‘Star Trek: Discovery’ May Feature Female Captain, Openly Gay Male Lead

In 1994, Kate Mulgrew’s Captain Janeway became the first female lead in a Star Trek series in Star Trek: Voyager. It only took two decades, but Janeway will finally have some company on the bridge.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the lead character of Star Trek: Discovery will be a woman, and she is likely to be the captain of the ship. The report further states that an openly gay man will play one of the leading roles, and the other featured parts are “a female admiral, a male Klingon captain, a male admiral, a male adviser and a British male doctor.”

While a female captain would certainly be a step in the right direction, that casting breakdown suggests that the show only has two female leads, and that only one of them is a part of the ship’s command crew. There will probably be more evenly distributed roles for men and women on the weekly series, but we won’t know for sure until tomorrow. CBS All-Access is scheduled to run a Star Trek: Discovery panel at the Television Critics Association Press Tour on Wednesday, August 10, and we may even get casting announcements there.

Related: Watch the Discovery’s First Flight in a New ‘Star Trek’ Teaser!

Of course, in the world of Star Trek, the fact that the captain is a woman or that one of the leads is gay wouldn’t be treated as a big deal. But we don’t live in that world, we live in ours. And frankly, we will probably never reach the end of human conflict predicted by Gene Roddenberry. It’s far likelier that humanity will explore the galaxy long before we stop fighting each other or generally being dicks. That’s just our nature. Star Trek allows us to envision a universe where humanity can be better than that. It’s something to aspire to, even if it’s impossible. 

Diversity is important, but it’s not more important than the story itself. It won’t matter what the characters represent if they don’t resonate with viewers. Fortunately, Star Trek: Discovery has Bryan Fuller, a gifted storyteller who is rejoining the Trek franchise with this series, alongside director Nicholas Meyer and other Star Trek veterans. Call us crazy, but we’re pretty excited about that. If anyone can pull this series off, it’s Fuller and Meyer. 

Star Trek: Discovery will premiere in January 2017.

Photo Credit: CBS All-Access