Sonequa Martin-Green is the new lead character in the Star Trek TV universe. Get used to it. When Martin-Green, a veteran of The Walking Dead, was announced as the lead of Star Trek: Discovery, there were internet naysayers.

There are naysayers for everything these days, but the reaction both did and didn't take Martin-Green by surprise.

"It's really sad to say I wasn't surprised," she said. "Because of the state of our world currently and the state of our world right now and because of where we come from as a country. I was sad, I was disappointed, but I wasn't necessarily surprised. I will say though, on the other hand—you know what, I'm going to amend my statement. Yeah, it actually was surprising in this particular instance because a lot of the sort of backlash for the diversity were people who say they're long-term Trek fans."

"So that was completely antithetical to me because how can you appreciate a legacy that is steeped in diversity, but be upset by diversity…that was a little confusing for me," she said.

In the CBS All Access series, Martin-Green plays Michael Burnham, the first officer of the USS Shenzhour, raised as a Vulcan by Sarek, (James Frain) Spock's father.  The show features a diverse cast of characters, including the first openly gay couple on Star Trek, played by Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz. The sprawling cast also includes Michelle Yeoh as Philippa Georgiou, Chris Obi as T'Kuvma, Mary Chieffo as L'Rell, Doug Jones as Saru and Jason Isaacs as Gabriel Lorca.

Star Trek: Discovery, Sonequa Martin-Green


"As I've said before, I just encourage anybody who has an issue with it to just tune in and join this journey with us, because it's a human story and it's a story about life and hopefully it will bring people together and make them see there's not much that separates us," Martin-Green said.

The show, which is set between Star Trek: Enterprise and the original series starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, will tell a serialized story, but "honoring the canon in the world that we're operating in."

Because it's the first Star Trek series on a digital streaming platform, the show can do new things to grab attention of both Trekkies and newcomers.

"We're hoping that we take the pressure that feel, because we do take it so seriously, we hope that we can funnel it into the story," she said.

Star Trek: Discovery premieres Sunday, Sept. 24 on CBS. Episode two drops on CBS All Access that night.

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