In Star Trek: Discovery, a lot of the time when Michael Burnham is alone with another character she starts whispering. Why does she do this? Is it something the actress has done in other roles?

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    I've not seen much of Discovery so this may be obvious, but can you link to any specific videos pf scenes that give examples of this behaviour?
    – Michael
    Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 9:30
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    She doesn't whisper she speaks softly, not the same.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 12:31
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    I can't remember where I saw it, but I read an article that suggested that actors speaking softly was a modern trend for movies and shows.
    – Peter M
    Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 14:56
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    In space, no-one can hear you scream, but whispers carry just fine. Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 19:43
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    It's officially known as a 'whisper-cry', and it's because every scene in Discovery has to be fraught with emotion apparently.
    – Derek
    Commented Feb 14, 2022 at 5:03

2 Answers 2


It's not the actor's fault, she clearly has been directed to speak that way because in select other scenes even on Discovery (e.g. gambling with aliens to get a weapon material) she doesn't do that - she talks normally and has greater emotive range.

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    Your answer would greatly benefit from source material for your claim. At the moment, your answer is simply your opinion. At SciFi-SE, we try to answer questions backed with source material, which is the big difference to other boards as reddit or quora. Maybe include some material about the actress in other roles (to support your claim that she acts differently in other films / series) and that the director / writer wrote Michael Burnham to whisper.
    – Shade
    Commented Mar 30, 2022 at 7:00

Michael is a direct speaker and rather than yell, she prefers a hushed, yet firm, tone when she talks to people to sway them to her side. Remember, she was raised for a not-insignificant time on Vulcan, and the Vulcans love to speak directly to people in calm tones. It's one of the few traits that has been consistent about the character since her debut

As you can see from this interview, Sonequa Martin-Green (the actress) is quite a bit more... bubbly in personality.

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    The vulcans on Star Trek Discovery don't whisper but Burnham does.
    – sno
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 14:08
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    Seems your video is showing as "Video unavailable" (now)...? Commented Mar 4, 2022 at 15:34
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    @JonClements They might have region-locked it (which is stupid since that's their official YT channel)
    – Machavity
    Commented Mar 4, 2022 at 15:40

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