Sonequa Martin-Green plopped down into a chair in a quiet green room at Star Trek Las Vegas, and she smiled. “Whoooo!” she exclaimed. “This has been great, but I’m exhausted. Let’s talk. What would you like to know?” Now, let’s put this in some perspective. Martin-Green had spent a full two days at STLV in August, wowing attendees with her energy and passion for Star Trek, its fans, Star Trek: Discovery and Michael Burnham. During her panels, she laughed and cried – she cries a lot; she’ll be the first to admit that. And Martin-Green gave every single fan his or her moment of personal attention during photo ops and autograph sessions, making those moments special for all involved. Now, the end of her time in Vegas was nigh. In fact, she’d just done a VIP meet and greet and was about to beam out of the Rio in order to trek back to Toronto and return to work on Discovery’s upcoming second season. But she’d agreed to a quick interview with StarTrek.com. Trouper that she is, even as a team waited to spirit her into a car and head off to the airport, Martin-Green honored her promise and squeezed in a few minutes of talk time with us. Here’s what she had to say in this, the first in a series of StarTrek.com interviews building toward the November 13 release of Star Trek: Discovery: Season One on Blu-ray and DVD...
How full a meal was season one of Discovery for you?
Oh, goodness. It was Thanksgiving dinner, basically. It was the appetizer, the entrée, the dessert. It was all of that.
What was the biggest surprise for you in terms of making the show, and playing Michael?
The biggest surprise... I would say I think what was surprising to me was just how much it continued to unfold, I think. And how deep it went, and how inclusive this entire experience and community was going to be. And also just how closely we as a company, with Discovery, became a family. That was also very surprising.
Character-wise, I think I wouldn't say that anything was surprising in the sense that it shocked me or I disagreed with it, or I thought, "Ooh, why is this happening this way?" Everything definitely made sense and tracked, and I think it was an organic progression. But it was definitely thrilling to go through the ups and downs and twists and turns.
If we met her at point A in the pilot, where did season one end? Where in her journey is she right now?
I would say that if Z is the goal, that I'm around M.
Yeah, I would guess, because I think that the fall from grace was absolutely necessary in my journey, in my development as a human being and definitely as a Starfleet officer. And I will say again, as a human being, not someone who is trying to be something that they essentially are not, and finding a way to integrate my training and my upbringing with my true self, I think that the fall from grace forced me into that place of contemplation and that place of exploration.
You arrived at Discovery from The Walking Dead, which is another massive show with a huge fan base. How would you compare/contrast the fans? Are they the same types of people? Are they different? Is there overlap?
Well, I think that we are all connected by these grand fantastic stories, right? These stories that are in these alternate realities that allow us to suspend our disbelief in a very real and exciting way. And I think sci-fi does that, and so, in a sense, sci-fi is very unifying and does draw the same intellectual crowd. There are certainly differences, because each person is different, but I find that it is the sci-fi genre that is the common denominator.
It’s way too soon to talk in any detail about season two of Discovery, but give us some sort of sense of what fans can expect in terms of the show’s direction, Michael’s path…
Well, I think people expect the fallout from everything that happened last year. There's so many things that happened. So many decisions were made. So many changes happened. There was evolution in season one, but we weren't able to dig into it because we were at war. So, you will see all of that. You will see people dealing with what's left. Dealing with the residual, dealing with, "OK, what do I have now? What have I done? What does that mean? Who am I? Who are we?" You'll see people asking those questions and seeking to answer them in season two. And there is a lot more…. there's a little more joy just because we aren't at war. We're able to smile a little bit more. There's a sense of levity that's there simply because we're not fighting for our lives.
And Michael will be part of that? Be a bit lighter?
Oh yeah, for sure. There's certainly a heaviness that is present with me as Burnham, just because of everything that is driving me and because there are deep-seated problems there. So, those are still at play, for sure. But yes, you see the smile, and you see the chuckles that we allow ourselves to have, including Burnham, because we're not fighting.
How will the presence of Captain Pike affect Michael?
In that big way that a captain affects a ship and a crew. A crew is almost defined by the essence of the captain. We went through the ringer with Lorca, and so there's a little bit of PTSD there. There's a little bit of distrust there because of what we've gone through and because we had someone who manipulated us and sought to kill us for his own gain. And so, Pike being the deeply rooted good guy he is, he is going to have an effect on us. He's soothing in that way. He's comforting in that way. And hopefully you will see us sort of galvanize because of that.
How are you enjoying working with Anson Mount?
Oh, I love him.
Fans here at STLV could even see the chemistry between the two of you on stage during your panel…
I just think he's awesome, and he's such an amazing actor. I feel like we really lose ourselves in the story together, which is amazing. And chemistry is something that… it's hard to know as an actor when you're in the middle of it. It's hard to say, "Do we have chemistry?" I can feel what I feel, but other people are the ones to tell you if there's chemistry there. And so, we were very delighted to hear that people see chemistry between us, and I think that it's a great relationship because he's a great guy and we love having him.
Did you work at all during your off season, or was it family time?
Yeah, it was family time. It was family time for a long while. It was the holidays. We hosted Christmas for the first time, so there was a lot of preparation with that. We bought our home, so there was a lot going on with that. January and February were pretty full with that and family, and then it was time to gear up to go back.
Last question: How did you enjoy this experience at STLV?
It was amazing, meeting the fans, being out there. I've done conventions for years (because of The Walking Dead). I've done San Diego Comic-Con for four years. This is different. This is different. It's just a different experience. It is so beautiful and pure, and respectful and uplifting, and I can hardly wait for next year. God willing.
Star Trek: Discovery on Blu-ray
Star Trek: Discovery: Season One will arrive on Blu-ray and DVD on November 13 from CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Media Distribution. The four-disc Blu-ray and DVD collections, available to U.S. and Canadian fans, will feature all 15 first-season episodes of the CBS All Access series, as well as featurettes and other special features that will include cast and crew interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and deleted and extended scenes.
Fans in the U.S. and Canada can pre-order on Amazon.com now.