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For the mirror universe counterpart, please see Philippa Georgiou (mirror).
"Do you know why Sarek asked me to take you on? I was a Human who had seen a life of loss, but still chose hope."
– Philippa Georgiou to Michael Burnham, 2256 ("Battle at the Binary Stars")

Captain Philippa Georgiou was a female Human Starfleet officer who lived during the mid-23rd century. She served in the command division as the commanding officer of the USS Shenzhou in 2256. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello")


Personal life[]

USS Shenzhou bridge

Georgiou on the bridge of the Shenzhou

Philippa Georgiou was born in 2202 in Pulau Langkawi, Malaysia on Earth. (DIS: "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry", "Will You Take My Hand?")

Prior to 2256, Georgiou had known great loss, yet remained optimistic in spite of her past. (DIS: "Battle at the Binary Stars")

Her ready room was decorated with memoirs of her life, including several artifacts, books, and awards. It also contained Georgiou's most beloved possession, a telescope that had been in her family for centuries. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello", "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry")

A framed certificate from the "Raal institute For interspecies studies" was also produced for Georgiou, though it is not clear if this made it on screen. (SFX, issue 292, p. 84)

Starfleet career[]

Starfleet Academy[]

Georgiou attended Starfleet Academy from 2220 to 2224. During this period she met Christopher Pike, who described her as the sharpest tool in the shed and a force to be reckoned with. He also remembered her drinking Pike and their fellow cadets underneath the table, but also for having every Starfleet regulation down by the second week. (DIS: "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry", "Saints of Imperfection")

Early career[]

Georgiou and Saru board SHN 03

Lieutenant Georgiou and Saru depart Kaminar

As a Lieutenant, Georgiou was serving aboard the USS Archimedes. In 2239, she convinced Starfleet to allow her to transport Saru from his home world of Kaminar due to his high level of intelligence and curiosity, and despite the Prime Directive issues doing so raised. (ST: "The Brightest Star", DIS: "The Sound of Thunder")

She earned an impressive list of commendations during her career, including the Star Cross and the Legion of Honor. She was also awarded a diploma from the Laikan Military Academy on Andoria for Advanced Interstellar Combat. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello", "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry")

Commanding officer of the USS Shenzhou[]

Philippa Georgiou, 2249

Captain Georgiou aboard the Shenzhou in 2249

Sometime prior to 2249, Georgiou was given command of the USS Shenzhou. In that year, the Shenzhou visited Vulcan where she welcomed Michael Burnham aboard as her new officer, at the request of Burnham's guardian, Sarek, with whom Georgiou had previously been acquainted. Sarek felt that Georgiou's personal history might help Burnham come to terms with her own past, although Georgiou feared that, one day, Burnham's Humanity might be overridden by the Vulcan training she had undergone. (DIS: "Battle at the Binary Stars")

As captain, Georgiou preferred a relaxed command style, encouraging conversation between her officers on the bridge; in particular, she enjoyed a friendly rivalry between Burnham (who eventually became her first officer) and her science officer, Saru, although she recognized when to cut between them and assert her authority. However, she was quick to react when an officer crossed a line. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello")

Saving the Crepusculans[]
Michael Burnham and Philippa Georgiou

Georgiou with Michael Burnham on the Crepusculan planet

In 2256, Captain Georgiou led an expedition to the Crepusculan homeworld, accompanied by Burnham, to prevent a drought from wiping out the native civilization. When a storm cut off communications with the Shenzhou, Georgiou used her footsteps to mark out a Starfleet symbol in the sand, allowing the starship to locate and recover the pair. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello")

Encountering the Klingons[]

Dispatched to a binary star system to investigate a damaged interstellar relay, Georgiou used a telescope she kept in her ready room to visually identify an object of unknown origin. Feeling that the object's location prevented them from getting a closer look, she was inclined to agree with Saru's recommendation that they leave it alone; however, Burnham persuaded her to allow the first officer to take a thruster pack to investigate, on the condition that it was "just a flyby."

Despite Burnham returning from the "flyby" in critical condition, Georgiou was initially reluctant to accept her first officer's declaration that the object was of Klingon origin. She ultimately recognized that Burnham's view was not caused by her injuries, and ordered the ship to red alert, knowing that retreating from Federation space was not an option, rejecting Saru's calls to leave immediately.

Georgiou confers with Admiral Anderson

Georgiou receives her orders from Fleet Admiral Anderson

When a Klingon vessel decloaked before the Shenzhou, Georgiou informed Starfleet Command by way of an encoded message, and decided to adopt a non-aggressive posture, attempting to establish communications. After receiving orders from Fleet Admiral Brett Anderson to maintain their position and not engage, she remained unwilling to preemptively strike against them, hoping that whatever events transpired could connect the two civilizations.

Despite the entreaties of her first officer and the object's activation blinding the Shenzhou, Georgiou stood by her orders, angrily reprimanding Burnham for questioning her authority on her bridge. Burnham decided to take matters into her own hands, incapacitating Georgiou using a Vulcan nerve pinch and attempting to take command of the Shenzhou. Quickly recovering from the effects, Georgiou entered the bridge, armed with a phaser, and ordered her first officer to stand down, just as a fleet of Klingon ships entered the system. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello")

Georgiou relieves Burnham of duty

Georgiou aims a phaser at Burnham after her attempted mutiny

After removing Burnham from the bridge, and upon the arrival of reinforcements, Georgiou was finally able to contact the Klingon fleet. Advising the Klingons to either leave or enter into dialogue, and expressing regret for the death of their warrior in the encounter with Burnham, Georgiou reassured them that the Federation came in peace. However, this was the clarion call that the Klingon leader, T'Kuvma, had been anticipating, and he used it to rally the Klingon fleet to attack, triggering the Battle of the Binary Stars.

The Shenzhou took significant damage during the initial volley, despite Georgiou's evasive action allowing the Federation fleet to cover its retreat. She then ordered the ship to cover the USS T'Plana-Hath. Georgiou was dismayed to learn that the damage sustained included hull breaches on the deck where the ship's brig was located – right where Burnham had been remanded.

With the Shenzhou completely disabled and drifting into the system's accretion disk, Georgiou instructed her crew to prepare to evacuate. Only the arrival of the USS Europa prevented the destruction of the ship, and Georgiou thanked Admiral Anderson for their assistance, explaining to her superior that the Klingons had fired in response to her communication, and reporting the state of the fleet.

Philippa Georgiou, tactical gear

Georgiou prepares to board the Klingon flagship

Determined to strike a blow against the Klingons after the deliberate ramming of the Europa, Georgiou took on a suggestion from Saru to use the Shenzhou's worker bees to transport a photon warhead to the enemy flagship, and resolved to pilot the warhead in herself, as the auxiliary craft lacked an autopilot. However, Burnham, having survived the destruction of the brig, arrived on the bridge to warn Georgiou that killing T'Kuvma would only lead to his martyrdom. Instead, she proposed capturing T'Kuvma.

Still reeling from her first officer's actions, Georgiou asked why she had done what she had, and berated herself for her own arrogance in thinking she could "pick away the shell the Vulcans had put around" Burnham and in believing the first officer was ready for command.

Philippa Georgiou dies

Georgiou killed by T'Kuvma

Seeing the Klingons gathering their dead, Georgiou modified the plan, disabling the Klingon flagship by beaming the warhead to a Klingon corpse, then transporting aboard with Burnham to capture T'Kuvma. In the ensuing boarding action, Georgiou engaged the Klingon leader in hand-to-hand combat; however, she was no match for the trained warrior and his mek'leth, and was killed. Her body was left behind on the Klingon ship as Burnham was beamed away. (DIS: "Battle at the Binary Stars")

Georgiou was nonetheless given a funeral, at which Saru presented a speech. (DIS: "Context Is for Kings")


Meanwhile, T'Kuvma's ship was assumed lost and left stranded by the other Klingons for six months. The surviving crew spent this time slowly repairing their crippled ship by salvaging the debris field left behind by the battle. Yet, after many months with no resupply, they faced the likelihood of starvation; Voq and his crew ate Georgiou's corpse, in part simply to survive, and in part as revenge for her role in their master's death. (DIS: "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry", "Will You Take My Hand?")


Following her death, Cadet Sylvia Tilly read everything there was on Georgiou. (DIS: "Context Is for Kings")

Philippa Georgiou holographic will

Georgiou's holographic will and testament

Georgiou's last will and testament reached Burnham six months after her death. It contained a holographic message, along with Georgiou's telescope, which she bequeathed to Burnham. (DIS: "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry")

Saru told Burnham that her saving the Tardigrade would not bring back nor change the fact that her type of behavior during this crisis was exactly what killed Captain Georgiou. (DIS: "Choose Your Pain")

Georgiou's Starfleet badge, inscribed with her name and serial number, fell into the possession of Kol, then Head of the House of Kor. Eventually, Burnham took the badge from Kol while engaged in personal combat, beaming back to the USS Discovery with it. (DIS: "Into the Forest I Go")

After encountering Georgiou's counterpart in the mirror universe, Michael Burnham used her former captain's Starfleet badge to convince the Terran emperor of her origin in another universe. (DIS: "Vaulting Ambition")

The shared bond between Georgiou and Burnham provoked Burnham to bring the mirror Georgiou to the prime universe where she briefly took on the role of her deceased double as captain of the USS Discovery in 2257. (DIS: "What's Past Is Prologue", "The War Without, The War Within", "Will You Take My Hand?")

The Terran Georgiou would later use the prime Georgiou's identity and state that she was retired and now a Starfleet Security consultant. (DIS: "Point of Light")

According to Saru, he made a promise to Captain Georgiou to uphold General Order 1. (DIS: "An Obol for Charon")

When on Ni'Var, formerly Vulcan, Burnham's mutiny against Captain Georgiou was used against her. (DIS: "Unification III")

Burnham later told the mirror Georgiou that she had learned as much from her as she did from the prime Georgiou. (DIS: "Terra Firma, Part 1")

When Saru returned from his hiatus from Kaminar, he mentioned to Captain Burnham that their mentor knew the value of another set of trusted eyes, especially in times of crisis. (DIS: "Anomaly (DIS)")

Awards and honors[]

Starfleet database, decorated captains

Starfleet database: decorated captains

Months after her death, Georgiou was one of Starfleet's most decorated captains, listed among other legends such as Robert April, Jonathan Archer, Matthew Decker and Christopher Pike. (DIS: "Choose Your Pain")

Key dates[]

Memorable quotes[]

"Ensign Connor, agreement between my senior officers. Note the date and time."
"Noted, captain."

- Philippa Georgiou to Ensign Danby Connor, on the agreement between Michael Burnham and Saru (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello")

"Battle is not simulation. It's blood and screams and funerals. I taught you better than that. We don't start shooting on a hunch. And we don't take innocent lives, period."

- Philippa Georgiou, to Michael Burnham, on battle (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello")

"All warfare is based on deception. When you're able to attack, you must seem unable."

- Philippa Georgiou, quoting Sun Tzu to Saru (DIS: "Battle at the Binary Stars")

"Do you know why Sarek asked me to take you on? I was a Human who had seen a life of loss, but still chose hope. What an ego I had, thinking I could pick away the shell the Vulcans had put around you."

- Philippa Georgiou to Michael Burnham (DIS: "Battle at the Binary Stars")

"Let's go get our prisoner."

- Philippa Georgiou's last words to Michael Burnham (DIS: "Battle at the Binary Stars")

"Hello, Michael. I hope that wherever this finds you, you are well. I imagine you have your own command now. The captain of your own ship. I have always tried to show you by example. The best way to know yourself is to know others. You are curious, an explorer. So I am leaving you my most beloved possession, handed down through my family for centuries. My hope is that you will use it to continue to investigate the mysteries of the universe, both inside and out, and keep your eyes and heart open always. Goodbye, Michael, and good luck. Know that I am as proud of you as if you were my own daughter. Take good care. But most importantly, take good care of those in your care."

- Philippa Georgiou's recorded message, delivered posthumously to Michael Burnham (DIS: "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry")



Background information[]

Philippa Georgiou was portrayed by Michelle Yeoh.

In November 2016, it was reported that Yeoh had been cast as "Han Bo"[1], rumored to be one of the show's two female leads – perhaps even a younger Number One.[2] Yeoh's character was soon identified as Captain of the Shenzhou[3], before being renamed Philippa Georgiou.

To take on the part of Captain Georgiou, Michelle Yeoh relied on the help of the creative staff. "I worked very closely," she recalled, "with Aaron (Harberts) and Gretchen (Berg), our show runners, and then with David Semel (director of the pilot) and some of the writers that were here at that time, and Ted (Sullivan), to get a feel of 'When you wrote this character, what were you thinking? Is she married? Does she have family? Does she have that?' Because it forms who she is." [4]

Yeoh portrays Georgiou with her native Malaysian accent. [5] Her decision to do so was widely commented upon, and generally praised, in the Malaysian press. [6] [7] "Vaulting Ambition" writer Jordon Nardino, when theorizing on the connection between Empress Hoshi Sato and the mirror Georgiou, indicated that that Georgiou's background is Chinese-Malaysian[8] [9] [10], like Yeoh herself.

According to Yeoh in an interview with SFX (issue 292, p. 80), Georgiou had seen the horrors of war. She went on to describe how her maintaining hope for Humanity figured in Sarek's decision to place Burnham with her. This closely mirrors something Georgiou said in the show; that Sarek put Burnham in her care because she still had hope despite a life of loss – suggesting these losses might be tied to said war experiences.


The novel Desperate Hours states that Georgiou's surname was retained from her ex-husband Nikos Georgiou.

In the novel Drastic Measures, Georgiou was assigned to USS Narbonne (β) in 2246, following the Tarsus IV crisis, She was assigned to the USS Defiant as Science officer.

External links[]