Discovery introduces first openly gay Star Trek TV character

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Jul 27, 2017, 6:58 PM EDT

Star Trek: Discovery will introduce the first openly gay character in Trek television history, and we have a first look at Anthony Rapp as Lt. Stamets.

He is an astromycologist (aka an expert in alien fungus) who is said to play a crucial role in Discovery’s storyline, with his research being “key to Starfleet’s conflict with the Klingons.”

Showrunner Aaron Harberts opened up about the character to Entertainment Weekly, describing him as “persnickety and difficult and brilliant,” something he has in common with a few other Star Trek science officers, if memory serves. Stamets will be in a romantic relationship with another member of the crew, and unlike the small glimpse we had of Sulu’s (John Cho) home life in Star Trek: Beyond, Discovery will boldly go into the details of Stamets’ relationship.

Here’s what Harberts said:

“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.”

Rapp, who starred in the musical Rent, added that we’ll delve into the character’s life on the ship and that he won’t be the easiest one to get along with:

“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.

“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, so he’s got a little bit of an edge sometimes, which is fun to play.”

Star Trek: Discovery will debut the first episode on September 24 on CBS before the rest of the 15-episode season moves to CBS All Access.


(via EW)