Star Trek is making history again, casting their first Black woman lead
Star Trek has historically taken the lead on promoting diverse racial and gender representation through its programming. They’ve done it again with the casting of Sonequa Martin-Green as the lead in the forthcoming Star Trek: Discovery.
Star Trek: Discovery is the newest Star Trek series and the first television series being produced specifically for the CBS All Access online streaming service. It’s exciting for Trek fans as the series is rumored to explore a critical incident in Star Trek’s history, but the casting of Sonequa Martin-Green (The Walking Dead‘s “Sasha”) alongside other sci-fi fixtures like Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Doug Jones (Hellboy) takes the excitement to a whole new level.
Martin-Green will be the first Black lead for any of the Star Trek shows or films. And that’s a big statement in a world where even new iterations of classic properties are resting on whiteness. She’ll also be breaking ground as the first Star Trek series lead that is not a captain. In her role as Lt. Cmdr. Rainsford, the storytelling will reportedly be told through her.
Apart from adding dimension to a franchise that has largely looked and felt the same for decades, this move further proves that the Star Trek franchise continually pushes to represent the bleeding edge of progressive thought.
Star Trek‘s long legacy is much richer than lasers, aliens, and Captain Kirk. At the heart of it all is an exploration of all mankind’s potential. This includes such taboo topics of gender equality, sexuality, racial difference, the right to bear arms, immigration, and conservationism. And with a track record like that, the casting of Martin-Green as the new series lead might not feel as important as it is.
But it is a big deal. As Hollywood continues its slow march toward diversity and representation, properties like Star Trek that can achieve both while also competently tackling social topics are vital for everyone, whether a Star Trek fan or not.
Photo credit: Heroes For Hire
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