George Takei is not backing down on this gay Sulu thing

10.10.16 3 years ago

George Takei was famously not a fan of the decision to make Sulu gay in Justin Lin's Star Trek Beyond — and having now seen the film, he can confirm that his opinion remains the same.

“They talked about Sulu becoming gay, but it was such a tentative thing,” Takei told Digital Spy of the scene where Sulu is revealed to have a male partner and child. “Shakespeare said it: Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

“Sulu comes back, picks up the little girl and hugs her, and then puts his arm around a guy and they walk off… not even a kiss. Just hugging the baby and arm around the guy… and it's over.”

Back in July, Takei told The Hollywood Reporter that changing Sulu's sexuality for the third film in the rebooted film series was a betrayal of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's original vision for the character, stating: “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 later clarified his comments in a Facebook post, but did not back down from his original statement. Producer J.J. Abrams and star/co-writer Simon Pegg subsequently made it clear that they respectfully disagreed with Takei's stance on the matter.

In the Digital Spy interview, Takei went on to ponder how Roddenberry would have tackled a gay Star Trek storyline, insisting that the late writer's take would have been far more “imaginative”: 

“He would've created a gay character who has his own history in this kind of society and explored what kind of issues he would have to deal with, and how he would've expressed himself, and how society would've dealt with him. All those potentials are there – and yet…”

Takei is obviously completely justified in feeling the way that he does, and I think he's probably right that Roddenberry would have found a more creative way to tackle gay issues in the franchise had that been allowed when he was steering the ship. But making Sulu gay in Star Trek Beyond was I think a sincere stab at diversity, and Lin, Abrams and the film's writers deserve some credit for that.

[h/t Vulture]

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