Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz have spoken about playing a gay couple on the new Star Trek TV series.
Upcoming series Star Trek: Discovery, which is set to debut this week on CBS All Access, is set 10 years before the events of the original Star Trek series.
It was announced earlier this year that the show will feature a gay couple onboard the starship.
Rent star Anthony Rapp will play science officer and fungal expert Lieutenant Stamets, while Wilson Cruz will play his partner, medical officer Dr. Hugh Culber.
Speaking ahead of the premiere, Rapp and Cruz opened up about their respective characters.
Rapp said: “This is the first time two human beings who are in love with each other as the same gender. It’s the first of that [on Star Trek].
“Even the fact that he’s Latino and I’m white.
“These are just factors and then you get to know us as human beings on the ship as all the other human beings on the ship are. We are also colleagues. He’s a medical officer, I’m a science officer, and our work intersects sometimes. All that stuff is just part of the fabric of it.
“I believe everybody will be happy with the humanity of how our relationship is expressed.
“The storyline affects our relationship, and the relationship may affect some decisions that are made, but the fact that it’s two men in a relationship is not the focal point of any storyline,
Cruz added: “It enrichens the storyline. The crux of my journey is how I balance my responsibilities as the ship’s doctor with my responsibilities to the person I love, and how those two ideas can come into conflict at times.”
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JJ Abrams’ separate Star Trek film series – which is set in a different universe to Discovery – recently revealed that beloved character Mr Sulu is gay, but not without controversy.
Rapp said previously: “You get to see [my character’s] 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.”
Showrunner Aaron 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.”
Original Mr Sulu George Takei, a long-time proponent of LGBT characters in the Star Trek universe, recently praised the LGBT-inclusivity on the upcoming show.
He said: “Thrilled to hear that #StarTrekDiscovery will feature an openly gay couple played by [Rapp] and [Cruz]. How far we’ve come.”
Recalling the strong opposition to including a gay character he faced on Voyager, Fuller said: “Absolutely we’re having a gay character. We’ve come a long way since [when Voyager was airing].
“I feel like actually gay rights have come a lot further in that time than race issues and women’s issues.”