Once again the Star Trek franchise will embrace diversity with the introduction of a new character on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
Jesse James Keitel as Dr. Aspen
First reported by Variety (and confirmed officially by Paramount+), Jesse James Keitel (Big Sky, Queer as Folk), who is a trans woman, will be appearing as a guest star on episode 7 of Strange New Worlds, debuting on June 16th. Keitel will be playing a nonbinary character named Dr. Aspen. According to Variety, Aspen “once worked as a Starfleet counselor, but whose experiences on the Federation border prompted them to shift careers and work as a humanitarian aid worker.” In the episode helmed by trans director Sydney Freeland (Reservation Dogs), Dr. Aspen “will develop a surprising connection” with Ethan Peck’s Spock.
Keitel made history as the first openly trans series regular on primetime network TV in the ABC series Big Sky. She is now starring in Peacock’s revival of Queer as Folk, which debuts on Jun 9th.
Keitel reacted to the official announcement by saying it has been a lifelong dream to be part of Star Trek.
— Jesse James Keitel 🏳️⚧️ (@JesseJKeitel) June 7, 2022
The inclusion of Keitel’s Dr. Aspen continues the efforts seen in the new series to embrace LGBTQ representation in the Star Trek Universe. Just last week, Jess Bush’s Christine Chapel was revealed to date both men and women, and the most recent season of Picard included a romantic storyline with Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd) and Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan). And last year Star Trek: Discovery won a GLAAD Award for season three, which introduced the nonbinary character Adira (Blu Del Barrio) and trans character Grey (Ian Alexander), joining with the ship’s same-sex couple Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz).
New episodes of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds debut on Thursdays exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., Latin America, Australia and the Nordics. The series airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave in Canada. In New Zealand, it is available on TVNZ, and in India on Voot Select. Strange New Worlds will arrive via Paramount+ in select countries in Europe when the service launches later this year, starting with the UK and Ireland in June.
Find more Strange New Worlds news and reviews on TrekMovie.