Star Trek: Discovery Makes a Historic Move in Casting Its Lead Character

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Photo: Courtesy of CBS

Sci-fi fans have been having a great year. The genre seems to have exploded recently, with the success of Stars Wars: Rogue One, Doctor Strange, Arrival, Deadpool, Star Trek: Beyond, and so many more. And now, the Star Trek franchise is about to see even more success thanks to its first TV series installment in almost 10 years, Star Trek: Discovery.

So what's so groundbreaking about this new series, which will debut in May 2017? It will feature its first ever African-American lead, thanks to the casting of Sonequa Martin-Green, who is known for playing Sasha Williams on AMC's The Walking Dead, another hugely successful sci-fi television show. The producers are taking their stance on diversity seriously, with this casting and their previous announcement that the show will have it's first openly-gay character, a lieutenant played by Anthony Rapp.

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"Star Trek started with a wonderful expression of diversity in its cast … we’re continuing that tradition," said the show's original show runner Bryan Fuller back in August, according to Entertainment Weekly. "We wanted to paint a picture of Starlet that’s indicative of encountering people who are much more different than we are." And current showrunners Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts are determined to move forward with Fuller's vision in mind.

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Another deviation from the original Star Trek cannon is the fact that Martin-Green's lead character won't be the ship's captain, rather, "a lieutenant commander with caveats," according to Fuller. "We've seen six series from the captain's point of view," he explained. "To see a character from a [new] perspective on the starship—one who has different dynamic relationships with a captain, with subordinates, it gave us richer context."

We're so excited to see a strong female lead represent such an iconic franchise, and we can't wait to watch Martin-Green in action, kicking some serious extraterrestrial ass.

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