Star Trek: Discovery's Sonequa Martin-Green Explains How Burnham's Captaincy Changes the Show in Season 4

Star Trek: Discovery returns next week for its fourth season, but it will have a slightly different flavor than past installments. The series continues to exist in the 32nd century, which was a significant change last season from its position as a prequel to Star Trek: The Original Series in its first two seasons. But there's a subtler change in season four. Michael Burnham, played by Sonequa Martin-Green, is now the captain of the USS Discovery. Once a first officer turned mutineer, and then adrift and alone after arriving in the future a year before Discovery and then resuming her role as first officer, Burnham's winding journey to the captain's chair is now complete. had the opportunity to talk to Martin-Green and Star Trek: Discovery showrunner Michelle Paradise following the Star Trek: Discovery panel at New York Comic Con in October (where they debuted a new trailer for the season). Martin-Green explained how Burnham's new role as commanding officer changes the way the show works.

"It changes the entire dynamic of the show because we've always seen this story through Burnham's eyes and you've always been able to see this sort of trek upward, but also inward too," Martin-Green says. "And so I always knew that this was a journey to the chair, but we were all passionate about earning it and about Burnham being ready for it. I can call back to so many different conversations I've had that Michelle has graciously had with me about that, about Burnham being ready for that chair and having to learn this lesson or that lesson or having to address this trauma or resolve this or be absolved of that in order to really sit in that chair and do it for the needs of the many and not the needs of the few or the needs of one. So in the story, it's huge and I love that it gives you this full picture. It's almost like a full painting now because you see this captain that you know so well, and you see this crew that you know so well, now operating together. And then of course, just for me, as who I am, just knowing what it means, it's overwhelming." 

And Burnham feels confident in this new position. When asked, Martin-Green said that any sense of imposter syndrome that might have been brought on by taking command is well in Burnham's past.

"The imposter syndrome was was was never more in effect than in season one when, as Burnham, I'm still struggling between Vulcan nurture and the human nature, the logic versus emotion," Martin-Green explains. "But I do think that we've seen this woman progress to a place in her own life, in her heart, in her maturity to be past that now, this idea that oh, I shouldn't be here, I need to overcompensate. A lot of that was happening in those early days but I think the year alone, understanding duty and joy working together, choosing the Federation again, choosing Starfleet again inwardly, not because it was something pressed on me as Burnham, I think all of that is huge and you won't you see that as much anymore."

What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Star Trek: Discovery's fourth season will premiere on Paramount+ on November 18th.