Star Trek’s Sonequa Martin-Green and Michelle Yeoh Are Already Over the Casting Backlash

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Sonequa Martin-Green and Michelle Yeoh. Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Vulture Festival

When Michelle Yeoh and Sonequa Martin-Green were offered leading roles in Star Trek Discovery, they didn’t quite believe it. Two women of color running the show on Starfleet? “Really? Are you sure?”

“I remember when I first came to Hollywood, and a director, who is a good friend, said if they cast a black male lead, they won’t be able to cast me,” Yeoh said at Vulture Festival. “How times have changed! I’m so blessed that I am still in [the industry] while it is changing.”

While Yeoh is the first Malaysian-born actress to feature in such a prominent role in an iteration of Star Trek, Martin-Green is the first woman of color to lead a Star Trek cast. Yeoh and Martin-Green’s skepticism, however, wasn’t unfounded. After their casting was announced, they faced major backlash from some hardcore Trekkies. “But this is the spirit of Star Trek,” says Yeoh. “Diverse characters are not just tokens.” Martin-Green says she feels it was a “divine” process. “They were adamant and they stuck to it. It was an incredible process. I feel that God worked it out.”

The Stars of ‘Star Trek’ Are Over the Casting Backlash