Well this escalated quickly.
Yesterday, news arrived that in the new movie ‘Star Trek Beyond’, Sulu (John Cho) would be revealed to be gay. The decision came from screenwriter/actor Simon Pegg (Scotty) and director Justin Lin, who intended the revelation to be a nod to the original Sulu, George Takei, who is gay in real life. But unfortunately, Takei voiced his opinion that this was “unfortunate” because in the original ‘Trek’ Sulu wasn’t (overtly) gay. Takei stated that although ‘Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry was sympathetic to the LGBT cause, which was in its earliest stages at that point, Sulu wasn’t created to actually be gay.
As Takei stated:
“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.’”
In all honesty, Sulu was never “revealed” as being either straight or gay, but let’s just go with straight.
Now the contemporary ‘Trek’ cast are sounding off.
First, Pegg replied:
“He’s right, it is unfortunate, it’s unfortunate that the screen version of the most inclusive, tolerant universe in science fiction hasn’t featured an LGBT character until now. We could have introduced a new gay character, but he or she would have been primarily defined by their sexuality, seen as the ‘gay character’, rather than simply for who they are, and isn’t that tokenism?
“Their sexual orientation is just one of many personal aspects, not the defining characteristic. Also, the audience would infer that there has been an LGBT presence in the Trek universe from the beginning (at least in the Kelvin timeline), that a gay hero isn’t something new or strange. It’s also important to note that at no point do we suggest that our Sulu was ever closeted, why would he need to be? It’s just hasn’t come up before.
“I like this idea because it suggests that in a hypothetical multiverse, across an infinite matrix of alternate realities, we are all LGBT somewhere. Whatever dimension we inhabit, we all just want to be loved by those we love (and I love George Takei). I can’t speak for every reality but that must surely true of this one. Live long and prosper.”
As Pegg points out, the current ‘Trek’ movies are divergent from the classic mythology, taking place in an alternate timeline. It’s not crazy to think this Sulu has simply been openly gay his whole life. He isn’t the same character as Takei’s version.
In addition, openly gay actor Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock in the new movies chimed in:
“As a member of the LGBT community myself, I was disappointed by the fact that George was disappointed. I get it that he’s has had his own personal journey and has his own personal relationship with this character but, you know, as we established in the first Star Trek film in 2009, we’ve created an alternate universe.
“My hope is that eventually George can be strengthened by the enormously positive response from especially young people who are heartened by and inspired by this really tasteful and beautiful portrayal of something that I think is gaining acceptance and inclusion in our societies across the world, and should be.”
Just to keep things in perspective, the way this “revelation” in ‘Beyond’ is described, it sounds like a five-minute scene meant to simply flesh out Sulu, who, up til now, we know can fence and is kind of a crap driver.
Sounds like WAY too much of a kerfuffle over what sounds to ultimately be a minor scene in a big movie.
But anyway, are you on Takei’s side, that this is a betrayal of Roddenberry’s vision? Or do you agree with Pegg and Quinto?
‘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