The last two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery have revealed the unique couple of Adira and Gray. In a series of interviews, the actors and the show producers talk about developing the characters, and what’s next for them this season and beyond.
The Trill were perfect for adding new voices to Star Trek
Co-showrunners Alex Kurtzman and Michelle Paradis told Variety that in season three they wanted to bring “voices that we are not hearing from” along with telling “a great love story,” and the two ideas came together in creating the characters of Adira (a human with a Trill symbiont) and the Trill Gray. Kurtzman discussed why linking these characters to the Trill was important:
The beauty of ‘Trek’ has always been that it presents an allegorical mirror to the situations that we are living in modern times. And what was exciting to us was saying, OK, we’re going to remove it from the level of allegory and we’re going to make it literal. We are absolutely acknowledging that people have interpreted characters like Jadzia as being trans metaphors, but it was never explicitly stated. We just felt we wanted to take it a step further… The hosts for the symbionts have always been Trill. The community of Trill has to reckon with the possibility that a host may not be Trill, and what does that mean? In the vein of all ‘Star Trek,’ do you accept what initially is perceived as other, and do you do broaden your horizons?
Getting comfortable on the Disco, with help from Paul and Hugh
Both actors also talked about the process of their characters coming out on the show. Blu del Barrio has previously revealed that only recently opened up to being non-binary, and their life experiences are paralleled on Discovery. Speaking to TV Insider, del Barrio discussed how this will play out on the show:
I think that they’ve been completely isolated since everything happened with Gray and I think that we can see little moments of them just opening up a tiny bit in this episode, and that’s what it felt like filming it. Just little tiny bits of light here and there, and like you said, it’s just going to get bigger and bigger. They’re just going to get more and more comfortable. Not with everyone on the ship right away, but with certain people, enough so that they feel like they can share more about who they are.
Alexander also indicated to Variety that Gray’s gender identity will be addressed in the show at some point:
I think that there absolutely should be trans characters that just simply exist, and they don’t necessarily need to explain or come out as trans to the audience. I do think there will be at some point in the future a more explicit conversation about Gray’s gender identity and his transition, but that just won’t happen right away.
And del Barrio told TV Insider how important Dr. Hugh Culber and Paul Stamets will be to Adira:
The dynamic between [Adira, Culber, and Stamets] is a really interesting and beautiful thing. Adira is a young queer kid in the future who is completely alone, and here you have a queer couple. They’re really comfortable with each other and are also really comfortable and used to helping people… Adira is overwhelmed and a bit flustered and needs help, as much as they don’t want to admit that, and I think Stamets and Hugh are the perfect people to help Adira.
Tapping into Tal
In episode four we saw Adira successfully join with the Trill symbiont, becoming Adira Tal. Blu del Barrio talked to TV Insider about how this source of knowledge will play out:
Adira has an incredible amount of information in their 16-year-old brain right now, and they now have just found people who could feel like friends to them, so they want to help and where else are they going to put all of this knowledge? They want to move forward with it, and now knowing what Burnham and the whole crew is working towards, they feel like they can help and they can be of assistance, so with Gray by their side, maybe they can.
Gray as Adira’s “hype man”… into season 4
Episode four also revealed that Gray is Tal’s former host and Adira’s former boyfriend, who was killed. However, through the joining, Adira (and only Adira) can now see and talk to Gray. Blu del Barrio talked about this special relationship:
Adira and Gray are each other’s person for everything, the person that they will go to with their problems, with their successes, just with everything. I know Adira is really, really introverted and Gray might be a bit more confident than them, but even so, I think they both find a massive amount of comfort and solace in each other’s company. Everyone can expect to see more of that in the future.
Alexander expanded on Gray’s role to ET:
Gray is a brilliant young Trill. He’s very optimistic, just full of love and light and compassion, and he’s really everybody’s hype man. He really brings a lot of positivity and uplifts Adira when they need a confidence boost. Because Adira’s brilliant, but they are not necessarily the most confident person. Gray’s there to sort of remind them of their worth and remind them how smart and brilliant they are. I am really, really excited to be playing Gray because he’s just such a cool character. And also, it’s so nice to see a trans person exist onscreen without necessarily needing to exclaim to the world, “I’m trans.”
Alex Kurtzman confirmed that both del Adira and Gray are returning for season four, saying “It’s a whole long story with them.” Alexander talked about how their story will progress:
I’m excited for everyone to see how Gray’s story develops, how his connection with Adira strengthens and grows over time. That connection that they have truly is special. The future of Gray is… There’s a lot of exciting things coming up, especially as Gray’s story progresses into season 4, which I am currently filming for. I am allowed to talk about that. I can mention Gray is coming back to season 4, you can put that in there. Gray is going to be coming back throughout the end of season 3 and then also through season 4 as well.
New episodes of Star Trek: Discovery premiere on Thursdays on CBS All Access in the U.S. and on CTV Sci-Fi Channel in Canada, where it’s also available to stream on Crave. Episodes will be available on Fridays internationally on Netflix.
Keep up with all the news and reviews from the new Star Trek Universe on TV at TrekMovie.com.