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.
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Michelle Yeoh yes. She is a good actress. Section 31 show, NO. Enough polluting the soul of Star Trek.
Section 31 does make sense in universe. Federation /Starfleet needs something against the Tal Shiar or the Obsidian Order.
Starfleet needs a secret police?
That’s what Starfleet Intelligence is for.
Point taken. Thought it was an interesting concept.
Oh, I think a Star Trek spy series would be an interesting concept, too, though I’m sure why it would have to focus on S31. Unless they’re the bad guys, I guess.
The Federation absolutely does not need S31. But, considering all of the evil admirals who are willing to betray the Federation’s ideals for the good of the Federation, it honestly isn’t that surprising that S31 exists.
I agree completely. Michelle Yeoh is a wonderful action star, but Section 31 is not something I want to see Star Trek build an entire series around.
She’s probably too busy (and too expensive) for more Trek, but if she likes Trek and wants to come back, create a NEW role for her, not the evil emperor who ate Kelpiens.
Definitely agree! You know how much I hate Adolf, one of the worst characters created out of Star Trek for me. It was Ok when I thought she would be in a few episodes in first season, but trying to put her in her own show was just utterly stupid. 🙄
But I really like Yeoh and like many was happy she joined Star Trek. I really liked the original Georgiou in those first two episodes. She could’ve been one of my favorite captains like Janeway and Picard is today. But they killed her off in two episodes and gave us three seasons of this genocidal manic instead.
I been saying for two years now the Section 31 is probably dead and two years on my record stands lol.
Of course if they make it, I’ll give it a chance but no one is begging for this show and they know it like no one is really begging for more JJ verse movies.
We want actual Star Trek and since we been really getting that with LDS, SNW and PRO, make more shows like these please. Crossing my fingers Picard season 3 will finally deliver too.
I agree about both Section 31 and the Kelvin movies. Sure if either gets made, everyone here will watch them, but there isn’t a real push or excitement for either project anymore and they seem to recognize that. Now it’s not to say people won’t like or love them if they are made, but why push for things you know the fanbase is more ‘meh’ on when you can do things that truly excites them like Picard (when it was first announced ;)) or SNW? I mean fans seem much more excited in wanting a Janeway show or just a 25th century show in general then those ideas.
Of course with the Kelvin movies, it’s more about how well it will do at the BO (and its a very valid question because frankly I don’t see it doing anymore than Beyond at this point even if people really like it.). S31 probably has a lot of issues, mostly it’s division among fans (as this board is proving lol), Yeoh schedule (but if she really wanted to do it, she would make time to do it obviously or why sign up to do it in the first place?) and yes just having very different projects now that has paid off critically like Prodigy and SNW.
I think that’s another thing, the shows have become more ‘Trek’y’ since this was originally announced and they may want to just stay in that direction since it’s actually working. It’s why Picard season 3 sounds like it’s really just TNG season 8. They are doing the things most fans want to see.
I think the reason Discovery and Picard failed in the beginning for a lot of fans besides just being badly written shows is that they were too dark and cynical. They felt too grimdark and not Star Trek enough and it put off a lot of people.
And that’s probably what the Section 31 show would’ve been like too, more dark and edgy stuff. But most fans don’t want that. They want more upbeat, optimistic and cheery.
That’s why we have a show like SNW now with softie Pike cooking for his crew with his little apron on and making dad jokes every episode. SNW isn’t trying to be dark or edgy. It’s more light and fun. It has a wholesome tone like TNG does (Picard doesn’t cook for anyone though lol). It can have darker episodes like the Gorn stuff but the show is something kids can watch like how kids watched TOS and TNG back in the day.
And it doesn’t take itself so seriously. That’s why it’s the perfect show to crossover with Lower Decks because that show doesn’t take itself that seriously either. 😂
This is the kind of stuff most fans want and why it’s so popular now. It’s a light but well written show that feels like TOS, TNG and VOY again of people just exploring the unknown. Kurtzman is a total hack but he does listen and he knew people wanted light, fun and optimistic stories again. That’s why it, LDS and PRO are a hit for fans.
That doesn’t sound like what Section 31 would be at all.
LOL softie Pike. That’s pretty funny but he does come off more like a dad to his crew versus the other captains although Janeway comes off like a mother at times too.
But yeah, I fully agree. I think SNW is more successful to the base is besides just telling more Star Trek stories again like the classic shows, it is a very upbeat and optimistic show. Again, same reason I think people fell for Lower Decks. If both of these shows came at different times, maybe they wouldn’t be as praised as much. But LDS showed up after two very dark shows where their prior seasons were literally trying to wipe out the galaxy. It was such a nice tone to have a show you can just laugh with and go back to simpler and upbeat stories again. That’s why I became so fond of it so quickly. It not only felt like classic Star Trek again, it was also just telling fun and basic stories I really missed.
As for SNW, it was no contest what fans wanted every time it and Section 31 was mentioned. It was just a no-brainer to make that show over the one that starred Space Hitler. Everyone seems to really love Yeoh but her character was very divisive and that never changed until she left the show. And I also agree the show would’ve been more dark and the fans were basically screaming they don’t want more dark Star Trek, they want fun and feel good Star Trek again, so they delivered.
Again, this is not new thing. Same thing happened with DS9 and VOY. People did like DS9 but many felt it was just too dark at the time and wanted something more TNG again and Voyager was that answer. DS9 became more popular as it went on, but it was a very divisive show in its beginning too and so the producers heard them and made a more Trek-y show again just like we got with SNW. End of the days fans like to be challenged but they still want their comfort food Star Trek like we got with shows like VOY and now SNW.
The biggest issue I seen about SNW other than they are just retelling a lot of old Trek episodes and that is it’s probably a little TOO lightweight at times. It needs a bit more edge. But that’s probably just compensating for shows like PIC and DIS having too much early on. And if those are the biggest complaints about your show then it’s not exactly anything you need to throw your show 900 years into the future for. ;)
IF they do make a Section 31 show, they have to find a way of putting S31 back into hiding where no one knows about them. They should have never been out in the open the way they were
Agreed. I do think that was another reason people were put off with them in Discovery. But I have also said this in the past and that is it’s probably too hard to make something like that a full on show if it’s completely cut off from Starfleet and they probably wanted it to make it more friendlier and partners with Starfleet and not enemies like how they were portrayed on DS9, Enterprise and STID.
That’s the entire issue with Section 31, they ARE the bad guys in the Star Trek universe. You can argue more of an antagonist at times but when you have stories with them trying to cause genocide of a race to win a war, yeah, you’re going to look pretty bad on a show like this.
So I think that was the reason, make S31 in line with Starfleet for the future show so they can look more presentable. Even Pike didn’t have a real issue with them, but it went against what made them interesting in the first place. I love S31 but it’s probably something you DON’T turn into a TV show with a base where probably half the fans sees them as evil or being in the wrong.
And having Space Hitler the face of the show just rubs a lot of people the wrong way for very valid reasons.
That’s why I’ve always said IF they do make this show – and hopefully if they do it’s a limited mini-series – we find that the Guardian of Forever did not send Georgiou back to DSC’s original time. Put her some place new where Section 31 the agency is now covert.
You don’t get what you want. You get what you need !
Yeah, I’m fine with continuing to recycle the actors in their 60’s thru 80’s, plus the middle school humor animated characters. We don’t need anything new or serious, and we certainly don’t need any worldwide iconic actors.
Let’s instead go with an Admiral Janeway series and a live action, Mariner-based Trek sitcom.
Oh I see what you’re doing.
Congrats to Michelle Yeoh on winning Time Magazine’s Icon of the Year.
I’m not sure she’ll ever be returning to Star Trek tbh. She has always been very successful, but she’s becoming more and more in-demand and her star has been on the mega rise since her work with Marvel and the success of Crazy Rich Asians. She may even be an Oscar winner for EEAAO by the end of Feb next year.
Does anyone really think someone would win an Oscar and then jump back into a Star Trek show?
*Edit: Actors can demand more money per award nomination/win they receive, so after this coming awards season will they even be able to afford her?
Depends I guess. Sounds like she loves working with the Star Trek people. Plus they only do 10 episodes now instead of 26 like in the past.
Shorter seasons doesn’t necessarily mean shorter shooting schedules. For instance, they started shooting season 3 of DISCO in July 2019 and finished at the end of Feb 2020. That’s about 8 months.
Now off-course each actor would not be needed on set every single day; they’d try to shoot the scenes they appear in for an episode in blocks and out of order, or schedule the scenes in relation to whatever location or set they were using for efficiency. So let’s say there’s a particular location that appears over three episodes – Federation headquarters – they’ll shoot all of those Fed HQ scenes together over a week or two with the actors involved in those scenes, but then shooting the scenes out of order in relation to who appears and when – for example it could be scene 1 from ep 1 with Michael and Vance, then scene 12 from ep 2 with those two again, then back to some scenes from ep 1 if a new actor is featured in those scenes like Saru, and then scene 3 from ep 3 with Michael, Vance and Saru etc.
So yes, not needed for 8 whole months, but actors do need to be available during that entire period in case anything changes; a location falls through or scenes are pulled forward or re-shoots are necessary because of re-casting etc. That’s a long time to be committed to a project, especially when you’re a hot property.
Whoopi Goldberg won an Oscar for Ghost and still did TNG before and after it. She was more of a recurring character though.
I think it’s a little different for Whoopi. She specifically asked Roddenberry to create that role for her as she wanted to be part of the legacy because of the impact Nichelle Nichols had on her life. She was already an A-lister at the time so obviously it was a no-brainer to write her in.
She also rarely filmed for more than a day or two at a time. When they were making “I, Borg” there was a scramble to make the scheduling work to be able to have Guinan scenes.
Whoopi left herself out of the credits at times to make herself available because her scale rate was so high.
Wow I didn’t know this, very cool of her to do that for them, obviously a labor of love for her.
Yeah I didn’t know that either. It really shows how much she just wanted to be part of the franchise! And it’s nice 20 years later she still wants to come back like in Picard. :)
Also it meant something to her personally tho in a way it might not for Yeoh.
Al Pacino has been trying to call you today…
Congratulation to Ms. Yeoh. Section 31 seems to be stuck in the same “in development” purgatory the STIV is. It’s good to not be hurting for work….
Love Michelle! I’ll only be excited about a Section 31 show though if it is a vehicle to bring back more legacy characters following on from Season 3 of PICARD.
Seven of Nine and Raffi should carry over. Doctor Bashir had a Section 31 connection so he is a link to DS9 and with Seven ‘s connection to Voyager, surely they could bring a lot of ST alumni back along the way.
They may just do a ‘retro future’ show like Picard and not do Section 31 at all since Michelle will be very expensive the more popular she gets. Kurtzman will have to release some news of new series soon; Picard is in the can and finished.
No wonder Trek has stagnated and become nothing more than a nostalgia-fest when the only thing fans seem to want is “legacy characters” instead of, you know, moving the franchise forward.
A lot of the old school fans here want nothing new. Just the same regurgitated trek over and over again. Luckily they’re in the minority now.
They should never have killed off Capt. Georgiou. She should have been kept on as a foil for the Discovery crew in the way that Capt. Hernandez was on Enterprise.
The emperor was much more fun than the captain. Captain Georgiou was a pretty typical Starfleet captain. Emperor Georgiou was a much more unique character.
How could you tell after one pilot episode? I also wish there was still a Captain Georgiou. I’ll take Michelle Yeoh in any form, obviously, but I immediately saw great potential in Captain Georgiou. Far more (in an aspirational sense) than from Emperor Georgiou.
Paramount was stupid to not green light S31. She is a wonderful actress with tons of talent. But all we get is Old Man Picard and his aging friends. Sigh!
Ahh yes, ageism.
The show and character is very divisive in the fanbase and they know it. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen but it’s obviously not a priority anymore. And you can’t blame Picard, you have to blame SNW, since that was the show that replaced it since Section 31 was suppose to be the next live action show after Picard. It’s still crazy that was the very first show announced after Discovery.
It could be the show after Picard leaves next year but everyone is talking about a spin off for that show these days. That’s the show most fans seem most excited about for obvious reasons.
I would have preferred S31 to SNW. SNW is fine, but it is the fifth show about the Enterprise exploring strange new worlds. And this one doesn’t even have (mostly) original characters or an original Enterprise. Its just a rehash of what we’ve had a million times before. S31 would have been an entirely new kind of Star Trek show. And it would have had Michelle Yeoh.
See this is the irony for me, if you asked me BEFORE season 2 of Discovery started which one I would’ve preferred, I too would’ve said Section 31 and it wouldn’t have been close. Because like you said, we already had 3 other shows (and 13 films) with an Enterprise in it. And sure nothing beats having the original ship but to me, it sounded like another prequel I had zero interest in. If they made another Enterprise show, do Enterprise F or beyond that. I didn’t need another prequel/reboot Enterprise project after Enterprise and the Kelvin movies. I was all done going backwards for the fourth damn time. And yes S31 would’ve at least been original and maybe a lot of fun. So I was all for it.
But then we got season 2 of Discovery and that flipped easily for me. Because they got Pike and Spock SO right IMO and Section 31 SO wrong. And that season sort of became the bellwether for a lot of fans I think. And the biggest irony Section 31 was such a big part of the season because it was meant to be a spin off to the next show in a way. Maybe not directly, but just introducing them again was meant to get fans excited about the spin off and really did the opposite for many. Meanwhile Pike and company was mostly there to give Discovery TOS cred but they weren’t being prepped for a spin off like Section 31 was.
But the fans have spoken and why we are now anxiously waiting for season 2 of SNW while no one can determine if S31 will even happen four years on.
Well, there’s no question she could carry a movie now is there?
I say bring back the idea of a Georgiou rescuing the Kelvin Universe movie or something along those lines.
S31 helping the Bureau of Temporal Investigations protect the Federation across timelines would be great.
And for those who said she already did that in Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, my answer is no. That movie was about one immediate family and the pressures and expectations on the next generation. Very different from Georgiou, who tried to save her Burnham and her Empire but it was a long lost cause.
To be honest, I still think a movie would be risky. Yeoh is popular but I don’t know if anyone wants to hang a $150+ movie on her either. That’s the thing, she’s in tons of projects but in pretty much all of them even now they are supporting roles. EEAAO is really her first starring role in, at least in western movies.
But if they can make it much cheaper (under $100 million), maybe that would be feasible and roll the dice. But the way Paramount has been handling these movies for 6 years now, it will probably just be cancelled like the others, especially since its usually money why they keep getting cancelled. ;)
And that’s another thing, nothing stops them from putting in a bigger star in these movies if they feel like they need a real ‘name’ to drive attendance. That was literally why they wanted Hemsworth in the fourth one and yet it still didn’t happen. I don’t think star power or who directs it is the issue, Paramount just doesn’t have any real faith in those movies because we would’ve had the Hemsworth or Tarantino movie if that was the case.
Meanwhile Paramount will have made three Transformers and Mission Impossible movies each since Beyond came out while the fifth Trek project has been cancelled yet again lol. That really tells you everything unfortunately.
I still think whatever contract they have with JJ Abrams / Bad Robot is constraining their options.
It should have run out the clock by now.
Out of all the casting with Discovery, without a doubt I was most ecstatic about Yeoh’s casting. It gave Star Trek star power in a way all the other shows didn’t before IMO. I still remember the first time I saw her was in a Jackie Chan movie and was in awe of her fighting skills. Thirty years later, she’s doing it and more projects than ever!
Jason Issacs wasn’t a slouch…..
No he wasn’t, but in all honesty I only heard of Issacs when he did Harry Potter. And even then I couldn’t tell you his name when he was doing those movies but certainly liked him. But he got on my radar much more after Harry Potter and was doing more TV shows.
Supercop/Policy Story 3! She’s amazing in that movie – the stunts she crazily did herself are insane.
One side of my family is Malaysian-born Chinese, so she’s always practically been an honorary auntie for me. Seeing her success in Hollywood, particularly this year, has been so heartwarming.
She just got way too expensive for Star Trek.
Honestly, I’d rather see her make more wild and interesting stuff like Everything Everywhere than do a Section 31 series. And a lot of other projects before playing that terrible character again.
I hope her holding deal expires soon. This S31 business has been excruciating. Good for her getting that free money, though.
Kudos to Michelle Yeoh – every accolade is much-deserved. Whatever happens with S31 – if the project ever actually gets pulled out of the “development black hole” – I would much prefer a limited mini-series. It could be five to six episodes, something to wrap up the Georgiou character with a real redemption arc, while introducing other characters that could lead off an actual series.
The way I see it Yeoh is just getting too big for Star Trek at this stage, especially if she wins an Oscar. The only way I could see her continuing involvement with Trek in the future would either be a miniseries of some sort of a full fledged movie. I can’t really see her having a regular tv show role with the fact that she is so much in demand now.
I really hope to see more of Georgiou!
Section 31 is an interesting idea that does make sense, the whole idea of people doing whatever it takes to uphold the Federation’s ideals… and in a way, Georgiou is suitable for that – she did whatever it took to uphold the Terran Empire and, even though it did work, there are other consequences.
I really think showing the internal politics of the Federation and Section 31 could flesh out the Star Trek universe, or even just showing more of the Mirror Universe.
We don’t need section 31 show anymore
I adore the woman! Discovery is a much poorer show without her; they really need a more sarcastic, cynical character to counterbalance all the lovieness and feels. I’d love to see her get a show on Trek, but there’s no reason it HAS to be a Section 31 show. I’d rather they rethink the concept if it ever in fact gets closer to production. Some series with a redemptive theme and maybe a slightly different take on Trek would be cool.
I saw this and thought it was a replacement for their Person of the Year. Turns out this is something else.
Anyway… Not sure many even care about Time Magazine anymore.
…and she just booked a role in the movie adaptation of Wicked. The woman is not slowing down to be readily available for a Star Trek show. They are lucky she is happy to mix up TV and film projects still. But they may well have gone from not knowing how to properly use a beloved icon who was happy to be there and camp it up, to missing the boat on ever getting to more than a mini series with an Oscar nominee.
Section 31 goes against EVERYTHING Gene believed it…but then at least STRANGE NEW WORLDS is the closest we’ve gotten to Gene Roddenberry’s STAR TREK in DECADES…
The only thing Gene believed in was Money.
I can’t wait for a real trek show like S31. I’m getting sick of all the nostalgia trek.
Somebody said it… I’m down for a fanservice-y scene here and there, but it’s just way too much now. It would be nice to have something different and original to push the franchise forward, many newer fans were introduced to Trek by these new shows, and we don’t feel nostalgic to TOS or TNG.
Nobody wants that S31 show
Sure kid sure. See you at the premier.