Sonequa Martin-Green Talks About Exhausting Last Day On Set For ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

In early 2023, and months after production finished on season 5 of Star Trek: Discovery, the cast and crew were notified it would be their last season. Paramount then gave them a chance to return to the set to film a “coda” to turn the season finale into a series finale. In the brand new issue of Star Trek: Explorer magazine, series star Sonequa Martin-Green talks about what it was like during the last day on set shooting that coda.

Season 5 was a “difficult story to tell” for Martin-Green

Speaking to Star Trek: Explorer, Martin-Green talked about how the fifth season posed new challenges for her:

“They wanted this to be like an Indiana Jones-type adventure. Though what we’re dealing with is big, intense, serious, and impactful, we also try our best to have fun throughout it. There is a sense of leaping forward in season five. I wish I could say more, because it was a difficult story to tell for me, if I’m being brutally honest. There are these little keys I was able to latch onto. Even though what we’re dealing with is so big, the fact that there is that sense of fun and adventure is helpful. People will be glad that element and tone are there because it’s a departure from season four, which courageously was meant to mirror what the world was going through during the pandemic.”

Sonequa Martin-Green as Burnham in Star Trek: Discovery (Michael Gibson/Paramount+)

The actress also revealed what it was like when they returned to the set to film the additional footage to wrap up the series:

“How can I describe that last day? It was momentous. We wrapped in November of 2022, and went back in April of 2023 to do additional shooting. When we were up there (in Toronto) doing this, it was a mad dash because we had a limited amount of time. We were gunning it, and it was great because we went big and then we went home. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I don’t know how else to say it, but we just pounded the pavement. We went for it. We gave our all in those last days of shooting, in those last hours. We had given everything that we had. We were so exhausted that we were delirious and disoriented, but also giddy and sad – all of us at the same time – and so we cried together. There was a lot of crying together. We spoke blessings over each other, we read letters and poems, and we hugged. It’s crazy because you assume that you will see some of the people again.”

Martin-Green also confirmed that final take was a “Michael scene.”

Star Trek Explorer #11 out today

Star Trek Explorer #11 arrived on Today, April 9 in the USA and Canada (and arrives on May 9 in the UK and Ireland). In addition to Sonequa Martin-Green, the new issue also has an exclusive interview with Star Trek: Prodigy co-creators Dan and Kevin Hageman. There are also 2 exclusive Star Trek: Picard short fiction stories: “Confirmation Bias” about a “difficult encounter” with Captain Shaw and Seven by Michael Dismuke,  and “Dignified Transfer” by David Mack about “a sad mission for Captain Picard.”

Here are the newsstand and exclusive covers…

You can find the issue on newsstands and comic book stores. You can also subscribe and buy issues directly from Titan.

Keep up with news for the Star Trek Universe at

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Being from the GTA, I hope Martin-Green and the rest of the cast enjoyed their time in Toronto. It is too bad so much of the shooting took place during the pandemic, but I hope the cast and crew had some chance to enjoy the city.

It has been a really tough road for Discovery, mainly because of some poor writing, but I hope the Discovery crew are proud of the work they produced and a legacy of spawning SNW, Picard, S31, Shorty Treks, LDs and Prodigy. IMHO, the show had to slog through some abominable (but well intentioned) first few episodes. As Kurtzman recently admitted, Star Trek must always take into account the feelings of the legacy fans and Fuller seemed to forget that before he was turfed.

After trying to redeem itself and Burnham with an improved last half of S1 and a pretty decent S2, the show completely reinvented itself with S3. SNW and Picard were greenlit and that allowed Discovery to really target an expanded new and progressive audience, but IMHO the writers let the actors down with some really bad substandard stories. Some of the episodes were great like Adira’s and Georgiou’s backstories and they brought in some great talent like Tig Notaro, but sadly IMHO the rest of S3 and S4 were disappointedly underwhelming and quite honestly a little painful to watch.

As for S5, so far so good, cautiously optimistic and hope Discovery can go out on a high note.

Per usual I pretty much agreed with everything you said DeanH. I know everyone had their hearts in the right place when making this show but yeah it’s been a very rough four seasons to say the least.

But I give the show a lot of credit for really taking chances I don’t think any other show has done since DS9 frankly. The results were very mixed overall however but I still think jumping to the far future was one of the boldest things it did and FINALLY took Trek im a very different direction many of us wanted since Voyager ended.

Even though I really do blame the reception of the last two seasons on the showrunner and writers I also think Discovery has had some of the most Trek-y concepts we haven’t seen in a long time as well including this season.

And yes I have enjoyed the first two episodes overall and I’m really hoping the rest of the season stay at this level. I truly want this show to go out with a bang the way Picard did IMO.

I don’t know if I will ever truly like this show but I know others do and that’s all that matters. We have plenty of Trek these days and enough to last a lifetime to pick and choose our personal tastes.

And this show will take its place with all the others for a lifetime as well.

With respect, I think taking the show 900 years into the future was the opposite of bold. It not only abandoned the premise of being a prequel, but it made no sense how a crew and ship from nearly a thousand years ago could have any relevance or impact in the modern day. The premise is flimsy and it’s hard to sustain interest when the the logic portion of my brain is constantly saying, “wait but…..”.

I prefer going forward over another prequel any day of the week so I’m very biased in that regard.

But yes I think it’s very bold to go beyond everything we’ve ever known and has to imagine something we never seen before and basically reset the universe versus just filling in stuff we already know and still doing a poor job with it at that.

But that’s my opinion only. And I think SMW has filled in that spot much better even if still doing some whacky things with canon.

And yes they could do a better job with the 32nd century and my issue with it as well.

You know me and I always want to move forward and not back. And I get that was the premise here and as i mention above I get why they did it. But as I also mention this decision will have an opposite effect on the over all franchise. Now every Trek show that comes out that is not the Academy will have to be a prequel to DISCO.

To be honest I just don’t really see it that way because Discovery is so far in the future it really has no effect on anything until you get into the 31st century.

Remember when people were theorizing that the first season of Picard was going to somehow set up the Burn in Discovery? I argued there was no way that was going to happen because the writers aren’t crazy enough to now set 800 years of potential stories in stone because everything after that would have to be part of that storyline, even if it’s just in the background.

That would make every show on feel like an actual prequel. I think that word is thrown around too flagrantly. Of course I understand why but Discovery has really no ties to anything until the 31st century.

One thing I was a bit surprised about is that they let the Burn last so long (over a century) because it obviously has a longer effect on the universe. I thought it would be a few decades at best but I guess they really wanted to show the galaxy in dire trouble I guess.

But yes it is a thin line and they obviously know this. That’s why they are so vague with everything post Picard. They don’t want to put future stories in a corner by throwing out ideas like Klingon empire was wiped out in the 27th century and so on.

So unless something fundamentalist changes I don’t see it that way. Discovery is basically treated like it’s own period and that no show is building up to it in any way because it’s all so far away. And we already know the Burn isn’t some complex Federation downfall that took eons of buildup to happen, just a crying Kelpian kid.

But this is just how I see it.

No worries we all see it in our own OPs till TPTB come out with something LOL.

I get that Discovery is SO FAR in the future. And also I would argue the same argument I made to you also applies to Daniel’s in Enterprise because he showed us a future that was so far advanced that other shows did not to adhere. So I totally get what you mean!

But in a way, that’s ,my point sorta. Daniel’s, even though he was so far in the future, set precedent as to what the future should be. And Discovery, a show that came IRL followed it. And rather than just saying, “ok, this is what is established…” they obliterated it.

Fair enough. And you’re right the show did basically retcon things we saw with Daniel’s in the 31st century. I still would love to see him again actually but I stopped holding my breath on that years ago lol.

I tend to agree. Their hearts seemed to be in the right place, but they ended up doubling down on the problem. As you say, the ship should have had zero relevance other than nostalgia in the 32nd so they created the burn and destroyed everything (literally) to make them relevant. And in so doing they threw our 24th century canon such as non-Warp FTL and Enterprise era Daniel’s tech from the future to do it. Add to this that now every single show that comes after this will be a prequel to DISCO which means there are certain rules that will always have to be in place like Earth and Vulcan will always be ok, humanity will survive, etc.. .

Now I should make this very clear, while I was happy to hear that the show was going into the future, but it’s not something I was ever pushing for either. I firmly accepted the show being in the 23rd century and had no problems if it stayed there.

And season 2 is actually still my favorite season. So I was more than fine it stayed there but I still believe it was probably better it jumped to the future for no other reason the canon stuff would’ve just been more of a mess. They didn’t want to give up the spore drive, the super magical tech everyone assumed they were going to get rid of after the first season. Five seasons later and it’s still there lol. But at least it’s in an era it makes sense to belong in.

And they probably just wanted to do their own thing. It was Fuller who wanted it there. Once he was gone it was obvious they didn’t seem that committed to his ideas and wanted to change course.

Yeah, I know some might not like to jump to the 32nd century, but I too thought that was something worth trying and was a bold move – especially after the show was often hammered, sometimes unwarrantedly, for breaking cannon.

Btw, one thing I forgot to credit Fuller and the original showrunners for – bringing Michelle Yeoh to the Star Trek universe. I know many dislike her mirror character, but for me, I think it is great to see she is continuing to be part of franchise with the upcoming S31 movie.

Yeah I agree with all of this too. I think going to a completely new era is what a lot of fans really wanted. Not necessarily the 32nd century obviously but beyond the the 24th century at least.

But I understand if people think they haven’t done a better job with it which I have complained about as well and why I wasn’t that happy with the last two seasons.

And yeah hiring Yeoh was a great decision, one I was super happy with. But no I don’t love MU Georgiou much but again that goes back to the writing. They had her for two full seasons and did nothing with her except being a great fighter and making jokes all the time, but nothing in terms of real development.

Once again, you have to put it on the writers and why she is still so divisive. Hopefully the Section 31 movie will change that.

Bringing her in was always a great idea, even before the Oscar win. She has always had A list Hollywood cred and gave some cred in return to the new era of Trek. I dare say she is this generation’s Whoopi Goldberg, even if I am not a fan of the Gergeau character.

The other thing you have to remember about Disco was that the creator, Bryan Fuller, left the show while working on the pilot, which was finished without his input by Aaron Harberts and Gretchen Berg. After giving us a VERY underwhelming S1 that featured such hits as mirror Lorca, Space Hitler, Klingon sexual abuse, Culber’s “kill your gays” murder, and more, Harberts and Berg were then fired for being horribly abusive towards their staff.

From that point Kurtzman ran the show himself for a year as he tried to dig out of the hole the previous incompetent bosses had dug, and then finally passed the show to Michelle Paradise, who has at least tried to break new ground and keep the show true to the values of Trek. Disco walks the walk of Trek’s IDIC values more than any other show, and that’s in large part due to Paradise’s hand.

All this to say that ANY show that has to go through 4 showrunners in this way is going to be, at best, EXTREMELY uneven and unsure of its voice. It’s the same reason Picard was all over the place for 3 seasons – 3 different people in charge means 3 different tones, themes they want to explore, etc. That Disco has managed to right itself and stay afloat and try new things and stay true to its breakneck speed, cinematic tone, and boundary-pushing values while going through some really awful behind the scenes changes that would have tanked any other show speaks volumes. We should all be proud of this show finding its footing.

Correction. Picard was all over the place for two seasons, not three. Then, it found it’s footing. Discovery, in my view, has yet to find its footing. I don’t understand why they’re framing the progenitor tech as this incredible thing that people need to get their hands on. It’s not. The IMPACT of what what the progenitors did, over millions of years, was significant. But to make gene sequencing sound like this magic mcguffin, again, hurts the logic part of my brain.

Picard season three was better, but it was still a narrative mess, with a lackluster, one-dimensional villain that didn’t make much logical sense.

And then it got even worse at the end because of *borg*. What a waste of Amanda Plummer.

I have to admit I am a lot more harsh on PIC S3 now than I was when it aired cause the nostalgia effect has worn off.

Very much agreed about the waste of a talent like Amanda Plummer. Her Dad holds a sweet spot in Trek lore as Chang – Christopher chewed up the scenery like no other in TUC and clearly had a blast doing it, IMO. Amanda, not so much, though it looked like she gave the material she was given her all. Another star’s talent (ex. Idris Elba) squandered by the franchise.

I’m still riding a nice buzz from PIC S3 personally, big fan of that season. It felt right despite its hiccups.

I loved the season when I saw it but TBH the nostalgia is wearing off for me.

Picard S3 is going to age horribly because once the nostalgia wears off, people will finally, FINALLY, start to realise that there’s very little else there.

I guess that is why TOS is aging “horribly” because the nostalgia for a 60s show has worn off. *rolling my eyes*

The difference is that TOS had substance. It’s what started Star Trek. It created the universe. The stories it told were original.

Picard S3, strip away all the references to better Trek and you’re left with very little of substance.

“Brain and brain. What is brain?” Come on. Substance? It was 60s sci-fi. Don’t get me wrong, TOS is my favourite as I did grow up on just that. But it wasn’t substance and it quite often tripped over itself.

Yeah I have to agree with this as well. As much as I love season 3 they really dropped the ball with Valdic. I loved that she was a shape shifter but I still wanted to know how she became involved with the Borg, etc.

Great comment about Paradise embracing IDIQ more than any other show. I totally concur and yes, I did miss the Type A male on the command and bridge crew for S3 and S4, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like the representation of women and gender minorities on Discovery. (had to say this because some jumped all over that comment on another thread)

IDIQ is one of the founding principles of Star Trek that TOS introduced, but it was limited due to a number of reasons, including the way network execs viewed women and minorities (both racial and gender) back in the 1960s. You saw a big change with TNG with women actually being “allowed” to command a starship (unlike the way it was in TOS’ Turnabout Intruder) and stories like The Outcast and The Host which focused on androgyny and gender minority relations respectively. As Crusher says at the end of The Host, (and I paraphrase) – perhaps our ability to love will not be so limited in the future. Paradise continues to embrace IDIQ in S5 with Saru and Vulcan T’Rina.

Paradise goes too far. It’s as simple as that. It’s *so* obvious, *so* in your face, *so* forced, that it just becomes eye-rolling and cringeworthy.

Yeah and I understand what you are saying. That said, adding Raynor to the bridge crew does add some appropriate representation.
Besides that with Picard and SNW along with LDs plus the upcoming S31, there is plenty of Trek for legacy fans like myself. I am perfectly happy with Discovery and Prodigy being made specifically for additional new fans. Of course, I will still watch, even if it I am not in the target audience of both of those shows.

The trouble with Raynor, is that they of course made him gruff, arrogant, condescending with a lot to learn. The typical go-to for white men on this show. Burnham will show him how to do things and teach him how to behave by the season’s end I’m sure.

You haven’t watched much TOS, have you?

Discovery doesn’t just “walk the walk” of Trek’s IDIC, but rather, hits people over the head with it with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

I live near the Greater Traffic Area, as well.
I hope they all grew to enjoy Toronto.
Pinewood is close to where my brother lives. He’d see DSC crew riding their bikes, etc.

Unfortunately, no cast…

I ran into Ethan Peck and a SNW production crew member at a grocery store (she had a Star Trek SNW crew jacket on). I did not want to bother them, so I just quickly said hello and good luck with the new show. They smiled and said thank you.

I’ve met Ethan several times. (Not in Toronto)
A great guy!

It’s still so bittersweet for me that this show is ending. Discovery made me fall in love with Star Trek again. I feel like the end of this show is the end of an era, and I’m just trying to enjoy this one last ride we have with this crew.

Well maybe a lot of them will guest star on Academy?

I still have a soft spot for Season 1 trying out a new approach, even if everything from ships to uniforms was off-canon and it “wasn’t star trek” because it wasn’t uplifting (which I generally concur with but that can still enjoy a darker, meaner variation!). Lorca made a great change in captain even if it was because of moustache-twirl universe.

I always felt the leap to the 32nd century could have been even more ‘fish out of water’ – could have been even more bizarre differences they had to navigate, like language, customs, food etc. Imagine someone from 1000AD coming to now and encountering how we dress, speak, what we eat, etc.

I will be intrigued to see if the ending dovetails with the short trek of Discovery left abandoned with Zora watching old movies by herself…

That episode they said is not canon and just a proof of concept and that everything was changed by the time they got to season 2 finale as they made that short trek before they had even made season 2 was made as they had redesigned lorca’s ready room for season 2 into a special science lab
They said that only two dsc based episodes of short treks the brightest star and the runaway as they tied directly into two season 2 episodes

“We were so exhausted that we were delirious and disoriented, but also giddy and sad – all of us at the same time – and so we cried together. There was a lot of crying together. We spoke blessings over each other, we read letters and poems, and we hugged. It’s crazy because you assume that you will see some of the people again.”

This is genuinely hilarious.

Poems, hugging, crying, blessings, giddiness, sadness and more crying. The Discovery cast/crew summed up perfectly.

You don’t other Trek casts have had similar experiences on their last days?

I’m sure last days on previous shows were emotional of course, but no I don’t think they read poetry to each other. Discovery and its lame writers, cast and crew don’t do subtlety.

You must be fun at family gatherings.

The show was ending and they were going to miss each other like every show that ends; especially one where they didn’t know it was ending.

This is a little ridiculous to be complaining about this.

I’m not complaining. I’m laughing. Laughing because a common criticism of the show is that the crew spend too much time crying or hugging. And here the cast are, crying, hugging, and reading poetry together.

Understandable, she spent the better part of a decade making the show. And no one saw the show getting cancelled happening, it was the flagship show for CBS All Access.