Star Trek: Discovery is starting to fill its decks.
CBS Access is now confirming Michelle Yeoh will join the show, which has also cast two more actors to star in the eagerly anticipated series. One of the new characters will be the decades-old franchise’s first to be originally conceived and announced as gay.
First up: Actor Doug Jones (Hellboy, Falling Skies) will play Lt. Saru, a Starfleet Science Officer and a new alien species to the Star Trek universe.
Second, Anthony Rapp will star as “Lt. Stamets,” an “astromycologist,” fungus expert, and Starfleet Science Officer aboard the Starship Discovery. Lt. Stamets is the new gay character; previously, Trek icon Lt. Sulu was revealed to be gay in this year’s movie Star Trek Beyond. That was considered a controversial move, however, because it came so late in Sulu’s history, which extends back to the franchise’s original series.
(Actor George Takei, who initially played Sulu, was critical of the Star Trek Beyond change, saying this past summer, “I hoped instead that [Star Trek creator] Gene Roddenberry’s original characters and their backgrounds would be respected. How exciting it would be instead if a new hero might be created, whose story could be fleshed out from scratch, rather than reinvented. To me, this would have been even more impactful.”)
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Adding at least one gay character was important to the show’s executive producer Bryan Fuller, who told reporters in August: “Absolutely we’re having a gay character.”
Fuller, who is gay, noted that while working on Star Trek: Voyager, he received a file’s worth full of hate mail after there was a rumor that a character on the show might come out. Fuller said he was determined that if he ever did his own Star Trek show, there would be a character who is gay. “We’ve come a long way since then.”
And finally, Yeoh, who was previously reported as joining the cast, will play Captain Georgiou, the Starfleet Captain aboard the Starship Shenzhou.
There are many more castings to come on the show, including its female lead.
Discovery will launch in May 2017 on CBS Access.