Anthony Rapp Joins Star Trek: Discovery as Gay Lead Character

Anthony Rapp

The Star Trek franchise didn’t have an openly gay character until this summer’s Beyond revealed that Sulu (John Cho) has a husband and daughter. Now there are two, as Anthony Rapp joins the cast of Star Trek: Discovery.

Rapp, who is probably most famous for his iconic role as Mark in Rent (a role he originated on Broadway and then reprised in the 2005 film), will play Lieutenant Stamets. Stamets is described as “an astromycologist, fungus expert, and Starfleet Science Officer” and is confirmed to be the gay character that former showrunner Bryan Fuller was so adamant on having.

This excerpt from an August Entertainment Weekly article shows how important having a gay character was to Fuller:

Gay characters? “Absolutely we’re having a gay character,” Fuller said. He noted that as a gay man working on Voyager, he had a file full of hate mail when there was a rumor a character on his show was going to be gay. So he was determined if he ever did his own Star Trek show, he would have a gay character. “We’ve come a long way since then. I feel like actually gay rights have come a lot further in that time than race issues and women’s issues.”

There were mixed reactions when it was announced that Sulu would be revealed to be gay in Star Trek Beyond. George Takei, the original Sulu, was not happy with the decision, believing that it was dishonest to suddenly make Sulu gay when there had been no earlier indication of his sexuality. He thought it was more important to introduce a new character who would be gay right from the start rather than making an existing character gay. I disagree, but I respect his opinion.

Not much else is known about Stamets, but I’m sure we will learn more the closer we get to the show’s May 2017 premiere.

Anthony Rapp joins Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), who will play Captain Georgiou, and newly cast Doug Jones (Pan’s Labyrinth), who will play alien Lieutenant Saru. There are still more casting announcements to come.

Author: Jamie Sugah

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.

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