Star Trek Showrunners Promise They Are Not ‘Burying Their Gays’

[ 0 ] January 8, 2018 |

from edge media network – 

Pictured (l-r): Anthony Rapp as Lieutenant Paul Stamets; Wilson Cruz as Dr. Hugh Culber of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/CBS © 2017 CBS Interactive. All Rights Reserved.

[Note: This article contains spoilers.]
It took gay people half a century to find representation in the “Star Trek” universe, only for one member of the franchise’s first same-sex couple in a TV series to die midway through season one of “Star Trek: Discovery.” The first episode after the show’s midseason break, “Despite Yourself,” shocked fans when, without warning, a series regular in the midst of a psychotic break killed one of the show’s two out gay characters. The victim, Dr. Hugh Culbert, is played by Wilson Cruz.

Culber and his partner, science officer Paul Stamets, played by Anthony Rapp, were huge news for “Star Trek” fans long in advance of the show’s premiere last September. But the series took its time introducing Culber and then revealing the pair’s intimate relationship. It wasn’t until the fifth episode that the two were depicted in a domestic situation.

The “Star Trek” website Trek Core reported that Cruz, along with series showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg, took to the air immediately after the episode’s Jan. 7 premiere on CBS All Access to insist they are not simply “burying their gays,” that is, discarding the character in a sensationalistic manner, as has happened to gay characters recently on other shows such as “The Walking Dead,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and “Kingdom.”

Commenting on his character’s death, Cruz remarked, “I was sad because I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen.” Cruz added that his reaction was to tell the showrunner, “if this is the way it’s going to go, I’m going to give you everything that I have until I go.”

But Cruz may not be gone just yet. “Star Trek” is notorious for binging back dead characters, and this may well be what’s in store, in some form or other, for Dr. Culber. “We will see Dr. Culber again,” Berg declared. “He is not 100% dead.”

The openly gay Harberts also teased the possibility of Culber’s return in a big way, saying, “There’s no way, as an out gay writer with an ensemble that’s nothing but LGBT positive and a writing partner who’s supported me my entire career… that you hire Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz to play the first gay couple on Star Trek and have them go for 10 episodes and say, ‘It’s over.’ ”

The pairing of Cruz and Rapp was big news in itself for gay fans. Rapp originated the role of Mark in the 1996 off-Broadway production of the musical “RENT” and then reprised the role on Broadway and in the 2005 film version, while Cruz took the role of Angel in 1998 for the show’s Broadway run.

Rapp also made headlines in October 2017 when he accused Kevin Spacey of sexual misconduct in the 80s when Rapp was 14 and Spacey in his 20s. After the story broke, Spacey denied the allegations and came out as gay. In the wake of Rapp’s accusation, several other men accused Spacey of sexual misconduct as well.

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Category: National News, Television

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