As we learned yesterday, beloved Star Trek character Hikaru Sulu (played by John Cho in the new films) will be revealed to be gay in Star Trek Beyond. The makers of Star Trek Beyond framed the decision as a tribute to the original Sulu, George Takei, who’s been openly gay since 2005 and one of Hollywood’s most visible supporters of LGBTQ rights. Just one problem with that – George Takei apparently isn’t on board with Sulu being gay.
According to Takei, Star Trek mastermind Gene Roddenberry told him Sulu was canonically straight, and changing the character’s sexuality is a “twisting of his creation.” Takei also felt he wasn’t heard when he expressed his concerns to Star Trek Beyond writer Simon Pegg and director Justin Lin. Considering the original Sulu isn’t thrilled by his own “tribute,” you’d think the makers of Star Trek Beyond would just put their heads down and move onto another subject, but Simon Pegg has instead decided to publicly butt heads with Takei on the issue. Simon, buddy, this might not go well for you.
In an interview with The Guardian, Pegg explained why they didn’t just introduce a new gay character, as Takei has suggested…
“I have huge love and respect for George Takei, his heart, courage and humor are an inspiration However, with regards to his thoughts on our Sulu, I must respectfully disagree with him. 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?”