George Takei William Shatner

Well… this probably wasn’t how things were expected to go.  News broke today that in ‘Star Trek Beyond’, the character of Hikaru Sulu, played by John Cho would be gay.  The move, perpetrated by writer Simon Pegg and director Justin Lin, was an homage to the fact that George Takei, the original actor to play the role, is gay in real life and an LGBT activist.

Unfortunately, Takei hasn’t taken the tribute well.  He replied:

“I’m delighted that there’s a gay character.  Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.

“I told [Lin], ‘Be imaginative and create a character who has a history of being gay, rather than Sulu, who had been straight all this time, suddenly being revealed as being closeted.'”

The new ‘Trek’ movies deviate from the original continuity– a fact that has upset purists.  Since Sulu wasn’t gay (overtly) in the original series, it seems that Takei thinks he should have been kept heterosexual.  Perhaps he may change his mind when he sees the final cut.

But it was clearly established in the first ‘Star Trek’ that the movies take place in a parallel universe and years before the original TV series.  So it’s not QUITE yanking Sulu out of the closet.  This is essentially a completely different character, who has a different life.

The sequence in question isn’t supposed to be very large, anyway.  It is described as quite matter-of-fact and reveals that not only does Sulu have a long-term male partner but a baby daughter, which nods to past continuity in which Sulu’s daughter Demora followed in his footsteps and joined Starfleet.  She was played by Jacqueline Kim in ‘Star Trek Generations’.

Sulu never had a love interest of any sex during the original show.  Demora’s conception was detailed in the 1995 novel ‘The Captain’s Daughter’, about which Takei stated:

“It was, to put it crudely, a one-night stand with a glamazon.  A very athletic, powerful and stunningly gorgeous woman. That’s Demora’s mother.”

Takei wrapped up by saying:

“I said, ‘This movie is going to be coming out on the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, the 50th anniversary of paying tribute to Gene Roddenberry, the man whose vision it was carried us through half a century. Honor him and create a new character. I urged them. He left me feeling that that was going to happen.

“I really tried to work with these people when at long last the issue of gay equality was going to be addressed.  I thought after that conversation with Justin that was going to happen. Months later, when I got that email from Simon Pegg, I was kind of confused. I interpreted that as my words having been heard.”

Does Takei’s disapproval make you leery of the new film?

‘Star Trek Beyond’ directed by Justin Lin and starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, John Cho, the late Anton Yelchin, Sofia Boutella and Idris Elba beams into theaters on July 22.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter