Gene Roddenberry's vision for his Star Trek future was one that celebrated diversity and inclusion.
In their ongoing commitment to realizing that vision more completely, Star Trek: Discovery has added two new characters for the upcoming third season, premiering on CBS All Access on Oct 15.
Ian Alexander, known for his role on the Netflix series The OA, is an out transgender actor who is also an advocate for transgender equality, racial justice, and mental health awareness for LGBTQ+ youth, and will portray the youth, Gray.
Newcomer Blu del Barrio will play the non-binary Adira, a highly intelligent and complex young person who joins Discovery suffering a memory loss and without any clue of their past.
Michelle Paradise, co-showrunner and executive producer is enthusiastic and proud of the inclusion of these two new characters.
"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."
While Alexander has been more visible in his career, this is his first role on a show with the history and lore of a franchise like Star Trek. His character, Gray, is described as "empathetic, warm, and eager to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a Trill host."
When his life takes an unexpected turn (par for the course onboard the Discovery) he is forced to adapt and accept the new and strange situation he is left in.
Blu del Barrio is a non-binary actor and finds themself in the enviable position of making their television debut on a show like Star Trek: Discovery with this ground-breaking character. They were completing their final year at a UK drama school when they landed the role of Adira.
While their character is incredibly smart, Adira is also very much a teenager with the same level of emotional turmoil. Del Barrio describes Adira as "cerebrally brilliant and emotionally a puppy."
Having lost their memory yet with an innate understanding that they are non-binary, Adira is a very private individual, unable to open up to others until they connect with Lt. Cmdr. Stamets and Dr. Culber, who reconciled and reunited in the eleventh hour of Star Trek: Discovery Season 2.
Having acted in plays and short films since the age of seven, del Barrio is extremely excited to be a part of the Star Trek: Discovery adventure.
In a they-couldn't-have-written-it-any-better sort of coincidence, del Barrio came out as non-binary to the people in their real life only shortly before their character did on Discovery.
Although she had known her truth for a while, she felt getting the role of Adira -- with all the complexities of the character's identity -- was like the universe giving her the go-ahead.
And while we all wait with bated breath to see how the Discovery crew we know (and miss!) survives and carries on after that mind-blowing Season 2 finale, it is even more exciting to know that we will have new characters and relationships to explore.
Meanwhile, the animated juggarnaut that is Star Trek: Lower Decks continues to roll out on Thursdays. Be sure to beam in to our reviews and let your voice be heard.
Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.