Star Trek: Discovery has boldly gone where no other Star Trek TV series has ever dared go before.
It features not only the TV sci-fi franchise’s first openly gay character, but also the first same-sex couple.
Anthony Rapp stars as science officer Lt. Paul Stamets, while Wilson Cruz plays his onscreen partner, Dr. Hugh Culber.
NewNowNext interviewed the 45-year-old openly gay actor to get the scoop on what audiences can expect to see from this gay couple.
‘It’s an honor [to play the first LGBTI character on a Star Trek TV series],’ said Rapp, who appeared in the original Broadway production of Rent.
‘It’s overwhelming, but the only obligation I felt was to represent a fully realized human being,’ he added. ‘To feel honest, alive, and human, and our relationship is depicted in a realistic fashion.’
Look for Rapp and Cruz to share many scenes including domestic scenes which help to ground them as normal, everyday characters living their lives onboard the starship.
However, Rapp is reluctant to reveal too many details about their relationship.
‘I really don’t want to spoil things,’ Rapp said. ‘I know they’ve talked about us [first being seen together] brushing our teeth in a very domestic situation, but I don’t want to go into other things. Except to say it’s not like our relationship is hidden—it’s part of the fabric of the story.’
This Star Trek series is a prequel. It is set a mere 10 years before the adventures depicted in the original 1966-69 Star Trek series starring William Shatner as Capt. Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock.
Star Trek: Discovery presents being LGBTI as perfectly normal and completely accepted.
‘[Being gay is] certainly not a problem in the Federation,’ Rapp said. ‘It never comes up in any conversation with another culture or species in our show yet.’
He added, ‘One of the premises of Star Trek in the first place is humanity has sorted out all these issues. There’s no more division between people because of race, gender, creed, sexual orientation or anything.’
While Lt. Stamets and Dr. Culber may be the first LGBTI characters on a Star Trek television series, they are not the first gay characters in the Star Trek universe.
That honor goes to Lt. Sulu (played by John Cho) in the rebooted Star Trek universe. The 2016 big-screen adventure, Star Trek Beyond, revealed Sulu was gay in a quick scene with his husband and their young daughter.
Star Trek: Discovery debuted on 24 September and only airs on the streaming service CBS All Access in America. A total of 15 episodes of the series have been produced.
In the rest of the world, Star Trek: Discovery is scheduled to stream on Netflix.