Michelle Yeoh is an awfully busy actor. In the past few years, she’s starred in the hit Everything Everywhere All at Once, appeared in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (her second MCU character, after a cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), and led the Netflix series The Witcher: Blood Origin. And yet, there are still plans to bring back her character Philippa Georgiou from Star Trek: Discovery for a spin-off series.
Paramount Streaming chief programming officer Tanya Giles assured TV Line that the show is “still in development.” However, at this point, very little is known about the show, which is fitting for its subject matter. The series will focus on Section 31, the black ops division of the United Federation of Planets, which operates in secret, often against Starfleet’s more noble ideals.
Viewers first learned of Section 31 in later seasons of Deep Space Nine, in which Luther Sloan (played by a deliciously malevolent William Sadler) attempts to recruit Doctor Bashir into the organization to fight against the Dominion. Since then, Section 31 has been a prominent part of Star Trek lore, playing an important role in the Federation’s relationship with the Klingons in Enterprise and serving as the primary antagonist in the movie Star Trek Into Darkness.
According to early reports, the Section 31 series will focus on Philippa Georgiou from the Mirror Universe, who joined the organization in season two of Discovery. The dark version of Michael Burnham’s beloved mentor and cruel Emperor of the Terran Empire, Mirror Georgiou gave Yeoh the opportunity to chew the scenery as a duplicitous antihero, making her one of the best parts of the controversial show.
The end of Georgiou’s arc in season three of Discovery clearly set up the Section 31 show, with the former Emperor leaving Burnham and others in 32nd century to return to pre-TOS time period of the series’ first two seasons. But since that episode, the state of Trek has changed. Where Discovery initially embraced the darker and more action-oriented aspects of the J.J. Abrams reboots, it has steadily veered more toward the franchise’s signature intellectual debates and optimism. Furthermore, the first Discovery spin-off Strange New Worlds has earned praise for its embrace of classic Trek, in all of its goofiness and fun.
Which raises the question: even if Yeoh has time to make a Section 31 show, will fans have an appetite for more dark Trek? The Section 31 concept worked well in Deep Space Nine, which explored the difficulties of holding to Starfleet’s ideals in a time of war. The first serialized Trek series, Deep Space Nine often featured characters who compromised their values, but always in a way that reaffirmed Starfleet’s core concepts. The same cannot be said of most Section 31 stories. that followed.
Whether Section 31 continues the more cynical tone of early Discovery or follows the lead of classic Trek, we can be certain that Yeoh will give an excellent performance. If she can only find the time.