'Star Trek: Discovery': Michelle Yeoh on Mirror Georgiou's Adjustment to the Prime Timeline

Michelle Yeoh debuted in Star Trek: Discovery as Starfleet Captain Philippa Georgiou of the USS Shenzhou. By the end of the show’s first season, she was reintroduced as the Emperor Philippa Georgiou of the Terran Empire in the Mirror Universe.

Now the deposed emperor has been taken into another universe thanks to the prime universe counterpart of her surrogate daughter, Michael Burnham. That’s a secret that Georgiou plans to keep.

“We don’t want anybody else, apart from the selected few who already do know about the Mirror Universe [to know]. That has to be kept under wraps, or otherwise it would be just chaos in the Prime universe,” Yeoh tells IGN. “So Admiral Cornwell, Spock, Sarek, Tilly, the few -- Saru -- that know. So it’s like, when I come onto the Discovery, Captain Pike has no clue. So I play [the] Philippa Georgiou that he’s met before, the kind, compassionate one. But, you know, the problem with the Emperor Georgiou, she cannot help herself from being mischievous. So Captain Pike is almost like…no. She didn’t? I don’t think she was flirting with me…You know? So she loves to play all these little tricks on people’s minds, and she manipulates them, because she’s very smart.”

Of course, one doesn’t become the Terran Emperor without knowing how to play at subterfuge and deception.

“I guess she’s had to live like that for her whole life,” she said. “So it was the kill or be killed thing, where you’re always watching the other people, so you know every single body language that’s going on, so you preempt it. So she fixes things that are going wrong, but at the same time, she can’t help but have fun with it. So it’s such a deliciously devilish character.”

Having led that life means she’s also right at home with Section 31.

“In the whole universe, this is probably her best toy,” Yeoh said. “Because Section 31 has all the most updated gadgets because they are the most informed, and she, as an engineer, she can hack into Section 31. And Leland thinks he’s in charge of the ship. But she finds out secrets. Because that’s what Section 31 does. It’s collected secrets all over the universe about certain people, and history, and things like that. And so, when you have [those] kind of secrets, it’s power. And for Philippa Georgiou, that’s perfect! So, if she has to be here, she wants to be in Section 31, and she wants to run it, right?”

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The first season of Star Trek: Discovery is available to stream in its entirety on CBS All Access in the U.S., through CraveTV in Canada and through Netflix in other international markets.

Star Trek: Discovery Season Two is now filming in Toronto and will premiere on CBS All Access on January 17, 2019.