‘Section 31’ Movie Director Says It’s A “Different” Star Trek + New Character Details Revealed

Last week we got some of the first details on the Star Trek: Section 31 streaming movie starring Michelle Yeoh, including the first image. We now have some commentary from the director as well as some detail on that first image, specifically the new character it features.

Director talks Section 31

Star Trek: Section 31 is being directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi who is also the producing director for Star Trek: Discovery. Over the weekend he attended a Wondercon screening of Discovery’s season 5 premiere (which he also directed) and during the follow-up panel discussion, he talked briefly about Section 31.

The movie brings back Michelle Yeoh, who appeared in the first three seasons of Discovery. Her last episode (“Terra Firma, Part 2”) was shot in late 2019 and since that time she has appeared in several TV series and films, including her Oscar-winning role in Everything Everywhere All at Once. Osunsanmi talked about her returning to her Star Trek role of Emperor Georgiou for Section 31, which began filming earlier this year:

“Michelle came in that very first scene that we shot and she just – it was like she had never left. It was incredible. Actually, that was literally what I told her, “Wow, it feels like we just stopped filming with you yesterday.” And so you know what happens in that very first scene is – oh wait, I can’t give that away. [laughs]”

Michelle Paradise and Olatunde Osunsanmi at Wondercon 2024 (TrekMovie)

Yeoh has described it as “Mission: Impossible in space,” and likened the tone to the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. In the Variety piece last week, Section 31 screenwriter said “It was always my goal to deliver an entertaining experience that is true to the universe but appeals to newcomers. I wanted a low barrier of entry so that anybody could enjoy it.”  At Wondercon Osunsanmi also talked about how Section 31 fit in with other Trek shows and movies:

“All these Treks are a little bit different. This one is definitely different, but it’s still Trek and we just finished shooting just a week and a half ago. And it is awesome.”

The official synopsis describes the movie: “Emperor Philippa Georgiou, joins a secret division of Starfleet tasked with protecting the United Federation of Planets and faces the sins of her past.” Georgiou joined Section 31 in the second season of Discovery, but apparently how the infamous organization is portrayed is one of the ways the movie will be different. Executive producer Alex Kurtzman tells Den of Geek Magazine in a new interview, that Section 31 in the new movie is “very different” than the one seen in Discovery season 2, adding “We’re not just repeating the thing that we did already.”

New character details

Last week’s Variety article had a first-look image which we shared here as well. It showed Michelle Yeoh whispering to an interesting-looking character who we could only see from behind. Paramount has now released that image to the press with some extra details in the official caption. We now know the character is named “Dada Noe” and he is played by Joe Pingue.

Michelle Yeoh as Georgiou and Joe Pingue as Dada Noe in Star Trek: Section 31 (Jan Thijs/Paramount+)

We still don’t have any details on who “Dada Noe” is. Canadian actor Joe Pingue was not one of the names officially announced with other members of the cast when Section 31 started filming in January. However, he did get a mention from another member of the cast announcing the end of shooting in March. Pingue has dozens of credits, primarily guest star roles including on The Expanse and Suits, as well as recurring roles in Orphan Black and Station Eleven. Pingue shared the above image on his Instagram with the following message:

Last week we wrapped filming #section31 I can’t begin to describe what a trip it was to play in the Star Trek universe. For now, enjoy this first official image which features the real deal @michelleyeoh_official and my uh….backside. More love and stories to come. What a cracking still!

Joe Pingue

Dada Noe is only the second named character for Section 31, in addition to Georgiou. Last week it was revealed that Kacey Rohl is playing a younger Rachel Garrett, who will eventually meet her fate as captain of the Enterprise-C (from TNG “Yesterday’s Enterprise.”) There are eight more members of the cast in unknown roles: Omari Hardwick, Sam Richardson, Sven Ruygrok, Humberly Gonzalez, Robert Kazinsky, James Hiroyuki Liao, Miku Martineau, and Augusto Bitter.

Waiting on release date

There still isn’t a release date or timeframe for when Section 31 will arrive on Paramount+. The fifth and final season of Discovery wraps up at the end of May. And we just learned season 3 of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is confirmed to be arriving in 2025. With production already complete on Section 31, it could be it arrives ahead of season 3 of Strange New Worlds, possibly even by the end of this year.

The fifth season of the adult animated series Lower Decks is expected to arrive later this year on Paramount+. And the second season of Star Trek: Prodigy will be released this year on Netflix as well. The new YA-focused live-action Starfleet Academy series doesn’t start shooting until late summer and may not arrive until 2026.


Keep up with news for the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.

 

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Dada Noe is a very Star Wars sounding name! Can’t wait for this movie, love Michelle Yeoh. Such charisma. I know a lot of people hate her character and call her “space hitler” but to me she was the best part of Discovery and the show suffered when she left.

I know a few people in real life with the name Noe.

Sounds like a Bond villain to me!

I’m very down for her. Yeah, I don’t like the character, but let’s see how it goes as a launch point. I think this might be good fodder for the campy style that they went with in the Mirror Universe.

Sounds like Data Node. Lol

I’m cautiously optimistic about the movie and while we know very little everything we have heard so far has been a positive for me at least.

And I just read another interview about it from Kurtzman who made clear it won’t be the Section 31 from Discovery which sounds to me we’re getting the original, more underground and secret version again. If so that’s amazing news.

Agreed. It has to be better than their configuration.

Yeah. Given the timeframe, this puts things in the 24th century again, circa 2320 or thereabouts. It’s not canon, but Garrett is supposed to be born around 2300; we do know she became captain of the 1701-C at some point prior to 2344, when the C vanished into the temporal rift into the ‘bad’ alternate 2366.

So if we have a younger Garrett in the show who’s in her twenties, she would be a junior officer, maybe just recently graduated from the Academy. And Section 31 would again be the shadowy organization we later see in DS9.

I’d be okay if in this era they were less evil. That might be a nice change of pace…

Ricky loves the headline! “…It’s A “Different” Star Trek…” – one nobody asked for! DISCUSS!

Guardians of the Galaxy? Oh, yikes. That’s actually the wrong vibe for a Section 31 movie. Section 31 are not the good guys.

It’s definitely the wrong tone. It should not be a comedy.

People like to laugh though.

Everything is not so black and white. Section 31 are the not so bad guys if they’re fighting against the real bad guys at their level to protect the real good guys, aka the Federation. Sometimes you need to break the rules for the greater good… The end justifies the means, depending on the end and the means.

Do you get to take up arms against the Union if the Confederate states had as their main principle that black men should all be free men? Because such a stand is ethically right, doesn’t that transcend government or conventional ‘sides?’
(i’m just paraphrasing an exchange from THE ANDERSONVILLE TRIAL, but you get the idea.)

The justification for every atrocity committed by tinpot despots throughout history. Who gets to decide where to draw those lines, let alone who the real good and bad guys are? You?

I’ll pass, thanks.

Which is why I tempered my statement with “depending on the end and the means”. The problem is the “bad” guys do whatever they need to to achieve their nefarious ends. Their potential for harm is unimpeded. If the “good” guys are stuck in red tape before they do anything, the bad guys are going to get their ways. Rules are made to be broken isn’t a cliché for nothing. Again depends which rules and when. “Who gets to decide where to draw those lines, let alone who the real good and bad guys are?” I completely agree.

That jumped out at me too. Why can’t the tone be Star Trek instead of a completely different franchise?

100% agree with you Trellium G. I very much don’t like it when they describe or pitch a new Star Trek production by comparing to a different franchise that isn’t Star Trek.

It’s very disappointing when you come to find out that the original concept for Star Trek Picard’s second season or the original script by Bob Orci for the third (Kelvinverse/JJ Abrams) Star Trek movie were rejected because they were “too Star Trekkie.” Can someone remind the people in charge that this IS Star Trek and not something else.

If someone wants to make Guardians of the Galaxy, then call up Disney and Marvel Studios and pitch them your idea for a new Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

As a general rule of thumb, Star Trek shouldn’t try to be something else that isn’t. Star Trek should be Star Trek. Inspiration can be drawn from great literary works or classic WWII films such as “Run Silent, Run Deep,” but Star Trek should not be copying or mimicking other franchises.

Hopefully Section 31 will be inspired or similar to Guardians of the Galaxy but not necessarily mimicking aspects of it, like we’ve seen the writers on Discovery, Picard, and even Strange New Worlds mimic other franchises.

ST has been apeing ‘star wars’ with the movies for years

I very much don’t like it when they describe or pitch a new Star Trek production by comparing to a different franchise that isn’t Star Trek.

In fairness, though, that’s not endemic to Star Trek. It’s been how Hollywood works since decades before Star Trek existed. At pitch meetings, writers will often describe new concepts in terms of other franchises. “It’s Murder She Wrote meets The Fugitive.” “It’s Indiana Jones, but with a Casablanca motif.” And so on. Heck, even Star Trek was sold to the networks with the phrase “It’s Wagon Train to the stars.” TV shows are created, pitched, and marketed by how similar they are to other shows. That has always happened and it will always happen. I have no issue with that since I see it all the time at work. What I ***do*** have an issue with is when the comparisons make no sense, as with Section 31 and the Guardians of the Galaxy. That just means the people involved don’t understand the property they’re writing.

The whole “Guardians Of The Galaxy” reference is meant to appeal to Guardian movie fans, nothing more.
They want eyeballs in front of this film, period.

As much as I agree with this, that ship has sailed.

GoTG was about a bunch of outlaws and killers

Sounds pretty cool to me.

But does it sound like Star Trek?

People actually liked Guardians of the Galaxy. Don’t knock it.

When did I knock Guardians of the Galaxy? I didn’t.

Honestly? At this point it’s fine. What they did with it in Disco kind of ruined the mystery anyway, so just embrace it and let’s go have some fun.

I just hope it isn’t a “quippy” and “zippy” tone like every Marvel movie, where the characters are all sassy and sarcastic just for the sake of making the public laugh. Every time the writers at SH try to write quippy dialog, it’s just nauseating. Their jokes – not funny. “Yum yum” comes to mind.

Er… “new character details”?
So… a name. For *one* character. And nothing else.

Looking forward to this – I’m still of the opinion that this is aimed squarely at the international market, so it’s natural for it to have a different look and feel. It’ll offend some sensibilities, they’ll just have to get over it.

As an international Trekkie I agree with this. This can be a possible gateway to the Asian market where Trek and even Star Wars are quite weak.

What exactly does “All these Treks are a little bit different. This one is definitely different, but it’s still Trek” mean? How is Section 31 different?

Does he mean different in the sense that the main cast are not members of Starfleet, or different is some other way, such as tone, pacing, and style? Star Trek: Prodigy’s first season, albeit intentionally aimed at younger audiences, was not based around a Starfleet crew.

I wonder why these current show runners feel the need to make all of these “different” Treks, instead of simply making just making good old-fashion Star Trek, like they’ve achieved with Strange New Worlds? Discovery and Picard (especially the first season of Picard) both felt so dark and unfamiliar to the Star Trek I grew up enjoying in the 90s and early 2000s. At first, I was not interested in a Section 31 series or movie, but the announcement that Kacey Rohl is playing a younger Rachel Garrett honestly has been intrigued.

I’ve always loved the Enterprise-C, Captain Garrett, and Lt. Richard Castillo, so anything that sheds a bit more light into the backstory of Captain Garrett definitely peeks my interest. I hope Section 31 won’t be too “different” and be a well-written enjoyable film. The fact that it will be a movie rather than tv series, has me hopeful that the story will be tight and well-paced rather than dragged out like Star Trek: Picard’s first two seasons were.

I agree that it’s annoying that every new creative direction the franchise takes is supposed to be “different” in the sense of trying to compare it to existing franchises. But in rare praise I’m about to give for Secret Hideout, I think they were right to do Discovery as this dark, action heavy, serialized show. The problem is that it wasn’t good, and the writing was terrible and the characters insufferable. I think if they had made good, interesting characters, good stories, like Battlestar Galactica, we would all be lauding it for updating the Trek formula for modern audiences. Instead we got schlock. At the same time, I don’t see why they would make five identical shows either, so yes, I think their approach is right to make different kinds of shows. I just wish at least one of them was good Star Trek like we all knew and loved.

I think Discovery was hampered somewhat by all the behind the scenes drama after Fuller left in season one. They were stuck with the creative decisions he made and had to make the best of it.

As for the complaints about every new creative direction being ‘different’ I see that as a positive. Would you prefer they just kept making all of the same type of show?

I love Michelle Yeoh, but I just have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of some sort of redemption arc for a character that pretty much made Darth Vader and Hitler look like boy scouts when it came to death count. Yeoh’s great performance aside, the character was written to comic book levels of evil in the beginning of the mirror universe storyline to make her a believable protaganist. And for the record, I was also always bothered with the redemption arc of Vader, the guy murdered billions but he gets to still go to Jedi Heaven because he tossed Palpatine down a giant shaft. Anyways, some of what is coming out of this production (bringing Rachel Garrett back e.g.) has me interested, so I wish nothing but the best for this production and look forward to seeing how they navigate Georgiou’s development.

Mirror universe Spock also got ‘red on his ledger’ but was redeemed as someone who could turn the Terran empire around.

I am fine with the idea of a redemption arc. Play it up as nature vs nurture and seed it over a long period of time where she starts to thaw but still has an edge – they did it with Seven, that’s a perfect template. Have her realize the merit of empathy and compassion and Starfleet values and form friendships beyond Burnham.

They did none of that. They had her act like she never wanted to be there, antagonize everyone, fixate on Burnham because she reminded her of hers, and then suddenly at the end she is redeemed and getting hugged because she can’t stay in the Prime Universe so far in the future. They practically gaslit the audience by saying she was on a redemption arc this whole time. Through sheer force of talent, Yeoh pulls off a lot in her last two episodes, but none of it was set up properly. All the time they wasted on her needling people or goofing off with Linus for some reason etc. Emperor Georgiou is Exhibit A when discussing how Discovery was muddling its way through things.

I always felt that for Vaders redemption, he was only redeemed in Luke’s eyes and not for the entire galaxy. Plus killing a tyrant emperor who is probably responsible for much more deaths than Vader should count for something.

We certainly need a different Star Trek. The same old Trek is pretty boring and will not generate new and younger fans. Thank goodness for Discovery, it made me a Trek fan again.

I saw TMP at 5 or 6 years old and that was what made me a lifelong fan. That movie got me interested in TOS and then every show and movie that followed until the current version of Trek happened. I mean, I’m still a Star Trek fan, but the newer stuff seems like it is trying to be everything except Star Trek. Just my opinion.

I hope this is good. I love Michelle Yeoh. The one thing that’s encouraging is that it’s not intersecting with eras previously explored. Does this mean we get the monster maroons???

While I’m looking forward to this, I’m tiring of the “this is an [even more!] different Trek.” Arguably, the two most successful Kurtzman-era Trek productions, Picard Season 3 and Strange New Worlds, have returned in large part to proven formulas that bring old fans back en masse while attracting new fans (as evidenced by my 13 and 12-year old boys).

Why do different?

I think this in large part of Academy, the Trek show no one asked for, while there’s a literal campaign to do Legacy. Trek leads say it’s all about the fans while ignoring, in large part, what the fans want.

Some fans seem to think they can turn these shows around at the snap of a finger. That once an idea is trending they should just drop what they are doing and chase that instead. Academy was simply further along in development and made it to production. Maybe being able to reuse some of the sets from Discovery also makes it cheaper. The main barrier to a Legacy show right now seems to be Paramount and their financial difficulties.

My guess would be Thanksgiving 2024 for its release. (Unless Yellowstone is ready first.)

I hope that I will enjoy this. I was not a big fan of Emperor Georgiou or the writers making Section 31 into a mainstream part of Starfleet Intelligence. Also, please don’t have Garrett or anyone else know of her fate on the Enterprise-C.