Reiko Aylesworth cast as Ming-Na’s life partner on “Stargate Universe”

With its October premiere date approaching, new info is starting to emerge about Stargate Universe, the Syfy channel’s latest Stargate spinoff. Here’s the official description of the show:

SGU follows a band of soldiers, scientists and civilians, who must fend for themselves as they are forced through a Stargate when their hidden base comes under attack. The desperate survivors emerge aboard an ancient ship, which is locked on an unknown course and unable to return to Earth. 

Faced with meeting the most basic needs of food, water and air, the group must unlock the secrets of the ship’s Stargate to survive.  The danger, adventure and hope they find on board the Destiny will reveal the heroes and villains among them.

Yes, it sounds a lot like Star Trek Voyager, but since I liked that series, I’m not complaining (yet).

In April we reported that the series would include a leading lesbian character named Camille, played by Ming-Na (Vanished, ER, The Joy Luck Club), who has a long-term partner back on Earth.

Last week, consulting producer Joseph Mallozzi revealed on his blog that Camille’s long-term, life partner, Sharon, will be played by Reiko Aylesworth in episode 7 ("Life").

Aylesworth as Michelle on 24 (left); at the 2008 JCPenney Asian Excellence Awards

Most people know Aylesworth — an Evanston, IL native of Dutch, Welsh, and Japanese ancestry, who studied neuroscience at the University of Washington before acting became her full-time profession — from her long-running role as Michelle on 24, but she has guest-starred on several series since then (including Lost and CSI, and is currently doing theater in New York.

Aylesworth’s SGU character Sharon was described in the casting call as a lead guest character, possibly recurring, who is "Sensitive, soulful" and will be asked to do "strong emotional scenes."

In the casting sides we’ve seen, Camille and Sharon share dinner, kisses, and a tearful conversation when they briefly re-unite via a long-range communications device that allows the stranded crew members to make a short visit home.

We finally know more about Ming-Na’s character. Here’s Camille’s bio on the show’s new official site:

Human resources executive Wray finds herself the highest ranking member of the International Oversight Committee (IOA) onboard the Destiny.  Like many of those stranded on the ship, she is devastated by the separation from loved ones back on earth.

There are several short video interviews with Ming-Na on the site about the her role on the show, and this pic of her in character:

Syfy has begun to run short promos for the series, like this one:

It’s unlikely that Camille and Sharon will have much screen time, since the point of the show is that the group is stranded on the other side of the galaxy, but it looks like we’ll see a lot of Camille on the series. That’s no small thing since she’s the first lesbian in a lead role on a Stargate series, and the first Asian American lesbian on any primetime broadcast or basic cable show in America, and both milestones are long overdue.

What do you think of the Ming-Na/Aylesworth pairing?

Thanks to AE reader Aled for the tip!

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