The crew of the Starship Discovery will be lead by a female character who is not the captain, and will have an LGBT member as part of its core ensemble.
“Absolutely we’re having a gay character,” said Star Trek Discovery showrunner Bryan Fuller, adding that it would aim to “continue the tradition” of the “wonderful expression of diversity” seen in the original series, which featured a racially varied cast.
Fuller noted that the acceptance of LGBT characters had “improved dramatically” in recent years, recalling the hate mail that was received following a rumour that a Star Trek: Voyager character was going to be lesbian. “I think we’ve come a long way since then; gay rights have come a lot further in that time than racial issues and women’s issues.”
The show’s central character will not be the first female lead in a Star Trek series – that was Kate Mulgrew’s Captain Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager – but she will be the first who is not the ship’s captain, instead described by Fuller as a “Lt Commander … with caveats.”
“We’ve seen six series from captains’ points of view,” said Fuller, adding that he was keen “to see a character from a different perspective, who has a different dynamic with the captain, with subordinates”.
He said the as yet uncast new character would have “a strength and sensitivity and an amusing neurosis that goes with exploring space”.
“In order to understand something that’s completely alien from her, she has to understand herself. It’s so easy to look at someone different from ourselves and think how we would think in their shoes, but we cannot imagine how they’d think because we are not them. It’s part of the character’s journey in this first season.”
Fuller also revealed that there would be “more aliens” than in previous Star Trek crews – “usually it’s one person with a bumpy head”, he told Variety and an audience at the Television Critics Association.
Here’s a glimpse of what could turn out be that first alien crew member…
Star Trek Discovery comes to Netflix in January 2017