LGBT Trekkies got a big surprise over the weekend when it was announced that the forthcoming Star Trek: Discovery series would feature a same-sex romance.
Anthony Rapp, who plays Starfleet Science Officer Lt. Stamets on the new CBS show, broke the news to fans Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con.
“I can announce that Wilson Cruz will play my love interest and my partner in Star Trek: Discovery,” announced Rapp. “I’m very proud of that and that he’s a scientist.”
Cruz, best known for portraying Enrique “Rickie” Vasquez on My So-Called Life, excitedly tweeted about his upcoming turn on the series shortly after Rapp’s announcement
“Well, apparently, the cat is finally out of the bag,” he wrote. “I’m so thrilled to be a part of the epic American mythology that is Star Trek!”
— Wilson Cruz (@wcruz73) July 22, 2017
Though the Sulu character in 2016’s Star Trek Beyond is gay, Lt. Stamets will be the first openly gay male character on a Star Trek TV series.
“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,” Rapp told Entertainment Weekly.
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) July 27, 2017
“And you get to see his relationship. There was a little glimpse in Sulu in Beyond, and it was a nice nod,” said the actor. “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.”
“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,” he added. “We wanted to roll out that character’s sexuality the way people would roll out their sexuality in life.”
— Star Trek: Discovery (@startrekcbs) July 22, 2017
One of the showrunners, Aaron Harberts, also commented on finally including an openly gay character on a Star Trek series:
“We’re at a point in time where people aren’t defined by their sexuality,” he said.
“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.”
“Star Trek has always been [a picture] of diversity and universality and unity. If you say you love the legacy of Star Trek, but you don’t love that, then you’ve missed it,” said Rapp’s costar Sonequa Martin-Green of the inclusive move. “I encourage you to come on the journey with us.”
“Our opportunity is to take our view of conflict today and still search for some resolution that is not dystopian, but utopian,” added Rapp. “I promise you that we passionately believe in what we are doing. We want to do something meaningful and honor what came before.”
Star Trek: Discovery will debut on CBS on September 24.