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Was Lt. Hawk in Star Trek: First Contact Originally Going to be Gay?

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Neal McDonough's character in Star Trek: First Contact, Lieutenant Hawk, was originally intended to be gay.

In 1996, the first film starring solely the crew from Star Trek: The Next Generation (following Star Trek: Generations, which sort of bridged the gap between the original crew and the new one) was released, called Star Trek: First Contact...

A new member of the cast was Neal McDonough, who played Lieutenant Hawk, a Conn officer on the Enterprise bridge.

Sadly, while on a mission with Picard and Worf, Hawk was assimilated by the Borg and Worf had to kill him...

Before the film was released, there were a number of rumors that McDonough's character was going to be gay, which would have been a big deal, since Star Trek really did not do very well when it came to depictions of gay people (in fact, I have done a legend in the past about how an episode of Next Generation featuring two gay crewmembers was never filmed for the series).

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The rumors were certainly rampant, but I do not believe that they were ever more than just rumors.

Six years after First Contact was released, Rick Berman, the Paramount executive in charge of Star Trek, remarked about various rumors about gay characters in the Star Trek universe, “That was really the wishful thinking of some people who were constantly at us. But we don't see heterosexual couples holding hands on the show, so it would be somewhat dishonest of us to see two gay men or lesbians holding hands.”

This is certainly not a case of saying Berman's take was a correct one. Not at all. Just noting that when you have a guy like that in charge of the franchise, it's pretty clear that it was unlikely that there ever was a chance of Hawk actually being gay at the time.

Here's the first draft of First Contact. There is no mention of Hawk being gay in it.

My pal, the great Andy Mangels, was interviewed by AfterElton back in 2006 and he had this to say about Berman, “I have never met Rick Berman, and he has never expressed any specific attitudes directly to me. That said, not one single actor, staff member, or Paramount employee has ever once defended him from charges of homophobia, and many have accused him of it.

"Berman was ultimately responsible for killing almost every pitch for gay characters, and in interviews, was mealy-mouthed and waffling about the need for GLB T representation. At the very least, he was gutless and didn't care about GLBT representation. From the information and evidence I've seen, heard, and read, I believe that Berman is the reason we never saw gays on Star Trek I shed no tears that he's gone, except that he did his best to ruin the franchise on his way out.”

However, Mangels ALSO noted in that same Michael Ricci article, "Mangels believed the rumor of Hawk's being gay to be untrue. There was no evidence of the character's orientation in any movie screenplay that he saw, nor was Neal McDonough (who played Lt. Hawk) aware of such intentions."

Here is McDonough on The View back in 2009 and he does, in fact, note that he never knew Hawk was gay, so it obviously wasn't something told to him at the time...

Instead, it was Mangels who finally paid off on the rumors by revealing that Hawk WAS gay in the Star Trek Section 31 novel, Star Trek: Rogue in 2001...

The novel features a romance between Hawk and an un-joined Trill named Ranul Keru.

EDITED TO ADD: Andy also sent me an interview he did with Neal McDonough in UK's Star Trek Magazine #99:

Recently, Lieutenant Hawk was revived (in flashback) in the Star Trek: The Next Generation novel, "Section 31: Rogue" [coincidentally written by the author's of this very article]. Fan rumors had swirled for years that Hawk's character was intended to be gay in Star Trek: First Contact — and he is in the novel — but McDonough admits he didn't know about those plans for the movie. "No one told me told me a single thing of it. I didn’t hear about that until when my manager sent the book over." As for the novel itself, McDonough says, "I did like the book. I thought it was very well written. I was very impressed by it.

Thanks, Andy!

So yeah, Hawk ultimately WAS revealed to be gay, but it was almost certainly not originally intended as such, which is why I'm confident with going with the legend as..

STATUS: False

Thanks to Michael Ricci and Andy Mangels for the awesome information.

Be sure to check out my archive of TV Legends Revealed for more urban legends about the world of TV. Click here for more legends specifically about Star Trek.

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

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