Of all the shows currently on their way to a TV debut, few have the kind of built-in audience that CBS Television Studios’ Star Trek: Discovery has going for it. Fans finally have something new to cheer about, as the very first bit of casting news has arrived, and it’s as fantastic as we could have hoped. Michelle Yeoh of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fame has been confirmed as the first of what will hopefully be plenty of superb stars.
While the news of Michelle Yeoh’s spot within the Star Trek: Discovery staff didn’t come out of CBS or the show itself, it did come from screenwriter/director Nicholas Meyer, who is currently serving as a writer and consulting producer on the upcoming series. The director (and partial writer) of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Meyer was talking to Coming Soon when he dropped that fascinating news, though he apparently offered no more details beyond that lone one. Works for me, though.
Since nothing is confirmed at this point concerning who Michelle Yeoh will be playing, it’s okay to do a little speculating. Star Trek: Discovery is going to be fronted by a female Lieutenant Commander, as a homage to Majel Barrett Roddenberry’s role as Number One in the original and unaired Star Trek pilot, and producers were looking to build up as diverse a cast as possible. It doesn’t get much more diverse in sci-fi than going “where no 54-year-old Malaysian woman has gone before.” Yeoh definitely has the chops to pull it off as Number One, though there’s always the chance she could be someone else within the crew, so our hopes are guarded.
Though she’s best known for her badassery in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (and its sequel) and the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, Michelle Yeoh is two years into what is shaping up to be a stellar career on TV to complement her big screen efforts (such as this year’s Mechanic: Resurrection). She first took on a recurring role in Cinemax’s high octane action series Strike Back last year for its fifth and final season. This year, she joined Season 2 of Netflix’s big budget historical drama Marco Polo, and if it’s Star Trek shows for her now, there are no limits to where she could go next.
One of the last pieces of news that’s come out of Star Trek: Discovery was the deafening blow that quasi-creator and executive producer Bryan Fuller was stepping down from his role as showrunner. He was replaced by awesome people, certainly, but Fuller is the kind of TV creator you want on every show. So at least now we have the newness of Michelle Yeoh to hoot about until we find out more.
Star Trek: Discovery won’t make it to the CBS All Access streaming service until May 2017, but at least things are moving in a forward direction. (In as much as anything moves “forward” in space.) In the meantime, check out our fall premiere schedule and midseason premiere schedule to see what’s yet to come.
By Nick Venable