to work with. You know there are pairings that you’ll see quite often, Burnham and Saru spend a lot of time together, Tilly and Stamets spend a lot of time together, so anytime you can break up those pairings, I love that opportunity. And of course, David Ajala, for one, is brand new to the cast, we love him, and so we’re having a wonderful time with him. And there are other people as well that are coming, and welcomed into the family, and it’s been really exciting to work with them as well. So yes, you will be seeing a lot of people interacting with each other that you haven’t seen much of before. But that’s all part of how much we have to face each other in this new world.

Michael Burnham and Cleveland Booker (new cast member David Ajala) –  Photo: Lilja J/CBS © 2019 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

Do you have a favorite Michael Burnham moment or scene from the first two seasons?

I don’t know if I have a favorite scene, I have a list of favorite scenes, because everything speaks to you for different reasons. I really love anytime two people are just talking. Anytime two people are talking and getting to the heart of something, I love that. I also love fighting. I love the action. I love the wire work I’ve gotten to do. So it’s hard to pinpoint it.

Sonequa Martin-Green at Paleyfest NY talking Star Trek: Discovery

Sonequa Martin-Green tries to come up with a favorite scene…

I will say this: I think most of us really enjoy those moments when all of us can be together. We love bridge days. And we love any opportunity that we can all be in the same moment, because that rarely happens. I’ll choose that in this moment, if that’s my favorite, the scenes where we were all able to be together.

Discovery crew goofy picture

No wonder she likes bridge days! (photo: Doug Jones/Twitter)

Is there still a lot of singing and dancing on set?

Oh man, on yeah. You know, that never stops.

Any big songs this season?

(big laugh) We’ll see. I mean, we basically… we’ll listen to Anthony and Wilson and Emily. Mary sings a lot, but she’s not a singer. But, she does sing a lot, and that’s hilarious. So yeah. We play as hard as we work, which I love.


More from PaleyFest

Check out our other Discovery interviews from the red carpet at PaleyFest NY: Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, and EPs Michelle Paradise, Heather Kadin, and Alex Kurtzman.

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So much waiting for these shows. Glad we at least have the new Short Treks.

Can’t wait!! I think Discovery going into the future is going to make this a really fun and intriguing show while getting more on board who wasn’t into it being a prequel.

This cast appears at every conference, convention and expo. Do they ever do any work?

going to every conference convention and expo is also part of the job for them on top of the acting they also do (which obviously yes they do given the amazing stuff we’ve seen from them over the last two seasons)

PaleyFest was the same day as their NYCC appearance, on a Saturday… I’m sure they went right back to Toronto on Monday to continue filming.

Harry sounds like he’s ready to crack that whip to get the show on faster. ;D

When you love everything about a show except the lead.

If there was an Oscar for over-emoting in red carpet scenes, she’d get it!

“Best Consistently Overly Melodramatic Acting Award Goes To…” Absolutely.

Couldn’t agree more

But, my, doesn’t she whisper well!

They like very much to go to these Conventions. Free travel, hotel, food, clothing, etc. Maybe extra $$$ incentives. They meet the Fans. They get feedback. Smiles. And good vibes.

Lots of $$$$. A lot of the cast of the older shows survive just on the money these cons provide.

For current shows these conventions are primarily promotion events. They go there to hype their upcoming product. So it’s probably part of the actors’ contracts to do these shows.
For a lot of the cast from older shows it’s a nice source of additional income – and a chance to be in the spotlight again for some whose career has gone nowhere.

An yet a vast majority of the fans would be happy for her character to be vaporise in the first episode and never seen again. Can’t stand her. It even worse when the rest of the characters have grown on me. She really is the biggest thing wrong with the show.

Doubt it’s a vast majority of fans. It’s at best a vocal minority.

Vocal minority for sure. A lot of fans drop by here, look around, see buzzkills and go back to whatever they were doing.

Definitely. I was coming here when this site went up for the new Movie. I was always eager for some new movie snippets and goss. Now, apart for some great news and articles, the comment section is something I just look at quickly and don’t really invest any time in reading as it seems to be filled with the same ol over and over :)

Yeah, I feel the same way.

This is why I don’t hang out in Trek forums for long.

“an entirely brand-new tapestry of conflict”

You heard it here first, folks – THAT is what Discovery was missing! ;)

Ok people, the photo-shoot is over now, we’re about to start filming, wipe those joyful smiles off your faces and look dour and pensive until the season 3 shooting is done.

Not saying this to be controversial, I genuinely mean this, but honestly I cannot think of a single likeable member of the DIS crew now that we’ve left Pike behind. Quite an achievement for a TV series. Is it just me?

Let’s see how this Booker guy works out. I’m glad they actually cast an Indian in the role of the Federation politician (?) – first high profile Indian character since Persis Khambatta 40 years ago! – as otherwise you’d get the impression that’s some (literally!) pretty black-and-white casting the good folks at Discovery are doing!

I know this is probly been said before come up but it is so nice to have a lead in a star trek series who is so add ebullient and unapologetically enthusiastic about being in Star Trek right out of the gate, front and center

Every other series lead I can think of has kept this cool air of reservation as the show was in producion, Whether it was born of unfamiliarity with the material, fear of being typecast, or a sense that they were somehow slumming by doing TV science fiction.

Soniqua Martin-Green has embraced Trek like a fellow fan. She’s got the sort of enthusiasm that David Tennent and Peter Capaldi had when given the chance to play a role in a show that had meant so much to them.

I, for one, am glad to have a young, vigorous, emotive, intelligent performer in the central role who understands what she’s giving to.

I’m glad she’s unafraid to squee with us as she goes where no fan has gone before.

Ok Now I want to see Soniqua Martin-Green as the 14th Doctor.

Also looking forward to seeing what the 31st century Federation is all about, however one thing I really have an issue with is the time lag between seasons. I know the production values are through the roof and awesome but I don’t think they in any way warrant the rumored 20 plus month hiatus between S2 and S3. Even if it comes in right after Picard, you are still looking at a 15 month break but at least that would be acceptable as we have Short Treks and the new adventures of Jean Luc to tide us over. With the rumored production of S2 Picard beginning in March, that means the S2 shows should be ready by December, so let’s hope Discovery gets going around September 2020 at the latest.

I have to agree. It’s a bit too much. This show makes 10 less episodes a year than the previous shows but take way too long between seasons. I guess this is why we have stuff like Short Treks now but even that is six months after the finale. I thought they would start sometime in the summer the latest. Hopefully nest year things will at least feel more regular with the new shows.

Judging from last year’s lack of narrative depth and characterizations, I also don’t know WHAT exactly they are spending all this time on? ;)

She has awesome hair, so what was she thinking with the radical short cut?

We can’t have any remote hint of the age-old “sexism and racism” of our forefathers and enemies in contemporary Trek. That’s that!