CBS’s Star Trek: Discovery has cast the franchise’s first-ever “non-binary” and transgender actors, Blu del Barrio and Ian Alexander, who will appear in season 3.
CBS All Access, ViacomCBS’ U.S.-based subscription video on-demand and live streaming service, announced on Wednesday that the move is an attempt to further Star Trek’s commitment to late screenwriter Gene Roddenberry’s vision of “celebrating diversity and inclusion,” according to a press release by CBS All Access.
Del Barrio will play Adira, a “highly intelligent with a confidence and self-assurance well beyond their years,” according to the statement.
Adira “will find a new home on the U.S.S. Discovery and form an unexpected bond with Lt. Commander Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz),” continues the statement, adding that “the first transgender character is Gray, portrayed by Ian Alexander.”
“Gray is empathetic, warm and eager to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a Trill host, but he will have to adapt when his life takes an unexpected turn,” said CBS All Access.
Co-showrunner and executive producer Michelle Paradise said that “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.”
“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,” Paradise added.
The statement noted that both del Barrio and Alexander are a “non-binary” actors who use “they/them pronouns,” adding that Alexander uses “he/him pronouns” as well.
Alexander is also the “first out transgender Asian-American person to act on television.”
Of course, there’s been an explosion in recent years of trans and non-binary people attached to TV shows, like Showtime’s Billions, FX’s Pose, and Netflix’s Orange is the New Black.
The third season of Star Trek: Discovery is set to premiere on Thursday, October 15.