Star Trek‘s legacy of representation is a legendary one that has helped position sci-fi as a continuously progressive genre. Whether it was race or gender, Trekkies know that their franchise has always looked to move the needle in the right direction. Now, with a pair of casting announcements for Star Trek: Discovery‘s third season, the franchise will continue that legacy with Star Trek‘s first non-binary and transgender characters.
Playing these characters are actors Blu del Barrio and Ian Alexander (who also helped break ground with his performance in The Last of Us Part II), respectively. Adira (del Barrio) is non-binary, described as “highly intelligent with a confidence and self-assurance well beyond their years,” and looking to develop bonds with Lt. Commander Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) during their arc. Gray, a trans character played by Alexander, is “empathetic, warm and eager to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a Trill host,” but will need to handle some unexpected twists and turns as his story goes on.
Both actors look to contribute to the cast’s diversity and continue Star Trek‘s representational legacy. The plot this year has thrust the crew even further into the future, which makes representation and inclusion all the more important.
“Star Trek has always made a mission of giving visibility to underrepresented communities because it believes in showing people that a future without division on the basis of race, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation is entirely within our reach,” said co-showrunner Michelle Paradise in a statement. “We take pride in working closely with Blu del Barrio, Ian Alexander, and Nick Adams at GLAAD to create the extraordinary characters of Adira and Gray, and bring their stories to life with empathy, understanding, empowerment and joy.”
Star Trek: Discovery‘s third season will also star Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Rapp, Mary Wiseman, Cruz, David Ajala, and Michelle Yeoh. The show returns to CBS All Access on Oct. 15.