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