Despite some behind-the-scenes maneuverings on CBS' upcoming Star Trek: Discovery that saw the series lose Bryan Fuller as its showrunner, and pushed back the series' start date to May 2017, casting for the program has continued without hassle. For the past few weeks, the series has updated fans with regular announcements detailing how the cast was coming together. Late last month it was announced that Michelle Yeoh would join the series as a captain, but not necessarily of the show's titular space-faring vessel the Discovery. Subsequent announcements put Anthony Rapp and Doug Jones in the cast as well, and more recently it was revealed some familiar faces would join the series as Klingons.
As the supporting cast grew, the question of who would fill the role of the series' protagonist became more pressing. The role, of course, would come with some sizeable shoes to fill, as Discovery not only represents the first Star Trek series on television since Enterprise ended in '05, but it will also be the first true test CBS' streaming service CBS All Access. Additionally, the series will have to contend with the current star-studded cast of the motion picture franchise, which boasts the likes of Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, and Zoe Saldana. Needless to say, it was no surprise to learn that the production was taking its time in terms of casting its lead role.
According to a new report from EW, however, the search for the series lead has ended with The Walking Dead's Sonequa Martin-Green landing the coveted position as a lieutenant commander on the Discovery. Martin-Green's casting may come as something of a shock, since she has played the role of Sasha Williams for three seasons on AMC's top-rated zombie series. The news certainly seems to offer Walking Dead fans an early spoiler on the second half of season 7, but the casting report states that she will maintain her presence on that show in addition to her new duties on Star Trek: Discovery.
That sounds like a dubious claim, given the logistics and scheduling demands of series regulars on The Walking Dead likely don't leave much in way of room for a performer to take the lead role in a brand new series. To her credit, though, Martin-Green did manage to appear on both Once Upon a Time and New Girl during her stint on Walking Dead, but only in a limited capacity. It could be that Martin-Green was able to work out a deal which would allow her to continue in both roles for the foreseeable future, but the more likely scenario is the news of her continuing to play Sasha is intended to mitigate spoilers for Walking Dead.
At any rate, Martin-Green's casting is good news for one group of super-fans, as she is not only a familiar face and talented performer, but she also marks the first African-American woman to have a lead role on any Star Trek project. Now that the series has found its lead character, hopefully more news about who Martin-Green will be playing and how she fits into the larger Star Trek mythos will come to light.
Star Trek: Discovery will air its pilot episode on CBS and its premium streaming service CBS All Access in May 2017. Subsequent episodes will air exclusively on CBS All Access.