'Star Trek Discovery' Will Be Led By A Woman [Updated]

UPDATE: Enterainment Weekly's James Hibberd is now reporting that the lead in question here is not the captain (at least not when the series begins), making this the first Star Trek series where the lead character of the show isn't in command of the ship. Rather, the show will be told from the point-of-view of a subordinate, which is a very intriguing notion.

More details about the series are arriving as you read this, so look for those in a separate post from our own Fred Topel. The original article follows.

The temperament of any given Star Trek series is often defined by whoever is sitting in the captain's chair. James T. Kirk led an adventurous, two-fisted crew through smart, pulpy adventures. The methodical Jean-Luc Picard was all about negotiation, diplomacy, and thoughtful solutions to tricky problems. Benjamin Sisko liked to bend the rules to force solutions, feelings be damned. So the casting of the captain for showrunner Bryan Fuller's upcoming Star Trek Discovery is a big deal. The nature of this character, and who is playing the part, may say a great deal about the show itself.

We still don't know who will be sitting in the big chair, but an old rumor that rules out 49% of the Earth's population has been all-but-confirmed: the captain of the U.S.S. Discovery will be a woman.

The news arrived via The Hollywood Reporter and and it fits in perfectly with everything Fuller has been saying about his vision for the new series, which will premiere on CBS early next year before becoming a CBS All Access exclusive. At a Comic-Con panel celebrating the franchise's 50th anniversary, he avoided fan-service questions and instead started grilling various cast members from the across the Trek universe about politics, the state of the human race, and the optimistic, progressive landscape Gene Roddenberry created with the original series. That's the Bryan Fuller way – there was no way he was going to stick another straight white man in the seat.

Fuller wouldn't be the first producer to create a female lead for a Star Trek series (Captain Katherine Janeway of the U.S.S. Voyager says hello), but it's definite hint of the diverse ensemble Fuller is building for his series. And don't let anyone tell you differently – Star Trek has always been about diversity. One of the earliest rumors attached to Star Trek Discovery was Fuller seeking out Angela Bassett to captain his starship, which is the kind of heart-stoppingly inspired casting that I sincerely hope has some truth to it.

THR doesn't have too many specific details, but they did reveal that the rest of the cast will also include:

...an openly gay actor [playing] one one of the male leads, a female admiral, a male Klingon captain, a male admiral, a male adviser and a British male doctor.

While John Cho's Hikaru Sulu was revealed to be married to a man in Star Trek Beyond, an openly gay male lead in Star Trek Discovery would be the first Trek character to be established as gay from his first appearance. The other interesting tidbit here is one of the characters being a Klingon captain, because if Discovery is set before the events of the original series (and that's the rumor), the Federation and the Klingon Empire won't be on good terms with each other. Could this be a villain? Or maybe an uneasy ally?

More details about Star Trek Discovery are expected to arrive during the Television Critics Association this week. So stay tuned.