Star Trek alum George Takei is not happy about Hikaru Sulu being revealed as gay in the upcoming Star Trek Beyond motion picture.
Responding to John Cho’s recent disclosure that Sulu will matter-of-factly be revealed as gay (with a husband and daughter, Demora) in the third, Justin Lin-directed entry of the current Star Trek film franchise, the openly out Takei told The Hollywood Reporter, “I’m delighted that there’s a gay character. Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of [Star Trek creator] Gene [Roddenberry]’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.”
Takei told the trade that in 1968, when he was still closeted, he broached with Roddenberry the topic of introducing a gay character. And though the series’ creator “was a strong supporter of LGBT equality,” he feared that crossing that particular bridge might be too much for network brass to handle, and Trek at the time was already riding the renewal bubble. Takei said he never asked for Sulu himself to be gay, and that Roddenberry always envisioned the Enterprise‘s helmsman as heterosexual. (Sulu never had a love interest in TOS, though he did get handsy with Uhura in “The Naked Time” and “Mirror, Mirror”).
Takei said that when he first learned, last year, that Cho’s Sulu would be revealed as gay — as tribute to both his legacy as a Trek alum and his LGBT activism — he appealed to Lin to instead “create a new character” and thus honor Roddenberry’s intentions, especially seeing as the film will help mark Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary. Instead, he would later learn that Lin and screenwriter Simon Pegg (who also plays Mr. Scott) did not heed his advice.
“I really tried to work with these people when at long last the issue of gay equality was going to be addressed,” Takei said. But despite his intentions, the end result has left him “confused.”
Bryan Fuller, who is shepherding CBS All Access’ upcoming small-screen relaunch of the Star Trek franchise, recently hinted at LGBT representation, saying that in casting, “[W]e want to carry on what Star Trek does best, which is being progressive.”