Just one day after CBS announced the casting of the first Klingons in Star Trek: Discovery (Chris Obi, Shazad Latif and Mary Chieffo), the series has found its leading actor. Sonequa Martin-Green, best known for playing Sasha Williams on AMC's The Walking Dead, has signed on for this historic role, which makes her the first African-American woman to lead the cast of a Star Trek series, and it will also be the first time the the lead character is not a captain, with former showrunner Bryan Fuller describing this character as a "lieutenant commander with caveats," before he left the show. This casting also leads to speculation about Sonequa Martin-Green's future on The Walking Dead.
Entertainment Weekly broke the news on this casting, claiming that the actress will continue to serve as a series regular on The Walking Dead, presumably splitting her time between AMC's zombie show and this CBS All Access series, which will start production in January. Production has already wrapped on The Walking Dead Season 7, with the back half of the season set to debut Sunday, February 12 at 9 PM ET on AMC. While there doesn't seem to be any production conflict as of yet, the casting of a Walking Dead actor on a different show or movie has always lead to his/her death on the show. And EW may just be covering that up here. Sasha could definitely be the next to go.
Back in Season 2, it was reported that Jon Bernthal was cast in the new TNT pilot L.A. Noir, which would eventually air under the title Mob City for its first and only season. The news was confirmed by the network, just one day after The Walking Dead episode aired where his character Shane was killed. Then in Season 3, Sarah Wayne Callies was cast in the film Category Six, which was released under the title Into the Storm, while production was still under way, and she was eventually killed during that season. And, most recently, Steven Yeun started filming a new Netflix original movie entitled Okja for Brad Pitt's Plan B productions, while The Walking Dead Season 7 was in production. Fans learned in the Season 7 premiere that his character Glenn was one of two characters killed by the nefarious Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), along with Michael Cudlitz's Glenn.
As for Sonequa Martin-Green's Sasha, it's possible that she could end up splitting her time between The Walking Dead and Star Trek: Discovery, but if the production schedules overlap, it may become quite difficult, especially since The Walking Dead films in Atlanta, Georgia, and this new Star Trek TV series will be shot in Pinewood Studios Toronto. Then again, Sonequa Martin Green's character Sasha only appeared in three of the first eight episodes of The Walking Dead Season 7, so even if she isn't killed off, her role may be even more limited, after taking on this show. It's also worth noting that Sasha Williams is one of the few characters who was created specifically for the show, who doesn't have roots in Robert Kirkman's comic books.
The casting signifies that the show is still moving forward with their push for diversity, as enacted under former showrunner Bryan Fuller, who still serves as an executive producer, although he won't be involved in the day-to-day operations of the show. Star Trek Discovery will also feature the first openly-gay character, Lt. Stamets, played by Anthony Rapp, an astromycologist, fungus expert, and Starfleet Science Officer aboard the Discovery. The cast also includes Michelle Yeoh as Captain Georgiou, the Starfleet Captain aboard the Starship Shenzhou, Doug Jones as Lt. Saru, a Starfleet Science Officer and a new alien species to the Star Trek universe, Chris Obi as T'Kuvma, the Klingon leader seeking to unite the Klingon houses, Shazad Latif as Kol, the Commanding Officer of the Klingons and protégé of T'Kuvma and Mary Chieffo as L'Rell, the Battle Deck Commander of the Klingon ship. Hopefully we'll have more news about Star Trek Discovery casting soon.