Sometimes casting news in one show signals character death in another, and while Star Trek: Discovery may have just found the person to lead the online-only CBS show, it seems more than a little likely that The Walking Dead is about to lose a major cast member in season 7B.
To talk about this at all, potential spoilers are going to follow. However it is theoretically possible that this person won’t die (though I'm fairly certain they will).
The new star of Star Trek: Discovery is Sonequa Martin-Green, who plays Sasha on The Walking Dead, and has since season three. She will be playing the lead, a lieutenant commander on the Discovery, according to EW, though the article notes that she “will continue to serve as a series regular on AMC’s zombie drama.”
Sorry, but I don’t buy that. While it’s true that I made a similar prediction with Corey Hawkins, who plays Heath, when he was cast to lead FOX’s new 24 spin-off, it’s a different situation this time around for a few reasons.
Heath’s role has been dramatically reduced in The Walking Dead to the point where we’re lucky if we see the character in a few scenes per season. In one of the only episodes which Hawkins’ Heath had a major role this season, he wasn’t even the lead, as he was supporting another support character, Tara, and still barely in the episode. I still believe that Heath may not survive the Negan was if 24: Legacy pans out, but right now he’s one of the most minor characters on the show at this point.
Not so with Sasha. She’s a series regular, name in the opening credits and everything, and the timing of this is awfully suspicious with a big potential moment for her character in Season 2B. Comic spoilers follow.
As fans will know, Sasha is not a character from the comics. However, over time, she’s slowly morphed into one, as sometimes tends to happen on the show. She has essentially assumed the “Holly” role from the comics, a woman who Abraham ends up ditching Rosita for, who grows to have a fairly large part in the Negan war.
Namely, when Rick and the united settlements confront Negan at his hideout, everything goes to hell. In the chaos, Holly tells Rick to flee and crashes a vehicle through the outer gate of the fortress, allowing Walkers to stream in. Holly is taken prisoner, is nearly raped by one of Negan’s men (Negan kill him for trying) and then is “returned home” to Alexandria when Negan returns for another confrontation.
The comic pulls a trick that we saw already on Fear the Walking Dead. Holly is returned with a hood over her head, and when it’s removed, surprise! She’s a walker, and she bites a resident (the doctor, I believe, who should already be dead on the show).
So that’s Holly’s end, and I’m pretty convinced that some version of that is going to be Sasha’s as well, which would probably make her the most significant casualty of the Negan war outside of the initial execution of Abraham and Glenn.
Sasha has been itching to go after Negan personally, building to this sort of moment where she might try to sacrifice herself to bring down his fortress. Her (brief) relationship with Abraham is a strong hint she’s fully going down Holly’s path, and starring in Star Trek means she probably will not survive the season.
Interestingly in comics, there’s a moment where Negan thinks he’s captured Rick’s girlfriend, Andrea, but instead has Holly, a different white woman. But now in the show, Andrea is dead and Rick is with Michonne. Holly doesn’t exist, but Abraham was with Sasha. Will Negan mix them up the same way? It’s kind of interesting how that played out.
This seems like a great career move for Martin-Green, as she’s probably the 8th most significant character on The Walking Dead these days, and it sounds like she’ll have a starring role on Star Trek: Discovery. And obviously it's just fantastic that a geeky show like Star Trek will have a black actress as its lead, not just a supporting character. I do worry about the health of an online-only CBS show, but it sounds like they’re really trying to make it work, and perhaps distribution will go better than I’m expecting. I’ll certainly be watching, somehow, though paying $6-10 a month to watch a single show when I care about nothing else on CBS isn’t that enticing. iTunes season pass maybe?
Anyway, unlike Heath who might be able to do both, I have a very strong feeling that Sasha will not survive to season eight. If not, congrats to Martin-Green for a job well done the last few years, and best of luck out in space.
Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook. Pick up my sci-fi novels, The Last Exodus, The Exiled Earthborn and The Sons of Sora, which are now in print, online and on audiobook.
Why does The Walking Dead have such lasting appeal? Find out below: