By James Hibberd
September 02, 2020 at 01:00 PM EDT
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Jan Thijs/CBS

Star Trek: Discovery is adding two castmembers that promise to break new ground for the sci-fi franchise.

The series is set to introduce the 54-year-old saga's first transgender and nonbinary characters.

In the upcoming third season of the CBS All Access show, fans will meet the Star Trek universe’s first non-binary character: Adira, played by newcomer Blu del Barrio. The character is described as "highly intelligent with a confidence and self-assurance well beyond their years." They will find a new home on the U.S.S. Discovery and "form an unexpected bond with Lt. Commander Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz)."

The transgender character is Gray, played by Ian Alexander (The OA). Gray is described as "empathetic, warm, and eager to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a Trill host, but he will have to adapt when his life takes an unexpected turn."

Here's a look at Barrio (left) and Alexander (right), out of character:

CBS (2)

"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,” said Michelle Paradise, co-showrunner and executive producer. "We take pride in working closely with Blu del Barrio, Ian Alexander, and Nick Adams at GLAAD to create the extraordinary characters of Adira and Gray, and bring their stories to life with empathy, understanding, empowerment, and joy."

Previously Star Trek: Discovery added new representation to the franchise by becoming the first Trek show to have a Black woman as its lead actor (Sonequa Martin-Green) and being the first show to have an openly gay character (Stamets).

The new episodes will pick up on season 2's cliffhanger and jump 930 years into the future – well beyond any previous entry in the franchise – where the Discovery crew will encounter an entire universe of changes and challenges. 

Season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery launches Thursday, Oct. 15.

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