Despite all the awfulness of Stargate Universe’s storylines, it did have some fantastic characters. A lot of people complained that the show was trying to be Star Trek, which I can see, but what I liked most about it was that it wasn’t trying to be SG1 or SG Atlantis. It is still part of the franchise and in the same universe, but it is a completely different show. The biggest change of pace was with the characters. They were not the same archetypes that the franchise had grown used to over the years.
Stargate Universe also has a diverse cast. The character I’m focusing on today, Camile Wray, is a civilian working on the Stargate program through the IOA—International Oversight Advisory, an organization setup to oversee Stargate operations—and she is of Chinese decent. On top of being a leading character who happens to be both female and Asian, Wray is also the first openly gay character in the Stargate universe.
Spoilers after the jump.
I say first “openly gay character” because Stargate Atlantis also featured another character who was a lesbian. Capt. Alicia Vega was supposed to be revealed as gay in the episode “Search and Resuce”, but the scene in question was ultimately cut.
The Stargate franchise is a vast place, so it is a little disconcerting that only two characters are canonically part of the LGBTQ+ community, but I think Wray did a lot for representation. She sticks out to me because, not only is she not straight, she’s also a POC, and we don’t often get many characters like that. Additionally, she isn’t defined by her ethnicity and sexuality. They inform her character, but they don’t override it. She’s just someone who happens to be both Asian and gay, and it’s not often that this kind of character ever becomes more than a token.
Wray has her faults and her strengths as a character. She’s very committed to her job, which is good, but she’s also described as having “a false sense of importance and superiority to the other military and civilian population along with a stubborn way of asserting it”. Wray makes a great political adversary for characters like Col. Young, and she makes a good friend to some of the other characters. She is a character for the audience to develop a love-hate relationship with, and it’s nice that, unlike other LGBTQ+ characters in other stories, Wray’s sexuality is never used as a means to show how manipulative she can be, just as it isn’t used as a means to make us like her. She’s literally just a character who happens to be gay.
And her relationship with her partner Sharon Walker is also very well done in my opinion. The two of them have been in a long-term relationship since 1997, so for the purposes of the show, they’ve been together almost twelve years. Like all couples, they have their ups and downs, and Wray being stranded on the Destiny while Sharon remains on Earth does strain their relationship. Additionally, they can only communicate with each other using communication stones—Wray has to switch bodies with someone else on Earth in order to talk to Sharon, which is a Sexualized Saturdays post for another time—and Sharon has a lot of trouble adjusting to seeing Wray in someone else’s body all the time.
Unlike other characters in the Stargate universe whose relationships don’t recover from the separation, Wray and Sharon stick together. Col. Young and his wife separate—though he did cheat on her—and Weir from Atlantis loses her longtime lover when she leaves on her mission, just to name a few. Sharon promises Wray that she’ll wait no matter how long it takes her to get home. At the end of the second season, Wray tells Sharon not to wait, because their situation isn’t fair to her. We never do find out what happens between them, because the show was cancelled, but I’d like to think that Sharon waited for her. In an alternate timeline, Wray and the other Destiny members become permanently stranded away from Earth, with no hope of ever returning, and Wray is perfectly happy not moving on from Sharon. She says that she had already found her soulmate and didn’t need another. Their relationship, though going through some very hard times, is very sweet and healthy and a pleasure to watch.