News broke yesterday that legendary Hong Kong actress Michelle Yeoh had been cast in an unnamed role in CBS’ upcoming Star Trek: Discovery. This was the first bit of casting news to be released for the series, and it came as welcome news following the departure of Bryan Fuller as showrunner. Naturally, given the announcement, many fans were left wondering who Yeoh would be playing. Given that she was the first actor to be cast, it wasn’t much of a surprise to see many speculating she would take the role of a Starfleet Captain or perhaps the non-officer character said to be the focus of the new show.
Now, Deadline is reporting that she will be playing a Starship Captain — but not necessarily the Captain of the main ship central to the series. According to Deadline’s report, they believe that Yeoh will actually be portraying a character named Han Bo, and that she will serve as the captain of a Starship named Shenzhou. While not the focus of Discovery, the ship and its captain will supposedly play a major part in the first season of the series, which is set in between the periods of Star Trek continuity between Enterprise and the Kirk-era Original Series.
The original “leak” of Yeoh’s casting came from filmmaker and co-producer Nicholas Meyer, who directed the second and sixth films in the original Star Trek movie series (Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country) and was speaking at an event honoring his cult-classic time travel feature Time After Time. Neither the casting nor the official role title have been confirmed by CBS or the series’ production team.
Originally from Malaysia, Yeoh was a dancer and beauty pageant contestant (a former Miss Malaysia winner and Miss World competitor) before gaining early fame as an actress in the 1980s. Though she briefly retired from acting after marrying a well known Hong Kong film producer, she returned following a divorce in 1992 and became an even bigger star after co-starring with Jackie Chan in Police Story 3: Supercop. At one point the most popular female action star in martial-arts cinema, she gained international fame thanks to roles in Tomorrow Never Dies and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Star Trek: Discovery has thus far kept the majority of its plot and characters secret, save for the period setting and the concept of following a lower-level Starship enlistee rather than the traditonal Captain-centric storylines of Trek series past.
Star Trek: Discovery is set to debut in 2017 for CBS’ All-Access digital platform.