‘Star Trek: Discovery’: Get to Know First Officer Michael Burnham

Lauren Gallaway
TV Star Trek
TV Star Trek

Star Trek: Discovery premieres this Sunday on CBS. Before the series begins, lets get to know the show’s lead character: First Officer Michael Burnham.

When Star Trek: Discovery begins, Burnham is the first officer of the U.S.S. Shenzhou. She serves under Captain Philippa Georgiou, a woman who has been Burnham’s mentor for many years. Burnham’s specialty is xenoanthropology — the study of alien culture — specifically first contact.

Daughter of Vulcan

Much like Lieutenant Worf on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Burnham is a daughter of two worlds. Born on Earth to human parents, Burnham was adopted by Sarek and Amanda Grayson when he human parents were killed while visiting Vulcan.

Under Serek and Amanda’s parentage she was raised as a Vulcan, where she learned to rely on logic and not human emotion. She was the first human to attend the Vulcan Learning Center and Science Academy. She then joined Star Fleet and rose to the rank of first officer.

Star Trek: Discovery Burnham
'The Walking Dead's' Sonequa Martin-Green is First Officer Michael Burnham.

To the surprise of many Star Trek fans, Burnham’s adopted parents are also the parents of Spock, Captain Kirk’s Vulcan first officer from Star Trek: The Original Series. As the above video points out, this is not the first time Spock has had a mystery sibling (see Sybok in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier).

U.S.S. Discovery

During the course of the series, Burnham will leave the Shenzhou to join the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery, serving as first officer to Captain Gabriel Lorca. Lorca and Burnham will steward the crew of the Discovery as they explore new realms of the galaxy. Lorca will also call Burnham “Number One,” an affectionate name that pays homage to both Star Trek: TOS and Star Trek: TNG. 

Sonequa Martin-Green will bring Burnham to life on the series. Martin-Green previously played Sasha Williams on The Walking Dead for seven seasons, before valiantly giving up her life for her family.

To learn more about First Officer Burnham, check out the video above.

Star Trek: Discovery airs on CBS this Sunday, September 24, 2017.

Lauren Gallaway
TV editor at FANDOM. Creator of The Marvel Report. Journalist, Comic-Con reporter, Podcaster.
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