‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Honored With Seal Of Authentic Representation For Bruce Horak’s Hemmer

For the second time this week, the Star Trek franchise is being recognized for inclusivity, this time Star Trek: Strange New Worlds for how it featured a character with a disability.

Ruderman Seal of Approval for Strange New Worlds

The Ruderman Family Foundation is an advocacy group that focuses on the advancement of people with disabilities, and their Ruderman Seal of Approval is awarded to television series and films featuring actors with disabilities in substantial speaking roles that show “the commitment toward full inclusiveness in popular culture.” According to Variety, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is being honored with the seal for the casting of Bruce Horak, a legally blind actor, to play the blind Aenar Hemmer, chief engineer of the USS Enterprise.

The Paramount+ Star Trek show is being recognized in 2022 along with HBO’s The Sex Lives of College Girls, Hallmark’s Color My World with Love, the Apple TV+ series Best Foot Forward, and the film Cha Cha Real Smooth. “The latest group of studio productions to receive our Seal of Authentic Representation have once again proven that practicing inclusive casting and authentic representation is not only a principled, morally sound choice, but a significant contributing factor to a production’s actual success,” said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation in a statement.

Bruce Horak at Strange New Worlds NYC premiere in May


Sadly, Horak’s Hemmer met his untimely end in the penultimate episode of the first season, which the actor knew was coming when he was originally cast, revealing after the episode aired that he was happy with the character’s “noble death,” and that working on the show was the best year of his life. And while Hemmer may be gone, the show’s producers have promised they will be finding a way to bring Horak back, likely playing a different character.

Bruce Horak as Hemmer in his final episode

This latest honor comes just days after the announcement that the Star Trek franchise was being awarded The Visionary Award at the Outfest Legacy Awards this weekend. Star Trek is being recognized for its history of representation of LGBTQIA+ performers and characters.

For more on the Ruderman Seal of Approval visit rudermanfoundation.org.

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Excellent! Congratulations SNW!!

No one has played an Aenar as authentically as Bruce!

Bruce Horak did a helluva job on SNW. Congratulations, representation matters!!

Unsurprisingly, I had no idea that’s what Mr. Horak looked like. Congrats to him and Trek!

Gone too soon

I absolutely LOVED his character. It’s so sad how his arc played out in Season 1. I do hope to see more of this actor–fabulous work!

Amazing, gone way too early on the series though.

Casted, Check, killed, Check…

Instead of the “kill your gays trope” do we now have a “kill your disabled?” Hemmer was a brilliant character in SNW, certainly better than the new Chapel or Ortegas who did very little over the course of the season.

I agree, although I thought it was odd that Ortegas was the only cast member who got no substantive character arcs the entire season. I know there were only ten episodes, but everyone else had something pretty heavy at least once.

I did feel like he left us too soon. I appreciate that drama sometime necessitates telling that audience that no one is safe. But Hemmer was a fav of mine. And I really didn’t want to see him go vs some of the others which I care less about.

It’s actually baffling when I think back to that choice to kill him off. Similar to Lorca in Discovery, Rios in Picard, what is it with killing off the characters that people really like and are clearly fan favourites. And to do it so early on in a series as well …making room for Scotty perhaps and completely jumping the shark…I hope not.

No it won’t be for Scotty it has already been announced that Carol Kane is taking over the role of Chief Engineer.

Well that’s good, hopefully common sense prevails and we don’t get throwbacks(forwards) to TOS characters every season.

those episodes were shot and in the can before Hemmer turned into a fan favorite

They also won a Feldheimer commendation for ruthless liquidation of breakout fan-favorite character. Replaced by an aged wacky-voice specialist, presumably to up the zany factor as part of the reported move to metaphorically swing for the parking lot.

Carol Kane is a really great actress, but and initially, it seemed odd that they would go with a 70 year old for the part, but I’m down with it. She’s really good.

She’s that old, really?! She looked practically the same in that photo as she did in her “Taxi” days, seriously.

again. his fate was sealed before the episodes aired.
I’m all for bringing him back. Maybe as a blind navigator to pair up with Ortegas

Maybe the engineers will be like the drummers in Spinal Tap and every season we’ll get a new one!

“He’s dead, Chris. A bizarre gardening accident.”

“He choked to death on vomit (not his own.)”

“I’m sorry, captain, you can’t dust for vomit.”

We don’t know Hemmer is dead, only he took a swan dive, perhaps into a soft snowbank. ENT did not retrieve his body or have the classic photon tube funeral. Writers made a point to use a planet similar to his own. I suggest he could have frozen. Not human, his DNA could prevent cellular destruction when freezing. Nine centuries later… it’s aging star warms the planet. A Federation survey vessel discovers his body and using 32nd century tech, removes the infection. Next stop: Discovery.

The producers have confirmed that the character died in the episode. (If he survived the fall, what do you suppose those Gorn larvae did to him?) The actor is supposed to return in another role, though.

The producers have lied before

Alas poor Hemmer, he only appeared in a few episodes of Star Trek, and then he was gorn.

Well played Sir👏👏

Fantastic character played by a equally fantastic actor. Very disappointed that the writers killed Hemmer off.

On a technicality (yeah, I’ll be “that guy”), the character of Hemmer is not disabled. That is simply the way his species is.

That being said, I do applaud the casting of Bruce into that role and that a naturally blind species is represented by him.

I love the actor and love the character. I am looking forward to whatever role they cast Bruce in next.

Hemmer was a really interesting character played by a fantastic actor. I’m so disappointed he was killed off. Yes, for dramatic effect and to more closely represent real life, supporting characters are sometimes killed off. Too bad, because those are often the most intriguing characters—the ones who don’t nicely fit the stereotypical Star Trek persona. Thinking now of Ruon Tarka in Discovery. It’s a real shame he’s gone. His complex personality and technological genius could have been mined for many fantastic stories–like Hemmer.