For many Star Trek fans, it was major news when John Cho announced that his character, Hikaru Sulu, will be revealed as gay in Star Trek Beyond. But the original Sulu, George Takei, was not pleased to hear the news, this despite the fact that he”s gay and an advocate of LGBT rights.
“Unfortunately, it”s a twisting of Gene”s [Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry] creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it”s really unfortunate,” Takei told THR.com.
While Takei did say that he”s “delighted” to have a gay character in the movie, he might just have a point that, of all the characters on the Enterprise, it shouldn”t have been Sulu. While Sulu never had a romantic relationship during the show”s three-year run, he did father a child, Demora. She appeared in the 1994 movie Star Trek: Generations (played by Jacqueline Kim) and also in the series Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II (played by Mimi Chong).
But not everyone agrees with Takei, most notably Simon Pegg. Pegg, who co-wrote Star Trek Beyond and plays Scotty, said in a statement, “I have huge love and respect for George Takei…However, with regards to his thoughts on our Sulu, I must respectfully disagree with him.”
Pegg continued, “He”s [Takei] 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.”
The news of Sulu being gay did not catch Takei off guard. Not by a long shot. In fact, the actor had been in discussions with Cho, Pegg and Justin Lin, the film”s director, about this topic while the movie was being made. During these conversations, Takei let his opinions be known.
Takei explained, “I told him [Cho], '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.”…Honor him [Roddenberry] and create a new character. I urged them. [Lin] left me feeling that that was going to happen,” Takei said.
It didn”t. And Takei is clearly disappointed.
Star Trek Beyond opens on July 22, 2016.