Oyin Oladejo is one of the most exciting up-and-coming actors in Hollywood. She already getting noticed having the rare distinction of starring in not one, but two science fiction series simultaneously with recurring roles on CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery as Lt. Joann Owosekun and Hulu's Endlings as Abiona Maina. I spoke to the actor coming off of Discovery's third season and promoting her upcoming second season of Endlings.
When it comes to playing Abiona, Oladejo initially felt a little out of place playing a doctor, but as she familiarized herself in the character's world found out they share a lot more in common than she realized. "As an actor, I had to acclimate myself playing a doctor," she said. "It felt a little out of place. When playing Abiona from season one to two, I realize she's just a human being. She's just in a different profession. I may not understand it, but she believes in a cause and Oyin does too. She'll go to any lengths to fight for the cause the same way as Abiona does. From halfway of season one through season two, you start to see a change. The way it relates to me and everything happening with COVID, I realize I'm a very passionate person and I fight for certain causes. I needed to take a step back and re-evaluate how I fought for what I believed in and Abiona goes through that change. Oyin is going through that as well in real life."
Oladejo felt her sci-fi experience from Discovery helped guide her performance on Endlings. "I did my research as far as what it's like to be an activist and animal conservationist and their daily life," the actress said. "Beyond the professional aspect of that, I just needed a basic understanding of the world." The way Oladejo compares the worlds of Abiona and Joann is that the earlier is more grounded with her surroundings while the latter is still trying to figure things out. "Abiona and Joann are very different," Oladejo said. "Both have a strong edge. Joann feels a little out of place sometimes, but confident in her job whereas Abiona comes into a completely different culture and doesn't care. She does it however she wants."
One of the biggest developments for Oladejo was being able to explore Joann's mirror universe counterpart late in season three and she credits star Sonequa Martin-Green, who plays Michael Burnham, set the mood for the cast. "It was so much fun," Oladejo said. "We touched on [mirror universe] originally in season one. Going back to season three, we all came together. Sonequa asked us, 'What does it mean to be in this world?' The fun part about it is in the prime universe Joann cared a lot about her people, but in the mirror universe, taking that loyalty to a complete extreme makes you a tyrant. It was fun to play them to the extreme. As an actor, it was a beautiful challenge. I love the mirror universe and I hope they bring it back."
Oladejo also got her moment to shine as Discovery's final hope in Michael's plan to turn the tide in their fight with the Emerald Chain setting off the "bomb" to help trigger the system reset of the ship. "I'm beyond grateful and in awe, because it's so funny the experience in the mirror universe unleashed something within myself for my character," she said. "I talked to the showrunner Michelle Paradise and I said to her 'I'm discovering something in me within the mirror universe about prime Joann and she wants to use her body.' She comes from a Luddite community. I feel like she wants to use her body and thank God they found a way. I'm still new on the screen and I'm thankful they trusted me to prove myself. As an actor, it was beautiful and physically draining since I was shooting it late at night. This is how I wanted to feel at the end of the day?"
Oladejo revealed they're in the middle of shooting season four and teased what's to come for Joann. "We're not too far along in filming," she said. "It starts and stops with COVID. Based on where we left off in season three, there's a shift within myself I'm recognizing in myself where Joann is always ready to fight. Season four will test her resolve more and we'll see her more on track." You can catch all of season three of Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Access. Season two of Endlings premieres on Hulu on January 15.
Picking up where Season 1 left off, the focus of Endlings Season 2 moves from saving elephants to polar bears and finds Tabby (Michela Luci; Dino Dana, Abby Hatcher: Fuzzly Catcher) , Johnny (Edison Grant; Lockdown, Forget-Me-Not), Julia (Kamaia Fairburn; Star Falls, Holly Hobbie, Odd Squad), and Finn (Cale Thomas Ferrin; More Beautiful for Having Been Broken, Speechless) helping their extraterrestrial friend, Ling, as they get closer to saving the remaining fantastical endlings. When Ling accidentally shows Tabby a vision of their quest failing, the team learns Ling's powers don't just allow the alien access to their past, but also their future, kicking off a high-octane, time-bending adventure, where the teens must learn to let their hopes, not their hurts, shape the future. As they face their fears, they fight to change the future to save their lives and the planet.