Last night, a new episode of Star Trek: Discovery, Despite Yourself, aired and one of the actors in the episode, Wilson Cruz (Dr. Hugh Culber), spoke about the episode, which has fandom talking today. Note: Spoilers. Do not read further if you haven’t seen the episode yet.
Cruz’s character, Dr. Hugh Culber met his end last night at the hands of Lt. Ash Tyler, after Culber discovered that something was very wrong with the former prisoner and confronted him.
“I would be upset if I was watching, and I think we need to give people permission to be upset,” said Cruz. “It’s upsetting. It’s a disappointing moment.
“I’m nervous because we are all aware of this trope throughout television which we continue to see LGBT characters, characters of color, and women killed off in very dismissive ways, and I want people to know that this is not that. This is a chapter of this epic love story of these two characters. And this is science fiction. This is Star Trek. There are many possibilities.”
Cruz knew about this death and had to keep quiet about it. “I’ve been living with this for a while now,” he said. “When Aaron and Gretchen called to let me know this is where the show was going, I remember committing to them that I was going to bring everything I had to my last episodes in this season, and they promised to send over scenes that would make it worth my while — and they did. I have to say, in my twenty-five years [of acting], my favorite scene I’ve ever filmed is still coming in this season.”
Fans need to know that “part of this journey is going to be magnificent and some of it is going to be disappointing,” said Cruz. “There is going to be glory and triumph and heartbreak, but we will come out of it at the other end better for it, I promise you. So go on the ride with us.”
Will Culber return? “Yes. We will see Dr. Culber again,” Cruz told Inverse. “This is an epic love story. Yes. You will be experiencing highs and lows, triumphs and disappoints as you would in any relationship. And what we’re doing is inviting you to go on the journey of this relationship and the roller coaster ride that it is. And this is just one chapter in their story. And where we’re going to take you, I think, is incredibly exciting. And this had to happen in order for us to go there.
“So, you know, what we’re all doing, what we’re doing now is asking the audience to trust us. This is not a ‘bury your gays, kill your gays’ trope storyline. This is a chapter in this relationship and even Paul and Hugh have no idea what’s about to go down. And, you know, I give people permission to be sad on Sunday, I think that’s appropriate. I think we will all go through some stages of grief, and I think that’s okay. I think that’s why we make TV, you know? We take you on this trip. And this is part of it.”
Aaron Harberts and Gretchen Berg confirmed what Cruz said. During an appearance on After Trek, Berg said, “We will see Dr. Culber again. He is not one hundred percent dead.”
“Everything we do on Star Trek comes out of character and also, as much as we can, grounded in science,” said Harberts. “Get Paul Stamets‘ book Mycellium Running, and give it a read – because his view on the mycellial network and the building blocks of life and how life and death are interwoven will give you very, very good hints as to what’s going to happen.”