Sonequa Martin-Green, making history as Star Trek's first black female lead, stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to discuss Star Trek: Discovery and the continued importance of Gene Roddenberry's enduring creation.
"Now the Vulcan philosophy, the basis of it, is 'infinite diversity in infinite combinations,'" said Colbert. "Does America need a little Star Trek right now?"
“Yes! Oh my gosh, I mean, things are at a fever pitch at this point, right? Division and separatist thinking," answered Martin-Green. "I think it’s so important because people need to see what we can be, and what we can become. And I think that’s what this show does. It always has. So we’re just going boldly in the way it always has.”
Roddenberry’s original series “dealt with current social, societal issues of all kind, by putting them in space,” Colbert noted. “Yes. Because honestly, the fantasy of it takes away the barrier," said Martin-Green. "And so people can let go, they can suspend their disbelief and be imaginative. And in doing that, the message comes through subconsciously. That's the beauty of sci-fi.”
“Wow, sounds like you’re brainwashing us,” Colbert joked.
Not only is The Walking Dead alum the first black female lead in the franchise's history, Martin-Green's Star Trek role is a character coming from a diverse background: she plays First Officer Michael Burnham, a human raised by Vulcans after her parents are killed by Klingons. Burnham is also the adopted sister of Spock (Leonard Nimoy), a retcon not unappreciated by Martin-Green, who calls the iconic Vulcan "an institution."
“I appreciate how courageous this story is, and I appreciate how they have woven me into that family," Martin-Green told CBS This Morning, where she opened up on the diversity found within Star Trek: Discovery and her character's relation to Vulcans. "I am 100% human. I am a human in the culture of Vulcan," she shared. "So there’s assimilation happening there, and there’s culture shock that happened there as well.”
Star Trek: Discovery, the newest revival of the long-running sci-fi saga, is set a decade before the original Star Trek television show and will air a special broadcast premiere September 24 at 8:30/7:30 CT on CBS. Following the televised premiere, all new episodes of Star Trek: Discovery will be available on CBS All Access.