In a new interview released today from Entertainment Weekly, we can finally put some rumors to rest about the Shenzhou’s first officer, Michael Burnham, played by series lead Sonequa Martin-Green.

As some have suspected, Burnham is a human raised among Vulcans – the “first human to attend the Vulcan Learning Center” – but she’s got no pointed ears, as this Starfleet officer is a 100% human.

Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham.

Such an upbringing naturally will create some emotional issues – a human trying to live like a Vulcan – and producer Aaron Harberts spoke to the casting process to find an actor who could pull off that kind of inner split.

We read a lot of people and they either went way too robotic or and chilly or way too emotional. What’s beautiful about Sonequa’s performance is she’s capable of playing two, three, four things at once.

She’s got such a great command of her craft, she’s able to be aloof but warm; logical but able to surrender her emotional side to the audience.

Young Burnham on Vulcan.

Martin-Green also commented on the nature of her character’s emotional divide, and “what it means… to be human.”

I have an inner war and it’s a journey of self discovery and finding out what it means to be alive, to be human, to be a Starfleet officer, what it means to be a hero.

I have the Vulcan conflict in my life from Sarek and Amanda so there’s always going to be that inner conflict with me. But I think it’s relatable because we all have some kind of inner conflict going on — who we are versus who we present ourselves to be. There’s a lot to be discovered.

Also hinted at here is her relationship with actor James Frain’s Sarek, and the first hints that we may see Amanda Grayson after all, something hinted towards last summer.

Sarek (James Frain) and Burnham.

Does this answer some of your questions about our new Discovery series lead – sound off in the comments below!

  • David Lund

    Intriguing – is she Amanda’s daughter?

    • Eric R. Fielo

      Amanda Grayson is Spocks Mother. I believe this takes place before they were married.

      • David Lund

        Spock is first officer of the Enterprise under Pike during discoverys timeframe so Sarek and Amanda have been married for at least 25 years at this point. I’m wondering if Burnham is her daughter from a previous marriage. Sarek was married before (if you accept Star Trek 5’s weirdness) so maybe Amanda was too

        • Sarek was 102 at the time of “Journey to Babel,” whereas Amanda was in her late 50’s. (Jane Wyatt was 57 when she played Amanda in JtB, and she looked about that old in the episode.) If Spock is 36 at the time of JtB, then Amanda would have had to have given birth to him when she was only 21. She could have had another child by another man before then, but it’s pretty unlikely, since she’d have been very young.

          Since Sarek would have been about 65 when he and Amanda married, the chances are excellent that he had a previous wife, or pon farr would have killed him. So we can still discount TFF, but internal evidence from JtB suggests that Sarek had somebody before Amanda. 🙂

          I’m basing Spock’s age not just on the fact that Leonard Nimoy was 36 when JtB was filmed, but also on the fact that Amanda says that Spock and Sarek had a rift that dated from the time when Spock left Vulcan for Starfleet, and this rift has lasted for 18 years. If Spock left for Starfleet Academy at the age of 18, and if it’s been 18 years since then, 18 + 18 = 36.

        • Bill Smith

          Sarek is a playa perhaps

  • (Roc) Wayne Alford

    i hope they get Winona Ryder

  • So she’s Spock without the ability to mind-meld or neck pinch?

  • Jason Knight-Nellis

    Being a true Trekker, I find it disappointing that there are so many negative comments about the premise of this show. Seems that far too many of these “fans” want what would be another rehash of a previous series, and not a fresh, new idea. Too little of IDIC, and too much IDGAF. 🖖🏻

    • Billy Pate

      The conflicting parts of this show is it doesn’t fit in to TOS’s!, 10 years before TOS is way to close & the technology is more advanced than the original series & the Klingons, seriously look like the xindi from “Enterprise”, how does a “diehard” Star Trek take it seriously, only time will tell.

    • Tone

      You cannot seriously think that what they are doing with this character is original?

      It’s a female, more human, lesbian Spock. It’s not complicated, nor original.

      • julius hibert

        lesbian huh….. damn you are an idiot.

  • Bill Smith

    Michaela is going to be a boring character. I suspect either Saru or Lorca will become fan favorites and she will be killed off or get hissy like Mulgrew and Tasha Yar and leave the show/make other actors lives hell

  • Dan King

    Is this character transgender? Anyone thinking that ?