Heard in the Laemmle Grande lobby downtown after a Star Trek screening got out Saturday night:

“Scotty was Irish — no, Scottish. He was Celtic. But how come no Latinos?! Que pasa?!!!”

The man's exasperated comment echoes frustrations by Latino trekkies who love the movie but wonder why the Enterprise's international crew and the story's inter-galactically diverse characters couldn't have included one Latino. There are some justifications: The crew must mimic the original TV series which, even though its multi-ethnic casting seemed enlightened in the 1960s, had no Latino characters. And besides, the film has Latino actors and one of its two writers, Roberto Orci, was born in Mexico. Still, these only sound like excuses to those who feel left out.

Latinos haven't been the only group frustrated by Star Trek's members-only policy toward characters. Gays, who have had to make due on the Internet with the campy, fan-produced Star Trek: Phase II, are increasingly grumpy about the straight-as-a-laser personalities at Starfleet Command and on the Enterprise's bridge. In fact, the new J.J. Abrams-directed Star Trek seems like a gay fable without gays — after all, it's about a confused pretty boy growing up in Iowa who moves to San Francisco to find his identity in tight-fitting clothes and boots. Among the pre-release hopes and musings on the blogosphere:

  • Star Trek, despite its claims of a rosy, multi-culture future,

    rarely included Latino characters. Only Star Trek Voyager offered a few

    Latino actors as constant figures. Gayprof, Center of Gravitas Blogspot, October 5, 2005

  • How about Shakira or Penelope Cruz as Lt. Uhura? I mean, I know that

    character was an African American in the previous incarnations, but

    Star Trek has never given a break (as far as I can remember) to

    Latinos. Plus, why shouldn't the communications officer have a

    barely-decipherable accent? Lack of irony, that's why. Great White Snark, February 28, 2007

  • It would also be fair, however, if a Latino/Hispanic had a part too,

    maybe a supporting role of an ensign or admiral. The main cast will

    already have a Scot, a Russian, a Japanese guy, an African woman (I

    think Uhura's history says she's from Africa, not from the Americas),

    and an alien. umberhaven, SciFi Ranter, September 14, 2007

  • Will there be any Latino characters or extras? I second #334's question as well: any gay characters or extras? Leonel, Trek Movie.com, January 25, 2008

  • Sounds

    like more of the same to me – “Oh yeah, we're totally for a gay

    character in Star Trek. Next time!” Always next time. Steve623, Trek Movie.com, July 15, 2008

  • Actually, there hasn't been many Latino characters in Star Trek. We

    have lots of white people, blacks and asians, but I can't remember any

    Latino. Chakote doens't count because he's aparantly Space Maya. There

    has been referances to people with latin names, but no Captain Alponso

    Sanchez. twistedmenat, forums.somethingawful.com, January 27, 2009

  •  .

    . . give this Latino Queen at least one Mexican/Blacktino character who

    isn't killed off in the first 30 minutes or who isn't some neurotic

    fucked up personallity who lacks self confidence and control of his/

    her situations. Hell I'd even settle for a Latino/ Alien hybrid like

    B'lanna Torres from the “Voyager” series (which I think I liked the

    best). Eddie Valentine on Ben Francisco.net, April 1, 2009

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