(WM) ViacomCBS announced Sept. 2 that the forthcoming third season of “Star Trek: Discovery” will introduce nonbinary and transgender characters, a first in the sci-fi franchise’s more than 50-year history.
“Star Trek: Discovery” launched on the network’s streaming platform CBS All Access in 2017. The series has been nominated for multiple GLAAD Awards for its LGBT-inclusive storylines, among them the introduction of the franchise’s first same-sex couple played by openly gay actors Wilson Cruz and Anthony Rapp.
Season three will introduce Adira, a nonbinary character played by nonbinary performer Blu del Barrio. Described as “highly intelligent with confidence and self-assurance well beyond their years,” they will “form an unexpected bond” with Cruz and Rapp’s characters.
Ian Alexander, the first openly transgender Asian-American person to act on television, will play a transgender character named Gray. Described as “empathetic, warm and eager to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a Trill host,” the character “will have to adapt when his life takes an unexpected turn.”
“Star Trek” has a long history of inclusion, something Watermark discussed with openly gay franchise veteran George Takei in 2018. The series featured television’s first interracial kiss in 1966 between actors William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols and has frequently utilized metaphor to explore LGBT identity throughout its many subsequent incarnations.
The additions of Adira and Gray, current “Star Trek” stewards note, is a natural extension of creator Gene Roddenberry’s original vision of celebrating diversity and inclusion.
“‘Star Trek’ has always made a mission of giving visibility to underrepresented communities because it believes in showing people that a future without division on the basis of race, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation is entirely within our reach,” Co-showrunner and Executive Producer Michelle Paradise said in a statement.
“We take pride in working closely with Blu del Barrio, Ian Alexander and Nick Adams at GLAAD to create the extraordinary characters of Adira and Grayand bring their stories to life with empathy, understanding, empowerment and joy,” she continued.
“Welcome to the Star Trek Family,” the franchise’s official social media channels subsequently shared.
Cruz also celebrated the news via social media, retweeting a GLAAD Q&A with del Barrio. “I couldn’t be more excited for or PROUD of these TWO new loves of my life if I tried,” he shared. “We are family! #lgbtq #representationmatters.”
“Star Trek: Discovery” premieres on CBS All Access Oct. 15 and seasons one and two are currently streaming. For more information, visit StarTrek.com.