From Roxann Dawson to Wilson Cruz, ‘Star Trek’ Representation is Growing

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres
Art by Stephany Torres
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These days, Trekkies (fans of the TV series Star Trek) must feel like the world revolves around their television habits. All you need to do is look at how the Star Trek franchise has expanded in recent years to see how great it is to be such a big nerd.

Along with revisiting all the countless movies and TV shows of the past, including the original series that ran from 1966 to 1969, Trekkies now have a handful of new content to stream on Paramount+.

According to Deadline, Star Trek: Discovery has been greenlit for a fifth season. Season 2 of Star Trek: Picard premieres on March 3. The series is currently in production in its third season.

The first season of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds will premiere on May 5 but has already been renewed for Season 2. The animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks will return this summer for its third season. Another animated series, Star Trek: Prodigy, debuted this past October and wrapped up its first season on February 3. It’s safe to say that Trekkies worldwide don’t have to worry about where they’re going to get their next Star Trek fix from.

So, how have Latines fared in the Star Trek Universe over the last half-century? Here are seven Latine actors who have boldly gone where no man (or woman) has gone before.


Roxann Dawson as Chief Engineer B’Elanna Torres

It took almost 30 years, but actress Roxann Dawson became the first Latine actress to play a major character in a Star Trek series, Star Trek: Voyager. The show debuted in 1995 and ran for seven seasons. On the show, Dawson played B’Elanna Torres, a Klingon-human hybrid who became the chief engineer aboard the USS Voyager for the duration of the series.


Ada Maris as Captain Erika Hernández

In Star Trek: Enterprise, Hernández was a minor character played by actress Ada Maris for several episodes in 2004 and 2005. Showrunner Manny Coto pitched the idea of a Latine starship commander. In real life, Maris is married to actor Tony Plana, who guest-starred on two Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes in 1994 as a member of a resistance group.


F.J. Rio as Enrique Muñiz

Muñiz was a minor character in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which ran for seven seasons starting in 1993. Muñiz, who was referred to as “Quique” on the show, was a Starfleet engineer aboard the U.S.S. Defiant and Deep Space Nine. He was the first Star Trek character to speak Spanish. He was good friends with the main character Chief O’Brien (Colm Meaney) and even called him “jefe.” 


Wilson Cruz as Hugh Culber

Culber is a medical officer aboard the USS Discovery on Star Trek: Discovery, which is a prequel to the original series. He is an openly gay Latine character. Alongside fellow gay actor Anthony Rapp, they portray the first openly gay couple in the history of Star Trek


Blu del Barrio as Adira Tal

Tal is a minor albeit groundbreaking character in Star Trek: Discovery. Portrayed by transgender actor Blu del Barrio, Tal is the first non-binary character in a Star Trek series. Tal prefers to be addressed by they/them pronouns and holds the rank of Ensign.


Santiago Cabrera as Cristóbal “Chris” Rios

Rios, who is fluent in Spanish, is a main character on Star Trek: Picard. Portrayed by actor Santiago Cabrera, Rios is a former Starfleet commander and the commanding officer of a speed freighter called La Sirena. And at one point Rios reveals that when he was a child sometime in the mid-24th century, his mother sang him a lullaby called “Arroz con leche.” Talk about being on point.


Noël Wells as D'Vana Tendi

On the animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks, actress and former Saturday Night Live cast member Noël Wells, plays Tendi, an ensign who works in the medical bay of the USS Cerritos. In her early life, Tendi was a pirate who was known as the Mistress of the Winter Constellations. Fun fact, and something we’d want to go see live, her favorite genre of music is Klingon acid punk rock.