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‘Walking Dead’ Star to Become First Black Female Lead on New ‘Star Trek’ Series

Sonequa Martin-Green (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Sonequa Martin-Green (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

“The Walking Dead” star Sonequa Martin-Green will make history after being cast in the lead role for the upcoming “Star Trek: Discovery” series. Martin-Green is the first Black woman to hold such a position, however, her top-billed character will not be a captain as is usually the case in the “Star Trek” franchise.

Variety confirmed the news Thursday, Dec. 15, from sources close to the reboot. In a break from tradition, Martin-Green’s as-yet-unnamed character will begin as a lieutenant-commander on the series, which is set to air on CBS All Access, the cable network’s streaming service. “Dead” fans will be pleased to know that the actress also will continue her role as Sasha Williams on the hit AMC show.

At Comic-Con, the series’ former showrunner and executive producer, Bryan Fuller, said he had hoped to cast a nonwhite woman in the lead role based on inspiration from the first Black female astronaut, Mae Jamison, and from Nichelle Nichols, the only Black and sole regular female cast member in the initial “Star Trek” series.

“‘Star Trek’ started with a wonderful expression of diversity in its cast. We’re continuing that tradition,” Fuller said at the Television Critics Association Summer Tour, 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.”

As for the change in rank of Martin-Green’s “Discovery” character, Fuller, who was replaced as showrunner by executive producers Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts, explained: “We’ve seen six series from the captain’s point of view. 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.”

Martin-Green’s role on the series adds her to a list of other Black “Star Trek” actors from the past that includes LeVar Burton and the late Don Marshall.

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