Star Trek: Discovery is set to feature many firsts in the sci-fi franchise’s 51 year history.
It’s the first series to not have the Captain as the main character. The lead will be Commander Michael Burnham, played by Sonequa Martin-Green. Yes, having a black woman as the lead is also a first.
However, another of its major firsts, is prominently featuring an openly gay character.
Anthony Rapp’s (Rent) Lt. Stamets is an anastromycologist whose fungus expertise and mushroom research becomes very important in the fight against the Klingons.
Rapp discussed his groundbreaking character with Entertainment Weekly as part of its Discovery cover story.
“He’s a really, really smart guy and as smart guys go, he sometimes can be a little difficult to deal with because not everybody’s as smart as he is,” said Rapp. “So he’s got a little bit of an edge sometimes, which is fun to play.”
Though Stamets is a first for Star Trek’s TV franchise, the films included a short glimpse at Sulu’s (John Cho) husband and child at the end of Star Trek Beyond.
Rapp is excited that Discovery will show more of the character’s personal lives, including Stamets’ romance with another crew member.
“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,” said Rapp. “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.”
Co-showrunner Aaron Harberts wanted the reveal of the character’s life to feel real, so his sexuality isn’t something that comes up immediately
“We’re at a point in time where people aren’t defined by their sexuality,” said Harberts. “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: Discovery stars Sonequa Martin-Green, Michelle Yeoh, Jason Isaacs, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp and premieres Sunday, Sept. 24 on CBS. It will then move to CBS All Access for its first eight episodes. The second half of season one will return in 2018.
Are you excited that Star Trek is finally introducing an openly gay character to its TV series?
Source: Entertainment Weekly