Why ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Female Lead Has a Man’s Name

TCA 2017: Sonequa Martin-Green’s character is named “Michael”

Last Updated: August 1, 2017 @ 6:51 PM

The “Star Trek: Discovery” cast is led by a female. Yay. But her character has a man’s name. Weird?

For some, that fact takes away from the optics of the progress, and one television critic asked the CBS All Access show’s executive producers what that was all about anyway.

“That was Bryan’s [Fuller] idea, actually,” Alex Kurtzman replied. “I think he just felt that name.”

“We’ve worked on many shows with Bryan. It’s a motif,” fellow EP Aaron Harberts added on Tuesday at the Television Critics Association press tour. “It’s his signature move to name his lead women with names that would typically be associated as male.”

“When we were kicking around ideas … we were going through male names and we all sort of hit on Michael,” he continued.

“The entire room was like, ‘This is a really, really interesting name,'” Harberts went on to say. “Of course, an archangel is named ‘Michael’ as well. It just had a lot of potency for us.”

But how does the actress behind Michael feel about it?

“For me, taking it, understanding that that’s where it had come from — I appreciated that,” Sonequa Martin-Green told the reporters present. “And I appreciated the sort of statement it makes all on its own. To have a woman with a male name, speaking of … how we see men and women in the future.”

“I also just decided for my creation and for my background and whatnot, that I was named after my father,” she continued. “So again, you sort of get a little bit of exploration of the father-daughter dynamic … I think it’s a lovely symbol.”

Other Fuller shows with female leads given male names include Anna Friel’s “Chuck” from “Pushing Daises” and Caroline Dhavernas‘s “Jaye” on “Wonderfalls.”

Fuller was “Star Trek: Discovery” showrunner before handing the reigns over to Kurtzman and Co. in order to focus on Starz’s “American Gods.”

“Star Trek: Discovery” debuts on CBS broadcast and CBS All Access on Sept. 24, 2017. Immediately after Episode 1 ends that evening, Episode 2 will drop on the streaming service. Each subsequent episode will be available Sundays on All Access.