Sonequa Martin-Green is no stranger to the world of Hollywood franchises, having already made her mark on the world of The Walking Dead for five seasons as Sasha Williams before becoming the face of modern Star Trek as Michael Burnham in the ongoing Star Trek: Discovery. And now she’s entering yet another Hollywood tentpole, only this time via the world of video games, as the actress joins the cast of Fast & Furious Crossroads.
Fast & Furious Crossroads is “a team-based, vehicular-heist action game” which will tell a new story set in the universe from the movies of the same name, with Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, and Tyrese Gibson all reprising their big-screen roles alongside Martin-Green and Asia Kate Dillon (Billions, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum), who both play new characters created for the game.
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For Martin-Green, one of the key reasons why she wanted to take the Crossroads gig was because of the Fast franchise’s track record when it comes to diversity.
“I feel very blessed because this is a franchise that has been a part of our lives for 20 years or so,” the actress tells IGN. “I’ve always loved the franchise and I respect it because of its representation. It was a blessing to be able to join — and surreal as well. We all know, especially in this time right now, how important [representation] is. We all know that it’s necessary and we need it. We need it for a better present and a better future. Fast and the Furious, this franchise has been innovative in that way. It’s been doing that for 20 years and representing so many different parts of the world and so many different cultures. I do believe it’s one of the main reasons why it has stood the test of time.”
Martin-Green plays Vienna Cole in the game, a character who, according to the official Crossroads site, “has grown up in a hurry” and who is about to learn that sometimes “even the best of intentions can have deadly consequences.” For the actress, she saw a certain quality in the character that has recurred in the major roles she’s played so far.
“I love strong women — that is my jam,” she laughs. “But what I love even more than strong women is when strong women are able to show their vulnerability. Because I do believe that that is part of a woman’s strength… of anyone’s strength. It’s part of a man’s strength as well. I do appreciate when I can step into someone who is grappling with darkness or really with hurt or pain or shame or guilt or these things that are very relatable. These things that a lot of us struggle with. I appreciate being able to bring those kinds of stories to life and those kinds of characters to life, because I think that’s what’s really inspiring is when you can see someone grappling with these things and when you can see them overcome. And that’s definitely what’s going on with Vienna. There were some things that went wrong that she blames herself for, that she’s burdened with. But Vienna is also extremely ambitious and strong and self-sufficient and driven and dependable. There’s a lot of power there. But then there’s also a lot of hurt to navigate as well.”
For Martin-Green, approaching a performance for a video game isn’t very different from that of a film or TV role. She finds that it’s most helpful to look for the similarities in the process rather than the differences.
“Because there was so much time and attention and passion poured into the story, I was able to just dive into the story the way I always do,” she says. “I was able to just take that for what it was and allow the story to rise up around me and give my imagination the freedom to run free. In that way, I approached it the same way, which is so impressive to me that I was able to do that for video games, but it was so rich, and I said, wow, this is great. I can dig this!”
One interesting similarity between the Fast & Furious series and the Star Trek series is that both are very focused on the idea of adopted families. Vin Diesel’s character is always talking about “family” and there are also levels upon levels of “family” in Star Trek: Discovery, where Martin-Green plays Michael Burnham, who is adopted into two different families (first as a child in Spock’s family and then as an adult in the Disco family).
“I couldn’t help but be aware of that for sure,” says the actress of the thematic parallels. “Because that’s such a deep prevailing theme in the Fast franchise, is these people who have chosen to be family. That’s very compelling and that’s something again that I think we all want to aspire to. I think it’s very inspiring when we see it. It’s challenging and it causes us to want to sort of look at the people in our lives and grab a hold of them, that family and that chosen family that we have in our own lives. It’s like when people come from different parts of the world, when they come from different backgrounds, when they have different points of view, but they decide to unify.”
And speaking of Discovery, Season 3 of the show has been shot and we know that it will feature the crew of the ship confronting a new reality after they were thrown a thousand years into the future at the end of last season. Martin-Green is sworn to secrecy about the specifics of what is in store for Burnham and the crew, but she promises a whole new spin on the Star Trek universe.
“I can say 1000% yes, it’s definitely going to have a different feel,” she says. “Simply because, well, there are lots of reasons why, but simply, mainly because we are going to be in a completely different time. So you can imagine how different things are going to be from that. I can’t even… it’s too much to name!”
Fast and Furious Crossroads will be released August 7. Star Trek: Discovery Season 3’s release date has not yet been revealed, but hopefully it will be before the end of the year!