Star Trek: Discovery Was Always Going To Focus On Women Of Color


Going boldly where no one has gone before is part and parcel of Star Trek‘s DNA.

It’s the same innovative, envelope-pushing attitude that has shaped this franchise from the very beginning, so when the Powers That Be over at CBS approached Alex Kurtzman about potentially creating a new Trek series, he had but one idea in mind: to build that story around a female woman of color who would later become the Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) we know and revere.

All of this (and more!) was discussed when Vanity Fair caught up with Kurtzman and CBS All Access’ executive vice president of original content Julie McNamara to discuss all things Star Trek: Discovery, and what the future holds for the trailblazing series. But first, McNamara touched base on the importance of reflecting the culture of our times.

We certainly feel that it’s important to reflect the culture on our service. And that’s not just altruistic, although it is a good and important thing. It’s also good business. You really want to reach people in a way that feels specific in terms of characters and storytelling.

Turns out this desire to cast women of color in Star Trek: Discovery stretched far beyond the lead role, as Alex Kurtzman recalled the moment when the character of Michael Burnham began to take shape. Not only that, but casting on Discovery‘s first season really kicked into gear on the morning that Donald Trump was elected as President of the United States – an event that only cemented Kurtzman’s desire to create a more inclusive TV show.

Via Vanity Fair:

About three years ago when, when CBS asked me to consider doing another Star Trek, my first instinct was: it’s got to be a woman and it’s got to be a woman of color. I’m not interested in having another male captain. We made that very clear and a condition of our involvement and Julie was immediately supportive of it. And one thing I remember very clearly was that we were still casting the morning Trump was elected and somehow in the casting conversation this question came up like, okay, do we have to reconsider this? And we doubled down and said, this is exactly why we have to do this right now. And for me personally, I have a harder time writing men—that’s the truth. I don’t know why. It’s always been the case.

Season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery has been penciled in for launch via CBS All Access early next year. And it promises to be another wildly entertaining journey into the far reaches of space, where Michael Burnham must confront old friends and new enemies.

Source: Vanity Fair