TV and Movies

'Star Trek: Discovery': Why the lead character's name is Michael

Original showrunner Bryan Fuller brought this "Pushing Daisies" and "Wonderfalls" tradition to Star Trek.

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Sonequa Martin-Green will be First Officer Michael Burnham when "Star Trek: Discovery" debuts.

CBS

Sonequa Martin-Green will be First Officer Michael Burnham when "Star Trek: Discovery" debuts Sept. 24... but why exactly is her first name Michael?

Showrunner Aaron Harberts revealed in a Friday interview with StarTrek.com that it has a lot to do with original showrunner Bryan Fuller (the latter having left the series in late 2016 to focus on "American Gods").

"We've worked on a number of Bryan Fuller shows... 'Wonderfalls,' 'Pushing Daisies.' Many of his female protagonists have typically what you would call male names. Chuck was one. Jaye was another," Harberts said. "When we all sat down, of course, the idea was going to be that she was going to have a male name, or typically male name."

So what made it Michael? Harberts said he pitched the name after thinking of female columnist Michael Sneed, who writes for the Chicago Sun-Times, and The Bangles' bassist Michael Steele.

"I'd always thought that the name Michael was just really cool and different. We pitched that to Bryan and he was like, 'Let me think about that.' That's how we seized on it, but I think it's a really cool name, and maybe we'll see some more women Michaels," Harberts said.

Martin-Green said the name will also extend to her character's biological father, telling CNET's Roger Cheng that "it's a very quaint yet powerful symbol of the father-daughter dynamic."

"Star Trek: Discovery" will premiere in the US on CBS and CBS All Access, and internationally on Netflix. (Disclosure: CBS is CNET's parent company.)

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