Star Trek Beyond is doing its own thing with new director Justin Lin and writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung. Lin has already said the movie will ignore some of the more drastic, potentially movie-ruining implications of Star Trek Into Darkness (like the cure for death in Khan’s blood and the ability to beam across entire galaxies). Another seeming difference? Sulu’s sexuality is finally going to be completely clear, as he’ll have a husband introduced in the film, and we’ll find out his daughter was adopted.
George Takei, perhaps surprisingly, didn’t like the news, a disagreement which “disappointed” fellow gay Star Trek alum Zachary Quinto. Simon Pegg also “respectfully disagreed” with Takei, and he posted further about the plot development on his website on Monday. The whole thing’s interesting, but the part we’re here for is Pegg explaining why Sulu’s sexuality fits right into the canon of the rebooted Star Trek universe:
With galaxies of respect to the great man [George Takei], this is not his Sulu. John Cho does not play a young George Takei, nor does he play the same character George Takei played in the original series. He is a different Sulu. This brings me to the second point of contention, Canon.
With the Kelvin timeline, we are not entirely beholden to existing canon, this is an alternate reality and, as such is full of new and alternate possibilities. “BUT WAIT!” I hear you brilliant and beautiful super Trekkies cry, “Canon tells us, Hikaru Sulu was born before the Kelvin incident, so how could his fundamental humanity be altered? Well, the explanation comes down to something very Star Treky; theoretical, quantum physics and the less than simple fact that time is not linear. Sure, we experience time as a contiguous series of cascading events but perception and reality aren’t always the same thing. Spock’s incursion from the Prime Universe created a multidimensional reality shift. The rift in space/time created an entirely new reality in all directions, top to bottom, from the Big Bang to the end of everything. As such this reality was, is and always will be subtly different from the Prime Universe. I don’t believe for one second that Gene Roddenberry wouldn’t have loved the idea of an alternate reality (Mirror, Mirror anyone?). This means, and this is absolutely key, the Kelvin universe can evolve and change in ways that don’t necessarily have to follow the Prime Universe at any point in history, before or after the events of Star Trek ‘09, it can mutate and subvert, it is a playground for the new and the progressive and I know in my heart, that Gene Roddenberry would be proud of us for keeping his ideals alive. Infinite diversity in infinite combinations, this was his dream, that is our dream, it should be everybody’s.
Excellent points, and beautifully stated, but isn’t there an even easier explanation for all of this? Make him bisexual. Bisexuals exist, despite some people’s (including some of my fellow LGBT folks) consistent and awful insistence that they don’t. Bisexual men would get more (precious little) representation and every part of the canon would still make sense. The few times Sulu seemed to be attracted to women in TOS or the (arguably canon) animated series? Still plausible if he’s bi. Having a husband and adopted daughter? Also plausible if he’s bi. This sh*t doesn’t need to be complicated. Let’s just make everyone bi. No, EVERYONE. Everyone. *leans in close, whispers ominously* All your faves.