EXCLUSIVE: 'Star Trek: Discovery's' Michelle Yeoh Says Series Is 'Empowering,' 'Racier' Than Original

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Trekkies are going to fall in love with Michelle Yeoh on Star Trek: Discovery.

On the anticipated CBS All Access original series, the Malaysian-born actress plays Philippa Georgiou, captain of the USS Shenzhou, and mentor to First Officer Michael Burnham (The Walking Dead’s Sonequa Martin-Green). Yeoh spoke of the significance of being one-half of the powerful female duo leading Star Trek:Discovery.

“It is very empowering,” the 55-year-old actress told ET’s Lauren Zima at the Star Trek: Discovery world premiere in Hollywood on Tuesday. “Honestly, it’s about time and we're very, very proud to be a part of that -- and it will look good because Sonequa, the cast, everyone worked so hard, worked so beautifully [on] it.”

Yeoh, who starred in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and next appears in the big-screen adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians, was overwhelmed by the fans’ support, saying they have been “very expressively happy.”

Photo: Jan Thijs/CBS Interactive

“When I arrived, [the fans] were shouting my name, so I went all the way across and I had a few Asian fans. Girls dressed up as Captain Georgiou,” she said. “It’s such a huge compliment and I thank them.”

As for what lies ahead in the 15-episode series, Yeoh teased that “it will be surprising.” “There will be twists and turns. It will be a little bit racier – maybe a little bit more than you expect,” she hinted.

Yeoh shared that loyal fans of the franchise will be happy with the way in which Star Trek:Discovery pays tribute to what’s come before.

“I think everybody pays homage to the original because they are the original, so the essence and spirit of how we started out … is very much there,” Yeoh said. “It’s about inclusion, raising the diversity, reflecting on what’s happening with us as a human race and going forward with strength and compassion. It is all there. I think this is the real spirit of what it is to be Star Trek.”

Star Trek: Discovery premieres Sunday, Sept. 24 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on CBS, before debuting new episodes on CBS All Access weekly. The Talking Trek aftershow launches Sunday following the debut on CBS All Access.