The Importance of Sonequa Martin-Green Leading ‘Star Trek: Discovery’
By: J’Neia Stewart
The subject of diversity has been nearly constant in recent years, especially in the sci-fi/fantasy “nerd” community. Until relatively recently, it was generally believed that fans of sci-fi, fantasy, and comic genres tended to be only white males. With the rise of groups like BlackGirlNerds and GeeksOfColor, this has been proven to be false. Fans of these various genres often include women of color as well as members of the LGBTQIA+ community, a diverse grouping on its own. With the diversity of fanbases comes the desire to see that very same diversity reflected in the very things we love.
Shows like Game of Thrones and Doctor Who (which has been on air for 53 years) prove to be extremely popular among marginalized groups, yet are found severely lacking in having diverse portrayals of their characters that are reflective of today’s modern world. This is why the announcement that Walking Dead star Sonequa Martin-Green would be the lead of CBS’ Star Trek: Discovery is incredibly important not only to the diverse fanbase of Star Trek but to the nerd community as a whole.
Since it’s premier in 1966, Star Trek has enjoyed wild success and proves to be a rather enduring franchise. Recent films Star Trek, Star Trek into Darkness, & Star Trek Beyond have helped to bring in a new generation of Trekkies. The announcement that Star Trek would be coming to the small screen again sparked discussion regarding the necessity of diversity of this sci-fi staple. When asked about casting for the show in an interview on the red carpet for the Saturn Awards, Fuller responded, “There’s a few people that we like and we want to carry on what Star Trek does best, which is being progressive. So it’s fascinating to look at all of these roles through a colorblind prism and a gender-blind prism, so that’s exciting.”
It is incredibly refreshing to see a television producer like Bryan Fuller be so fully committed to providing diversity on-screen for such a major television series and to know that the lead of Star Trek:Discovery will be a Black woman is as amazing as it is empowering.
Star Trek: Discovery is set to premier in May 2017 on CBS with later episodes being streamed on CBS All-Access.