At age 60, actress Michelle Yeoh’s star continues to rise. Since her three seasons on Star Trek: Discovery, the actress has kept busy with big roles in film and television, and in 2022, the increasing buzz around Yeoh has caught the attention of Time Magazine.
Yeoh is (still) an icon
Even before boarding Discovery as Captain Philippa Georgiou of the USS Shenzhou (and returning later as Terran Emperor Georgiou), Michelle Yeoh was well-known for her roles in films like Tomorrow Never Dies and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. In the last few years, Star Trek is just one of her many highly-regarded performances, along with Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and the indie movie Crazy Rich Asians.
This year, the buzz got even buzzier for her starring multiverse role as Evelyn Wang in Everything Everywhere All at Once. Yeah is showing up on major critics’ 2022 lists including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Variety, and Vanity Fair. Award-tracking site Gold Derby ranks her second on their short list to win an Oscar.
As part of their annual Person of the Year event, Time Magazine also names a handful of other noteworthy individuals annually, and this year Michelle Yeoh was named the Icon of the Year for 2022. In the profile of the actress, Time explains how Yeoh is standing out in 2022:
The fact that all this is new to Yeoh is remarkable. Since making her debut in Hong Kong action films in the mid-’80s, the now 60-year-old Malaysian actor has battled Jet Li in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, flung herself onto a moving car driven by Jackie Chan in Supercop, and jumped off a skyscraper with Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies. She had major roles in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Memoirs of a Geisha; and Crazy Rich Asians. She’s done Marvel, Star Trek, Kung Fu Panda, Minions—Avatar, Transformers, and The Witcher are next. But, until Everything Everywhere All at Once, which premiered in March, she had never been No. 1 on a Hollywood call sheet.
She’s clear about why: Asian actors have long been given stereotypical or inconsequential roles, and rarely top billing. “It shouldn’t be about my race, but it has been a battle,” she says, golden baubles on her jacket clanging as she mimics elbowing her way through a crowd. “At least let me try.”
In the following video from Time, Yeoh talks about her evolving career and hitting the “jackpot” as women take control of their own destinies in Hollywood.
Still waiting to return to Star Trek
Michelle Yeoh wrapped up her recurring role during the third season of Star Trek: Discovery in an arc that was to set up her own series. Yeoh’s ‘Section 31’ series was first announced to be in development way back in January 2019. A writers’ room was set up with (pre-pandemic) talk of the show going into production in 2020. Even though other shows moved into production instead, executive producer Alex Kurtzman has continued to hype the Section 31 series, and as recently as May, he confirmed with TrekMovie that it was one of the two shows actively in development, which he hinted at again at Comic-Con in July.
For her part, Yeoh has always spoken glowingly about her time with Star Trek and continues to express optimism about returning for the Section 31 show. Earlier this year she told EW:
I hope, as Alex [Kurtzman] has promised, we are going to do Section 31. Section 31 is that [Star Trek: Discovery] universe but different. It’s wilder. It’s like Mission: Impossible meets Guardians of the Galaxy in space.
In February of this year, executives from Paramount+ stated on the record that there would be “more news on that soon” regarding the Section 31 series; however, there has been no official announcement about the show getting a production order.
Yeoh keeping busy
Even before the Oscar buzz started this year, Michelle Yeoh has been busy and has a number of upcoming projects. She will be appearing in Avatar: The Way of Water, which opens on December 16, and will be back for a number of Avatar sequels. She stars in the brand-new Netflix mini-series The Witcher: Blood Origin, which debuts on December 25th, and she plays a goddess in the upcoming Disney+ series American Born Chinese. And the list goes on—so if Paramount+ really wants a Michelle Yeoh Star Trek show by 2024 (after Picard wraps up), they should act fast.
Until then, here she is doing what she does best in a character profile video for The Witcher: Blood Origin.
Find more from the Star Trek: Universe.