A look at Star Trek Discovery’s First Officer Michael Burnham


By now we have enough details on Star Trek: Discovery’s lead First Officer Michael Burnham to have an idea of what she’s all about. Let’s take a look.

At a glance, Star Trek: Discovery’s lead character Michael Burnham (played by Sonequa Martin-Green) may have one of the most interesting back stories of anybody in the history of the franchise.

We know she’s the first human to attend the Vulcan Science Academy, and we also know that she is Spock’s adopted sister, raised by his parents Sarek and Amanda (who is also human). We also know how her story may relate to the Klingon angle of Discovery, which is something that has not been discussed much outside of the extensive number of houses and stylistic changes.

For some background, in an interview with SFX Magazine, per Trekmovie.com, James Frain (who plays Sarek) discusses Burnham’s early years.

"…we see Sarek as a younger man, and we discover that he has been made responsible for Michael’s upbringing – her parents were killed while being hosted at the Vulcan Academy when there was a Klingon attack. So we feel responsible for her, take her in, and I raise her in my family as a Vulcan."

Right off the bat, we get a formative moment both for Burnham, Sarek and the series itself. Despite devoting her life to science and later Starfleet, at a time in which there were no treaties with the Klingon Empire, Burnham’s anger is sure to show through. How she chooses to deal with it will likely prove to be significant in how the story develops.

It’s also not incongruous that we could have gotten nearly five decades of Spock on the big and small screen without ever finding out about his adopted sister. After all, we never learned about his half-brother Sybok until Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Spock has never been especially forthcoming about family or personal life, so never having heard of Burnham is no indication that she couldn’t have existed.

Next: Discovery solo promo teasers released

Star Trek: Discovery will launch on September 24th at 8:30 p.m. EST on CBS, and will air weekly thereafter on CBS All Access.