Warning: Article contains SPOILERS up to episode 310 of Star Trek: Discovery.
In “Terra Firma, Part 2” we saw Michelle Yeoh’s Emperor Georgiou leave the 32nd century and the crew of the USS Discovery behind for parts unknown, via the Guardian of Forever. But in a series of post-episode interviews, Yeoh made it clear, Georgiou’s Star Trek story has not ended.
Georgiou “will live on, and on.”
In her post-episode interview with When asked by Wil Wheaton on The Ready Room about saying goodbye when shooting “Terra Firma, Part,” Yeoh said:
“It’s never going to be goodbye. Not if I have a hand in that… but at that moment it was really tough. Knowing that I will not be seeing my new family for a while… In my thirty years as an actor, Georgiou has been so fulfilling as an actor that it’s been awesome. And so for that reason alone, I’m never going away!”
Later when Wheaton asked about her arc on Discovery Yeoh made it even clearer, saying “Georgiou is never going away. She will live on, and on.”
Yeoh gave the same sentiment in an interview with Bustle:
“There are so many stories to tell of her,” Yeoh tells Bustle, assuring me that Georgiou is not gone for good from the Star Trek universe. “I know for a fact that if we are not giving up on her, we’re not going to put her on the shelf.”
And Yeoh confirmed in that Bustle interview that Georgiou’s future is not in the 32nd century with Star Trek: Discovery:
“Maybe one of the reasons why she is not in this timeline is to be able to go on more of her own adventures, more of her stories, more of the things that she has to live through.”
But with IGN, Yeoh did leave the door open for a return to Discovery:
“When she walked through that portal, when she said goodbye, even to Michael Burnham, is it really goodbye? I don’t know. I honestly believe that if one day Michael Burnham and the whole future was in [danger], she would claw and fight her way back to play a part in how to be part of their salvation.”
Discovery exit “necessary” to set up the Section 31 show
In January 2019 – before the premiere of Discovery season 2 – CBS announced the development of a new series which “will expand on Yeoh’s current role as a member of Starfleet’s Section 31 division, a shadow organization within the Federation, on Star Trek: Discovery.”
On Ready Room, Yeoh talked about how she had a conversation with Discovery’s co-showrunners Alex Kurzman and Michelle Paradise where they explained Georgiou’s exit in episode 310:
“It came to a point where it was necessary if we were going to go on more journeys with Emperor Georgiou that some things have to happen.”
Speaking to TV Insider Yeoh talked about progress on the Section 31 show, saying:
“I know the EPs and writers and my team are still working very hard because we have a lot more stories to tell. … I hope it will be very soon.”
When asked about what she would like to explore with Georgiou on the new show, Yeoh revealed a bit, but left the question of “when” the show is set open:
It depends on what timeline when she walks through that door. Obviously she’s not going to stay in the future, but I hope in the short time she was there, being the amazing engineer and smart cookie she is, she would’ve learned a lot about that time period that she would be able to take with her. Can you imagine what she could bring back to the past? Without changing the future, of course. Developments that could make a huge difference, and if it was Section 31, that’s what Section 31 is all about, isn’t it?
CBS continues to refer to the Section 31 show as being in development, however, there has been no confirmed start date for production. Before the pandemic, producers had said they planned to start on the Section 31 show in 2020 after season three on Discovery wrapped. As of now the next new show confirmed to be going into production is Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which is expected to start shooting in early 2021 in Canada. Discovery season four began production in Canada last month and Star Trek: Picard is expected to start production on season two in January in Los Angeles.
Georgiou is a new person
If and when Georgiou is seen again, Michelle Yeoh believes the former Terran Emperor has changed. On The Ready Room she said:
“She was born into a world where a sign of weakness, any vulnerability means instant death… And then comes the good Michael Burnham, and it changed her. It showed her this is the daughter that she had always wanted… The one person that she truly loved was Michael Burnham and upon meeting the good Michael Burnham she realized she had to change. So when she was given the second chance by our glorious Guardian [of Forever], that was when she was being weighed to see if she had changed.
Because it is very obvious that Emperor Georgiou’s journey has not ended. It has not come to an end. But it depends on her whether it will end abruptly. I loved when she walks through the portal and realizes, ‘I am dressed as the Terran emperor, and I can see all my soldiers in front of me expecting the badass Emperor. ‘You can see in her eyes she has changed dramatically and drastically.”
And here is more from Bustle:
“She’s definitely had a change of heart,” Yeoh tells Bustle of Georgiou’s time spent with the Federation. “She had an awakening in the sense that she realized yes, you could rule with fear and tyranny, but only for a short period. This was what she learned from being in the Prime Universe. It’s about compassion, about hope. It’s about when people have nothing to lose, then they don’t care anymore. And when you don’t care, you don’t have a future.”
And speaking to TV Insider, Yeoh points to what Georgiou learned from Kovich about the fate of the Terran Empire after she left as another reason for her change of heart:
“The Terran empire disappeared after 500 years ago, there were no more crossings, we were never heard from again, and the only thing you can come away with that is that we destroyed ourselves. I think she realized that when she went back to Michael Burnham and she said, “How many more times are people going to revolt against us? If we don’t give the people some kind of peace and harmony, we are just going to kill ourselves.” She learned that just by killing, that was not the answer or the way to rule moving forward.”
And finally, with IGN Yeoh talked about how this redemption can play out in Georgiou’s future adventures:
“I really want to see more of how this person can have redemption. I think when she goes through the portal, Carl tells her, you can die in there, but it’s the way you use it. Can you change? Can you make a difference? And if you can’t make a difference in the past or the future, then you have no path. So it is up to you. And I know for a fact that we love this character. My team, my executive producers, my writers have been so amazing. I think we got into a stage where we loved this character so much, and there’s so much potential in stories and adventures that she can have.”
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