Star Trek 3 Director Roberto Orci Open To Having A Gay Character Join The Sci-fi Universe

roberto-orciFor many years now it’s been commented on that while much of the Star Trek universe is about tolerance and different races of humanoids learning to live and work alongside one another, there’s a severe lack of gay people in Starfleet.

There have been LGBT people in the expanded universe of novels, but on TV and in the movies, everything has been very heterosexual. Even when there were inter-alien species coupling, they were always a male and a female. So could things change with 2016’s Star Trek 3?

Don’t hold your breath, but the film’s director, Roberto Orci (who also co-wrote both Star Trek & Star Trek Into Darkness), seems open to the idea. Talking to the Humans From Earth podcast (via Trek Movie), he was asked about the possibility of having an identifiably LGBT character in the film, saying “I would like to see that.”

He added, “It can be part of a character and not be the whole shebang…It doesn’t’ have to be like South Park, like ‘what have we learned today.’ It can be so normalized that it just exists. I agree it can’t be shoe-horned in. And it is not necessary for it to be the whole point of the thing. It is an ensemble and there are lots of people to represent so no one point of view should hog it.”

Of course that’s far from saying it will actually happen, and those in charge of the franchise have been saying similar things ever since Gene Roddenberry suggested gay people could be part of the Next Generation universe back in the late 1980s. However every time they’ve found an excuse not to do it. But who knows, just maybe it will happen this time – even an acknowledgement gay people exist in the future would be a step forward.


  1. Susan says

    It’s been 48 years since the original Star Trek series came on the scene. The Star Trek universe is long overdue for adding LGBT characters on screen. It could be as subtle as showing someone wearing a rainbow flagT-shirt while working out in the gym or drinking out of a souvenir coffee mug from Gay Pride Altair VI 2261. The rest of Hollywood has been doing it for years, decades even, and the sun still pops up over the eastern horizon every morning… at least, on Earth it does! These days, it actually looks a bit odd if there are no characters setting off the ol’ Gaydar. Just sayin’.

  2. says

    Let one of the existing characters be gay – why not Bones, Chechov, or Scotty? On the other hand maybe Scotty already has a thing for his little side kick?

  3. Jason says

    I know this may confuse some, but I don’t see the need for a gay character. Star Trek has rarely ever been about blatant, obvious regard for a specific type of human. Further, it’s approach to current issues are almost always under the guise of space opera and alien theming.

    There have already been several episodes throughout the TNG-era that dealt with LGBTQ issues. It was done with tact and ingenuity, and I believe the messages get through to the viewer in a subtle, stealthy and more profound way.

    Let’s not continue to forget that Star Trek is a study of the human condition under a shroud of action and drama. Let’s not encourage such pedantic and overt attempts to overexposed the audience. Instead, let’s hope Star Trek will one day return to its ways of subtlety and guidance via subterfuge.

    • says

      I hear your point, but Star Trek DID make a point to make its cast completely diverse—black (even African), Asian, Russian, Alien, Scottish, Southern. Roddenberry fought for that cast to make a political and social point at a time when casts weren’t diverse. It’s no problem to have a mention of someone’s husband or wife and not make it the whole episode.

  4. AJ says

    The original Star Trek had always done episodes that explored philosophical questions about humanity (does humanity still need religion/god?) or social issues of the time (racism, Cold War). In 2015, the USSC finally announced that gay marriage was to be the law of the land, and there is still a large segment of people protesting this fact. It shows that as much as we like to think of ourselves as enlightened and beyond the prejudices of yesteryear, we still as a society have much to learn. Star Trek is supposed to be a forward thinking pioneer about these sort of things, showing us that humans have the capacity to be mature, to accept and celebrate all of life in all its diversity. If doing something as harmless as having a gay character represented in Star Trek is something to debate so hotly, then clearly there is still a lesson that needs to be told.

    If I were in charge of reboot 3 and/or 4, I would make it so (maybe not the main attraction, but definitely a significant point in it). I would use established characters (so no shoe horning new ones just to make a token). And who better to exemplify this than the one character who has been subjected to the most prejudice his entire life, the one person whose very character in the original show was dependent on him constantly hiding/denying his true self in order to gain acceptance? The one character who was so deeply disturbed and ashamed by his biology and personal feelings that he tried to run off and purge them so that he might be considered normal and acceptable amongst his people? Of course I’m talking about Spock (do not try arguing about shoe horning, because if anything was shoe horned into the two latest movies it was that weird romance between him and Uhura. Even Nichelle Nicholes said there was nothing remotely romantic between the two and their few scenes together were strictly student and mentor related). And it could make perfect sense in the Star Trek universe, especially since original Spock really came across as completely uninterested in females (bordering on asexual) unless he was under the influence of spores, mind altering hormones/machines, or was just trying to distract an enemy for a mission.

    In the 23rd century, humans have (supposedly) all evolved beyond the need to separate and stigmatize people based on race, gender, sexuality, etc. But what of Vulcans? Vulcans have been shown to be the most hypocritical species out there. At best they are condescending towards humans. At worst, they are arrogantly smug about their own superiority (not hostile to the level of Romulans or Klingons, but enough that they consider humans little better than barbarians). So a culture that prides itself on logic and inclusion (IDIC anyone?) is also the same race that makes Spock feel like an inferior sub-Vulcan purely based on his mother rather than his personal actions. Even those who try to be accepting are patronizing, viewing his duel heritage as a burden he must overcome in order to be a “real Vulcan” rather than something symbolically beautiful that should be celebrated (This question of Spock’s Vulcanness is constantly questioned by Vulcans and humans alike in TOS). This same culture apparently views all emotions, even positive ones like love as dangerous,, hence why Sarek was so deflective about his reasons for marrying Amanda when questioned in the movie and in “Journey to Babel”. A “true Vulcan” should not allow his irrational emotions dictate his actions to wed such an inferior species, therefore Sarek had to make up a logical reason for why he did so that didn’t involve feelings. So there is evidence that amongst Vulcans, not even heterosexual relationships can escape scrutiny and judgement from their society, especially if they are made between mixed species. Relationships are arranged for Vulcan children without any thought to compatibility or feelings; they are arranged female to male so that pon farr can be satiated and the next generation can come about . Can you imagine how Vulcans would react to a same sex Vulcan couple? They may be fine accepting such things among emotional species like humans, but a Vulcan homosexual relationship would probably be considered obscene because there is no “logic” to it other than indulging in romantic feelings. Again to Vulcan, showing physical evidence of emotion is considered taboo.

    Now imagine Spock, with all that insecurity of having to juggle two diametrically opposing cultures, running off to Starfleet. He wants to be loved and accepted for once but is unsure how to do so. He finds acting too human unsettling and besides the humans around him expect him to act a certain way. If he doesn’t, he’s teased about his human side (not maliciously, but still). Spock finally finds some semblance of peace on the Enterprise with his unique friendship with Captain Kirk, who seems to be the only person Spock finds he can truly trust. Over time he realizes that the feelings of friendship he feels for a certain Captain is turning into something that is not so innocent or platonic (hence his admitted intense feelings of shame). Spock is not going to risk alienating Kirk or making him feel awkward by coming out to him (Besides which, he’s already trying so hard to be the perfect Vulcan and coming out would just cement the idea even further amongst his people that he’s not truly one of them, that there’s something “defective” about him that makes him less than Vulcan). He watches the man he has come to love so much show a clear interest in women (whether Kirk might be bi never even enters Spock’s head as an option, since he’s so used to dealing with an Either/Or mentality concerning logic and emotion or Vulcan and human ), so Spock has to logically assume that nothing would come of his emotions. Best to repress them along with everything else that makes him an outsider. That Spock remained in the closet his entire life until it was too late and Kirk was already dead. Years later, alone ,Spock goes back in time and sees his alternative self facing similar situation (young Spock may have been Rock Hudson-ing at this point, dating females to deflect any troublesome questions from peers or just hasn’t done much soul searching at this point.) Uhura is “logical” to him because she is brilliant, talented, and knows much about Vulcan culture that she wouldn’t embarrass him as most other humans might, and since he is half-human, she might be considered more suitable, at least that’s what he tells himself. His older self sees the incoming train wreck and tries to divert it, by stressing just how much Spock needs Kirk and will learn through his “friendship” with him. He also gives him the advice he wished he knew at that age, which is to put aside logic and have “faith” to “do what feels right”. Whether he realizes it or not, young Spock has internalized that message. He didn’t show emotion when his mother died, though he felt it. He showed no emotion when his planet was wiped off the map. He didn’t show emotion (chose to repress it) when he himself was about to die and actually felt through a mind meld what Pike felt when he actually did die, and still Spock showed no emotion. In fact he commented that he chose not to feel at all because it was all too painful for him. But holy hell, when Kirk died, he lost his freaking mind and went on a violent rampage purely for vengeance! All that Vulcan repression of emotion went out the window. Not even Nero got that reaction. So reboot 2 has shown that Spock is already emotionally compromised when it comes to Kirk (somehow I don’t think he’d react the same if it had been Uhura who had died, though he would still be terribly hurt on the inside since she is a dear friend). But even after that huge outburst, Spock is still reluctant to admit the truth about himself.

    And that is where the third reboot will start, with Spock finally forced to come to grips with everything that makes him unique and special, not just his Vulcan side or human side, but his own homosexuality and romantic love, a trait that he initially despises within himself even more than being a “half-breed”. It would be a spiritual and emotional journey for him, where he would have to face his own conflicted emotions and the prejudices of his supposed “enlightened/superior” culture. I highly doubt Vulcans would have protests with chants and signs like humans nowadays have, but the remaining Vulcan people would probably exclude Spock from certain Vulcan activities, citing that his rampant emotionalism would be a harmful or destructive influence when they are in the middle of trying to preserve their endangered way of life, and/or they would question him at every turn as to why he still considers himself a Vulcan when his actions clearly prove he is really just an irrational human with vaguely Vulcanoid characteristics. Perhaps even Sarek falls prey to some form of it, trying somewhat misguidedly to convince his son that he is merely confused and upset about his mother, and that what he really needs is some time with family, away from space to find a suitable female so that he can get his bearings. Older Spock unfortunately is no longer around to give guidance, so young Spock is now truly on his own to figure things out for himself.

    So on top of being rejected by the people he did his best to protect from Nero, Spock also has to deal with the feelings he has for Kirk. It would be interesting to see this new Kirk as somewhat hesitant to be around Spock for a time once he realizes the he is the object of Spock’s desires (reboot Kirk is not nearly as mature, patient and sensitive as his TOS counterpart), so perhaps Kirk prides himself as being a forward thinker and inclusive person but then has that image of himself shattered when he has to deal with it on a personal level. It would showcase the struggles that some people face when coming out (dealing with friends/family that treat them different because of such knowledge), and that while some people may consider themselves progressive and enlightened about such issues, find that they are no better than the ones they consider to be intellectually or socially backward. How would Spock and Kirk learn to work together as a team all over again when that instinctual trust and camaraderie is no longer there to be taken for granted? It would be a hard journey for both of them (one that wouldn’t be wrapped up in a single movie), but in the long run, it would be that a step that brings them together as brothers both far closer than where they had started from in the first movie. Kirk would learn the true meaning of acceptance and with it some emotional maturity. And after so many years (and two lifetimes) of constantly trying to be something contrary to his true self, Spock will finally find peace within himself by accepting everything about himself, not just a fraction. That’s how I would have a openly gay character in Star Trek at least.

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