The upcoming Star Trek: Discovery will feature a same-sex relationship – the first of its kind in a Star Trek TV series.
During the show’s panel at Comic Con, star Anthony Rapp announced that his character, Lieutenant Stamlets, will have a male partner, played by his close friend Wilson Cruz, who will be a fellow Starfleet officer.
“Wilson Cruz will be playing my love interest, my partner – my man love – and we’re both officers on the ship,” said Rapp.
"I play the first openly gay character in the history of TV Star Trek. I'm very proud of that & he's a scientist." –@albinokid#SDCC2017
Cruz is renowned for playing one of the first openly gay characters on TV in the US in teen drama My So-Called Life. He is also set to appear in the upcoming second season of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why.
While the recent Star Trek: Beyond briefly showed John Cho’s Sulu – portrayed in the original series by LGBT+ activist George Takei, who came out in 2005 – with a boyfriend and a child, many felt that the issue was glossed over. Takei himself criticised the move.
“I’m delighted that there’s a gay character,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2016. “Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene’s [Rodenberry, creator of the original Star Trek series] creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.”
The veteran actor however, has responded very positively to the news about Rapp’s character in Star Trek: Discovery.
The move shows how far the franchise has come since the original series ended in 1969. A year before the show was cancelled, Takei attempted to convince Rodenberry to touch upon the issue of gay rights in the show. The showrunner declined, despite being sympathetic to the actor’s cause, as he was not in the position to take the risk: the show was experiencing its worst ever ratings at the time.
Star Trek: Discovery debuts on Netflix on Monday 25th September