New plot details from “Star Trek: Discovery” reveal history in the making for the “Star Trek” franchise. After six decades, a canon gay couple will finally be given their due on the sci-fi hit. While many have speculated on Captain James T. Kirk, Commander Spock and CMO Leonard “Bones” McCoy’s sexual orientations, none of the trio ever came out in their respective shows and films. Sulu (played by John Cho) in “Star Trek Beyond” was revealed to be gay, but his coming out was all of 10 seconds long, with no further references to his sexual orientation or his husband later on in the film.
But “Star Trek: Discovery” seems like it’s going to make huge strides for diverse queer representation on the show, with help from Anthony Rapp (“Rent”) and Wilson Cruz (“Red Band Society”), according to The Mary Sue. Rapp told fans at SDCC last weekend about the show’s move, noting he will be joined by Cruz who will play “my love interest, my partner. My man love- and we’re both officers on the ship.” Rapp will play anastromycologist Lt. Stamets (basically, a fungus scientist), while Cruz will portray medical officer Dr. Hugh Culber. Both actors portraying the gay couple are also out gay men, which is also a rarity on television or film. While LGBTQ+ characters are few and far between, the few that do make it onscreen are often played by straight or cisgender actors.
— Star Trek: Discovery (@startrekcbs) July 22, 2017
In a later interview with EW, Rapp expanded on his thoughts, saying:
“I’m really excited and happy when a gay character is a part of a story — especially when a gay character is created in a complex and human and non-stereotypical, interesting way, and that has certainly been the case with Stamets. And you get to see his relationship. There was a little glimpse in Sulu in Beyond, and it was a nice nod. But in this case, we actually get to see me with my partner in conversation, in our living quarters, you get to see our relationship over time, treated as any other relationship would be treated.”
Showrunner Aaron Harberts also provided further insight into Rapp’s character, who has a “crucial role” in the series’ story arc:
“We’re at a point in time where people aren’t defined by their sexuality. What’s fascinating about the character is that when we meet him we don’t know who or what he is. He’s so super specific, he’s persnickety and difficult and brilliant, and he isn’t going to give an inch and he has very strong feelings about why he’s on the Discovery. We wanted to roll out that character’s sexuality the way people would roll out their sexuality in life.”
The show previously made headlines last weekend with the release of the official trailer for the series, helmed by Sonequa Martin-Green (“The Walking Dead”) and featuring Rapp, Michelle Yeoh (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), and Jason Isaacs (“The OA”), among others. Read more about the trailer and upcoming show here.
“Star Trek: Discovery” premieres September 24 on CBS All Access. Watch the official trailer below.
Excited to finally see a canon gay couple in the “Star Trek” franchise? Let us know in the comments below!