Star Trek: Discovery launches off today as the CBS All Access exclusive returns for it’s third season. When we last saw the crew of the Discovery they entered a wormhole in an effort to jump into the future to save the galaxy and season three picks up right where that adventure left off. Leading the crew, as always, is the intelligent and courageous Captain Michael Burnham played by Sonequa Martin-Green.
CBS’ Matt Weiss spoke to Martin-Green about the series’ third season, their incredible cinematography and what it’s like to be the adopted sister of a Trekkie icon.
MW: Hi Sonequa, nice to be able to sit down and chat with you today! Star Trek discovery season three is available today and it looks like we have an incredibly epic season ahead of us. What can viewers expect in this first episode as we kick things off from the crew jumping into that wormhole?
SMG: You will see that our plan worked! That was sort of released when the first trailer was released, you see that we did it, we saved the future. We saved all of humanity, all the species. We save the universe and that is the most important thing.
We did not land in Terralysium, so you will see that and you will see these divinely gorgeous landscapes. You will see a world that you haven’t seen before. We shot in Iceland and it was a brand-new world and so perfect; just the perfect backdrop for the story. Now we’ve got to figure out, now that it worked, we got to figure out where we are. How are we going to acclimate to this new place.
MW: For your character Michael, as the leader, that’s especially on your shoulders. What are you most excited about for her in this new season, where she has to lead this group through a totally unknown situation?
SMG: Oh, my goodness, I think I am most excited for the for the unity. I think that I’m most excited for the deeper connections that are inevitable because this crew decided to travel into this future with me. They made the decision to come with me because it was going to be a solo mission. As Michael Burnham I was comfortable making that decision and going alone but they decided to come with me; now we’re all that we have.
I think also that I could speak for all of these characters in saying that I think we’re all excited to see what this world looks like, to see what the technology looks like, to see how things have evolved. We all sort of wonder what is it going to look like 1000 years from now, you know? That’s almost about the time that we traveled forward. There’s also just the sort of giddiness of well, what is it, what is it? What have we invented? How have things progressed?
MW: If you think about even in real life in the last 10 to 15 years, the fact that you and I are talking through our computers right now, who would have thought that was possible 20 years ago. So, imagine 1,000 years from now…
SMG: 1,000 years from now. I mean think about where things were 1,000 years ago versus where we are now. Especially with how advanced technology is today, you can imagine where we’ll be 1000 years from now.
I can say that the technology that has been created, that this company has created, the brilliant artists that are a part of this company have created does not disappoint. It is indeed mind blowing. It’s believable as well.
MW: Touching on Michael again; even if you’re not a super Star Trek fan, everyone knows who Spock is. So, for Michael to be the adopted sister of Spock what does that mean to you to be able to play this character who is connected to such an iconic character?
SMG: It means so much to me. Spock, he’s my favorite character actually. TOS is my favorite iteration. Spock is my favorite character in the canon. Of course, he’s a lot of people’s favorite character. It meant so much that, that’s where they placed me. It was one thing for them to be adamant about having a black woman and it was another thing to have her connected to canon in such a deep profound way. It meant a lot to me.
Also, Ethan Peck, who played Spock, he and I have such a great relationship and had such a great camaraderie. We’re very much brother and sister, very easily, very organically. It was it was wonderful to have him come on board and for everyone to see the relationship between Spock and Burnham. I just love that we will always have that connection.
I will always have that connection even though we’ve sort of moved on from it. That is where I come from and being raised on Vulcan will always be a part of this character. Having that logic and emotion live within at the same time, I love playing that. It’s wonderful and I think offers a lot of opportunity for great story.
MW: Also adding to the story this season is those new faces. Since you are in the future they’re are going to be new people around of course and again, as it will be up to Michael, to lead everyone in this unknown. What was that like bringing in these new people into something that was already established for two seasons?
SMG: We love it. We love it. This is very much a family. We talk about it a lot in press, but it’s true. We are very much a show family and we don’t just say that; we do the family thing. When people come, they are welcomed with open arms. We say you’re in this family now – let’s go, let’s get it. The only star is the story.
It was so great, we were also blessed with great people coming on board for season three. We had such a good time with them. It was all very organic with them as well, they joined us and it was like they were always there.
MW: Another thing I love about the show is the video quality it really looks like a blockbuster movie…
SMG: Well first of all, thank you for saying that. I wholeheartedly agree and I wish I got to be in the room when they edit. I have so much respect for the artists as I mentioned them before. I have so much respect for them and I will say, hopefully I’m allowed to say this, but we finished production just before everything shut down, so all of post production had to be done remotely in quarantine.
When you see the mind-blowing effects of season three just imagine it happening remotely from people’s homes. That makes no sense to me, that that blows my mind [laughs]. I believe that season three is the most cinematic that we’ve had thus far. I believe that we’ve always had that kind of movie feel. We’ve always been on that grand scale, but I think we go to the next level in season three. It really is a movie every week with effects that rival blockbuster movies. It’s just amazing. It’s exhilarating.
MW: Last question before I let you go and you touched on it there a second ago with the pandemic. People want new content, they want new things to watch, they’ve been stuck indoors. Can you talk about what it means to be able to provide people with this new season, when they are just itching for something to watch?
SMG: Oh my gosh, I‘m grateful. You always have to count your blessings of course, but you definitely have to count your blessings now in the pandemic. It’s something that I say to myself every day when I’m trying to maintain an attitude of gratitude. I say thank God I have a job and then beyond that saying that I have this job.
Not just because of the pandemic but also because of Black Lives Matter movement because of the civil unrest in the streets because of this highly politicized time. It means a lot to be a part of this show that has this kind of influence that makes these statements. That can create positive change. Now it seems more compelling than ever that I’m able to be a part of these conversations right now as a Black person in America, as a Black woman, as a voter, it’s a big deal. It’s a big deal to me.
MW: Thank you so much for the time today Sonequa, it’s been a pleasure and all the best!
SMG: Thank you Matt, you too!
Episode one of Star Trek: Discovery season three is available to stream on-demand today on CBS All Access!