Season 1 of Star Trek: Discovery cast Michelle Yeoh in a double role: First as Captain Philippa Georgiou, a mentor to the young Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), and then a fully armored Mirror Universe version of Georgiou who preferred busting skulls over diplomatic negotiations. Since then, Yeoh joined the Marvel universe, shot a few Avatar movies, did a Witcher show, and of course, she won a freakin’ Best Actress Oscar for freakin’ Best Picture winner Everything Everywhere All at Once. Yeoh could (and probably will) cash in the cred to do just about anything next… but for now, her prime directive is returning to Trek.
Paramount announced on Tuesday that Yeoh’s long-gestating Section 31 was officially a go, with production scheduled to begin later in 2023. Section 31 has been a dream of Star Trek franchise overseer Alex Kurtzman since the days of CBS All Access, and was formally announced in 2019 as a Discovery spinoff show. But over time — and maybe thanks to that Oscar in her pocket — the theoretical series has turned into a one-off movie. Still, based on reactions in Paramount’s news release, Yeoh remains pumped.
“I’m beyond thrilled to return to my Star Trek family and to the role I’ve loved for so long,” Yeoh said in a statement. “Section 31 has been near and dear to my heart since I began the journey of playing Philippa all the way back when this new golden age of Star Trek launched. To see her finally get her moment is a dream come true in a year that’s shown me the incredible power of never giving up on your dreams. We can’t wait to share what’s in store for you, and until then: live long and prosper (unless Emperor Georgiou decrees otherwise)!”
“All the way back in 2017, before the first season of Star Trek: Discovery had even aired, Michelle had the idea to do a spin-off for her character, Philippa Georgiou,” Kurtzman said. “She broke new ground as one of the first two women on screen in the pilot to usher in a new age of Trek, and now, six years later, Star Trek: Section 31 finally arrives on the heels of her latest groundbreaking win. Everyone on Team Trek couldn’t be more thrilled to have our legendary friend return home to us as we expand our storytelling into new and uncharted corners of the Trekverse. Long live Emperor Georgiou; long live Michelle Yeoh!”
The passing years have seen few updates on what Section 31 is actually about, other than the basics: the spinoff would focus on the mysterious Federation organization, which was known for taking a more black-ops approach to keeping the intergalactic peace. “Section 31” refers to the the original Starfleet Charter that gave people like Georgiou Jack Bauer-level authorization to do whatever needs to be done. Music to Mirror Georgiou’s ears, obviously.
The Section 31 announcement arrives on the heels of the final season of Star Trek: Picard, and rumors that Paramount Plus may sunset most of the remaining Trek shows. In February, the streamer announced that Star Trek: Discovery would end after the upcoming fifth season, while the animated series Lower Decks and Prodigy could end after their next seasons. Meanwhile, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which has a season 2 in the can and set to premiere in June, was preemptively given the season 3 renewal in March. Paramount Plus also has a few Trek replacements in the works; the company has announced a Starfleet Academy show for 2024, and the team behind Picard has made it clear they want to continue telling stories in that timeline with a proposed Star Trek: Legacy.
But for now, there’s Section 31. The film, written by Craig Sweeny and directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi (both Star Trek: Discovery vets), will bring Yeoh back into the fold for one more adventure. There is no firm release date, but 2024 seems promising. After that, the franchise will boldly go… somewhere else.