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Discovery Season 3 Adds Star Trek’s First Non-Binary & Transgender Characters


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Blu Del Barrio and Ian Alexander have been cast as non-binary and transgender characters, respectively, on Star Trek: Discovery season 3. The show's season 1, which was the first original live-action series in the Star Trek universe in almost 15 years when it launched in 2017, was well-received and followed it up with a season 2 that was hailed for its attempts to connect it more closely to the wider Star Trek universe. Starring Sonequa Martin-Green as Commander Burnham, the show is set a decade before the events of the first Star Trek TV show.

Season 2 introduced the original Star Trek: Enterprise Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) and Spock (Ethan Peck), who will now star in their own spinoff, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Discovery season 2 ended with the Commander and the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery flung forward hundreds of years into the future after travelling into a wormhole. Season 3, which starts on CBS All Access on October 15, will pick up the story there, with the crew having to negotiate a whole new set of problems in their new timeline. And they won't be alone.

CBS has announced that two new cast members will be joining Star Trek: Discovery for season 3 and, in a first for the Star Trek franchise, they will be portraying non-binary and transgender characters. Del Barrio will play Adira, a non-binary character who is highly intelligent and confident. Alexander will play Gray, a transgender character who is described as warm and empathetic. The casting has stayed true to the characters, with Del Barrio being non-binary and Alexander being transgender. Showrunner Michelle Paradise spoke about the decision to cast the pair:
 

While Del Barrio will be new to audiences, having been cast when they were still studying at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Alexander may be more recognizable. He starred as Buck Vu on The OA and provided the voice of Lev in The Last of Us Part II. They are known as advocates for transgender equality, racial justice and mental health awareness for LGBTQ+ youth.

As Paradise says, the casting news ties in with a long-held tradition in Star Trek, of representing marginalized communities. The Original Series included the character of Lieutenant Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), at a time when black women were not represented on screen alongside white characters, and certainly not in positions of power. Thus, the casting of non-binary and transgender characters makes sense for the series.

It also gives the showrunners the opportunity to tell stories that haven't been seen in a mainstream network sci-fi series before, and the fact that they have GLAAD on board hopefully means that the characters aren't there just for the sake of window-dressing. There is little known about the narrative details for Star Trek: Discovery season 3 at this point, but one thing is assured: the show will be a little more diverse and hopefully will provide marginalized communities with characters that they can identify with.

 

 

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