Star Trek: Discovery Casting Update Reveals Gay Character

Anthony Rapp steps into the role of gay Star Trek: Discovery character Lt. Stamets, while Doug Jones is cast as a new alien member of Starfleet.

Rent (2005) - Anthony Rapp as Mark

Star Trek has managed to build an incredibly loyal fan base throughout its five decades on both the small and big screen. The latest addition to the franchise will come in the form of television series Star Trek: Discovery and, with Michelle Yeoh cast in a role further details have now been revealed about, fans’ appetites for more news and casting updates for the show is starting to grow.

Luckily for those fans, two new announcements about cast members have now been made. With speculation about a gay character coming to the series and, after a scene where Sulu (John Cho) kisses his husband didn't make the cut in the franchise's last movie release (Star Trek Beyond), we now have official details about Discovery's gay character; including his name and exactly who will be playing him. There’s also been another male character revealed for the show, along with Yeoh’s official character name and her role in the series.

CBS Access have confirmed that Anthony Rapp (shown above in Rent) will be playing the gay character Lt. Stamets, a Starfleet Science Officer, fungus expert and ‘astromycologist’ who will serve aboard the Starship Discovery. The second announcement is for actor Doug Jones, who’s stepping into the shoes of Starfleet Science Officer, Lt. Saru. As a new alien species to the Star Trek franchise, details about Jones' character are scarce for the time being. Finally, the character Yeoh will be playing was named as Captain Georgiou, the Starfleet Captain who’ll be aboard the Starship Shenzhou.

Doug Jones as the Faun and Pale Man in Pans Labyrinth
Doug Jones played both the Faun and Pale Man in Pan's Labyrinth

Discovery executive producer Bryan Fuller had told reporters back in August of this year that having at least one character on the LGBT+ spectrum on the show was important, so it looks as if Rapp will be helping fill that void. Further casting announcements for the new Star Trek TV series will be made at a later date, with the show’s female lead yet to be revealed.

Whether or not core fans and loyalists to the franchise will be happy with seeing a gay character in the show still remains to be seen, but this looks to be a move by those behind the series to bring a more inclusive and diverse roster of characters to viewers. It’s certainly a step forward, with the decision to make Sulu a gay character in Star Trek Beyond causing some controversy and original Sulu actor - the openly gay George Takei - even taking issue with it, saying it made a change to Sulu’s history.

Of course there’s always the chance that those against this decision and all of the changes to the franchise could help see the show fall flat on its face. If a strong, loyal group of fans doesn’t get behind the television series, it could wind up being canceled before its writers even get a chance to tell a decent-sized portion of their planned story. The world of TV is a brutal one nowadays, so here’s to hoping Discovery can really step its game up and become the success the Star Trek franchise deserves.

Star Trek: Discovery launches in May 2017 on CBS Access.

Source: CBS Access [via EW]

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