CBS has finally found its lead in Sonequa Martin-Green for the next incarnation of Gene Roddenberry’s sci-fi experiment Star Trek.

SONEQUA MARTIN-GREEN TO HELM STAR TREK: DISCOVERY IN 2017

Star Trek: Discovery, set for release in May 2017, will be the first series not set from the perspective of a ship’s Commanding Officer. Martin-Green, playing a lieutenant commander, will also be the first African-American woman to lead a Star Trek cast.

“We’ve seen six series from the captain’s point of view,” explains executive producer Bryan Fuller, who has worked on other series in the franchise in the past. “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.”

The 13-episode first season will be available weekly on CBS All Access, and it will follow an incident in the Star Trek universe that has been mentioned in past shows/films, but has never been explored or developed.

Martin-Green, whose character Sasha Williams is still alive and well in The Walking Dead, has fans worried that her new assignment means the end of her role on the AMC series. CBS declined to comment, but she will continue as a regular simultaneously.

The 31-year-old actress joins a cast that included Michelle YeohDoug JonesChris ObiShazad LatifMary Chieffo, and Anthony Rapp, who, in another franchise first, plays an openly-gay lieutenant. “Star Trek started with a wonderful expression of diversity in its cast… we’re continuing that tradition,” Fuller said. “We wanted to paint a picture of Starfleet that’s indicative of encountering people who are much more different than we are.”

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