Star Trek as a franchise is rather diverse, but it’s yet to depict a relationship between two people of the same sex. That’s about to change with CBS’ Star Trek: Discovery though, as new character Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) is in a relationship with another male, Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz). It’s yet another mark of progression for the franchise as a whole.
In an interview with CBR ahead of the series’ debut, co-showrunner and executive producer Aaron Harberts explained this ground-breaking inclusion for the Star Trek franchise, and how the show will approach the relationship. “As a gay person, as a gay man, and again, this was something that for [original Discovery] showrunner Bryan Fuller] was very important to him to do. We said, ‘Absolutely. It’s important to do.’ So the character that he created, Lieutenant Paul Stamets, is gay,” Harberts said.
“I feel like the way we’re treating him and his partner — Anthony Rapp plays Stamets. Wilson Cruz plays his partner Doctor Hugh Culber, who’s a medical officer on the ship — what I’m most proud about is we’re just playing them like any other couple.” The show may include a gay relationship, but Harberts didn’t want it to be portrayed differently than any other couple on TV.
“I always feel like visibility isn’t super important, but visibility in the right way is: these are people,” Harberts said. “They work on a ship. They happen to date. That throws them into conflict. We get to see how the conflict works its way out on the bridge and on missions, and then we get to see how they bring it back home.”
“What I’m most proud of is that we tried to just carve out those simple, everyday, life moments that any couple enjoys. I’m really proud of Wilson and Anthony, the way they portray it,” he continued. “It feels so real, and it doesn’t feel like it’s trumpeting itself just to trumpet itself. And they go on quite a journey. Gay, straight, whatever, everyone will see themselves in that couple.”
In the United States, Star Trek: Discovery debuts Sunday, September 24 on CBS, before moving to the CBS All Access streaming service for follow-up weekly installments. In Canada, the series debuts on CTV and Space at 8:30 pm ET, with its second episode set to air immediately after on Space — subsequent episodes will air Sundays through November 5. Internationally, the series will stream on Netflix.
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