Queer trekkies received amazing news at San Diego’s Comic-Con when it was announced a gay character would be front and center in the upcoming series, Star Trek Discovery. This will be the first gay character ever in the Star Trek franchise’ 50-plus-year television history. But it gets better – the character will have a love interest.
Anthony Rapp (Rent, Dazed and Confused) will play Lt. Paul Stamets, an astromycologist and science officer on the new series. At Comic-Con, Rapp said he was honored to play the first gay character, telling fans, “I am very proud of that! And he’s a scientist!” Wilson Cruz (13 Reasons Why, My So-Called Life) was announced as Rapp’s love interest on the show. In describing the relationship, Rapp, who is openly gay, described Cruz’ character as, “my partner – my man love – and we’re both officers on the ship.”
Cruz later took to social media and confirmed the news, “I’m so THRILLED to be apart of the epic American mythology that is #StarTrek!”
The series has embraced diversity in the past, including one of the first interracial kisses on television, between James Kirk (William Shatner) and Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols). The episode was so controversial it was banned by many stations in the U.S. south. Show creator Gene Roddenberry believed in bringing diversity to the show, however, in a 1991 interview to The Humanist, he admitted that it took him some time to accepts gays and lesbians, “My attitude toward homosexuality has changed. I came to the conclusion that I was wrong. I have over many years changed my attitude about gay men and women.” Roddenberry’s son Rod, went further and told the Associated Press, “I think he would be 100% in favor of a gay character in Star Trek.”
Out co-creator, executive producer Bryan Fuller (American Gods, Hannibal) had originally broken the news in 2016 when he stated, “absolutely, we’re having a gay character.” The revelation came on the heels of the controversial decision to make Lt. Sulu (John Cho) a gay character in the film Star Trek Beyond. Actor George Takei, Sulu in the original TV series, felt strongly that this retroactive outing was misguided and that having an all new gay character would be, “most impactful.” He’s finally gotten his wish.
Star Trek Discovery is set to blast-off in September on CBS’ All Access streaming service.