New Star Trek Show on CBS to Feature Gay Character

The Star Trek film franchise, rebooted by J. J. Abrams in 2009, is referred to as the, “Kelvin Timeline,” universe to differentiate it from the original Gene Roddenberry 1960’s version.

This summer, a new entry in the Star Trek Kelvin Timeline universe film was recently released and directed by Justin Lin.

The new film, Star Trek Beyond, features the first characterization of a gay character in the cast. John Cho’s Hikaru Sulu character was revealed to be a gay man living with his partner and raising a child.

George Takei, noted LGBT activist, advocate and an openly gay man, starred as Sulu on Roddenberry’s original show, known in Trekkie circles as the, “Prime Universe.”

Roddenberry had originally envisioned Sulu as a heterosexual man. Also Takei portrayed Sulu in an era when people couldn’t even say, “gay,” on TV, much less portray on TV.

Takei publicly complained after the release of Star Trek Beyond that a new character, a gay one, should have been created to respect the original creative intentions of Roddenberry. The creators of the new Star Trek film decided that it was past time that a Star Trek crew member was portrayed as LGBT and went ahead despite Takei’s misgivings.

Takei stepped on his own message with the complaint. It is hard to rationalize the criticism of a fictional character being portrayed as gay when there is a frightening dearth of serious LGBT characters in film and on TV.

Also, unwittingly or not, Takei provided ammunition and rationale for homophobes and fervent critics against substantive LGBT characters being included in film and TV.

An LGBT advocate of all people should not criticize or complain about such character change for the sake of creative nuance.

Still, Takei did have a token point in the matter: it is too bad that the creation of an original LGBT character in Star Trek or science fiction in general, and not just the tweaking of existing legacy characters, still has not happened yet in the purview of pop-culture entertainment.

Well, it finally happened.

As the success of the Star Trek films continues, a new Star Trek TV show will premiere on CBS in 2017.

The show, titled Star Trek: Discovery, will feature a female lead and a gay character. The show will set in the Roddenberry Prime Universe and it will be set about 10 years before the William Shatner version of Kirk first appeared on TV.

More information has not been made available as of yet for the show as casting for primary roles is underway now.

Fans will have to wait just a little longer to learn more about the first, original gay Star Trek character.


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