EXCLUSIVE: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon‘s Michelle Yeoh is heading into the final frontier with Star Trek: Discovery. Sources confirm to Deadline that the upcoming CBS All Access iteration of the fabled franchise will see Yeoh playing a Starfleet Captain.
However, before you start mapping out the deck of the Discovery, sources close to the production tell us exclusively that Yeoh actually will be the leader of another ship. We hear that Yeoh has been cast as Han Bo and her ship is the Shenzhou. The Yeoh-run spacecraft is set to play a big role in Discovery‘s first season.
Asked for comment, Star Trek: Discovery producer CBS TV Studios declined to confirm Yeoh’s casting,
Yeoh is the first revealed cast member on the series, which marks the return of Star Trek to scripted television for the first time since Star Trek Enterprise ended its run in 2005.
Casting Yeoh, one of Asia’s biggest stars of the past three decades, underscores the global appeal the producers of Star Trek: Discovery are going for with the new series, which is being distributed by Netflix in 188 countries outside of the U.S. and Canada.
Major plot and character details about Star Trek: Discovery have not been revealed. It is known, however, that it will take place about 10 years before the events of the original series, and that the lead character will be a young woman, likely non-white, serving as a lieutenant commander aboard the Federation starship Discovery, known to her crewmates as “Number One.” This raises the possibility that the character is second in command on the ship, as “number one” is the designation given to two previous Trek first officers: Majel Barrett’s character on the original Star Trek pilot “The Cage” and William Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
This will be the first Star Trek series where the main character is not the commanding officer, though not all main characters have been full captains; the Avery Brooks-portrayed Benjamin Sisko on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine started with the rank of commander before being promoted to Captain in Season 3. Series co-creator and producer Bryan Fuller frequently has emphasized the show’s commitment to diversity, confirming at TCA last summer that there will be at least one gay character, and also has said there will be both familiar and new alien races.
Fuller co-created Star Trek: Discovery with Alex Kurtzman and served as showrunner until last month when he stepped down from the role, handing the captain’s chair to his number twos, Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts. Earlier this fall, Star Trek: Discovery‘s launch was pushed from January to May 2017.
News that Michelle Yeoh had come aboard Star Trek: Discovery first was revealed in an interview with consulting producer Nicholas Meyer, published by Coming Soon, which provided no information about her character.