Star Trek Gay Sulu

Zachary Quinto Upset by George Takei's Opposition to Star Trek Film's Gay Sulu

There’s a whole lot of disappointment in the Star Trek universe right now.

Shortly after George Takei — who played Star Trek’s Hikaru Sulu on TV and in movies from 1966 to 1991 — said it’s “unfortunate” that the character is being revealed as gay in the upcoming film Star Trek Beyond, Zachary Quinto — who plays Spock in the big-screen franchise — is weighing in with a counterpoint.

“As a member of the LGBT community myself, I was disappointed by the fact that George was disappointed,” Quinto tells Pedestrian.TV, adding, “I get it that he has had his own personal journey and has his own personal relationship with this character, but … as we established in the first Star Trek film in 2009, we’ve created an alternate universe.”

He concludes by saying, “My hope is that eventually George can be strengthened by the enormously positive response from especially young people who are heartened by and inspired by this really tasteful and beautiful portrayal of something that I think is gaining acceptance and inclusion in our societies across the world, and should be.”

Star Trek Beyond co-writer Simon Pegg has also weighed in on the issue, telling the UK’s Guardian, “[We] loved the idea of it being someone we already knew because the audience have a pre-existing opinion of that character as a human being, unaffected by any prejudice. Their sexual orientation is just one of many personal aspects, not the defining characteristic.”

How do you feel about (this universe’s) Sulu being revealed as gay in Star Trek BeyondDrop a comment with your thoughts below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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93 Comments
  1. David4 says:

    ‘There’s a whole lot of disappointment in the Star Trek universe right now.’

    Just wait until the movie opens! It will be even more so then!

    (Also typo alert… 1996-1991)

    • Leia says:

      Yes that’s a huge typo 1966! Further the man who birthed the character has the right to express his opinion, and as he is gay himself it carries some weight with me too. There were always whispers about the Kirk and Spock gay pairing in the Trek verse, by fans,don’t understand why we are so hung up on sexual preference in the first place. As for our alternate universe Trek of today, the first was fun, the second meh, and I felt the same about our new Star Wars too, too much a copy of the original story with just a switch in characters, that take the hit, not up to Genes original bloodlines. Maybe streaming Trek will be our new wonder!

    • Tom says:

      Plus they forgot Voyager, but I can’t recall now if that was him or archive footage

      • Luka says:

        It was Takei. The episode where we saw Tuvok serving under Sulu, during Tuvok’s first stint in Starfleet.

    • SHONDA LAUREL says:

      I hope it is good. Have you heard otherwise?

  2. Kenneth Byrd says:

    I’m not concerned in the least. George has his opinion and is entitled to it but as Simon said, it is a personal aspect of the character, not the defining one. Better they not have revealed it in advance and let audiences find out for themselves.

  3. Cynthia says:

    I don’t have an issue with it. It is an alternate universe and represents the way some relationships are today.

  4. modwildtv says:

    I’m disappointed Quinto thought he had the right to weigh in on another man’s disappointment. Let it go. At what point does all of this circular disappointment become browbeating?

    • Daniel says:

      Takei made it point to cast a dark shadow over the movie with his disappointment. Quinto has every right to make a statement throwing shade on it… and letting his thoughts be heard.

    • Anna says:

      Aren’t you exercising your right to weigh in on Quinto’s disappointment with this comment? Why are you allowed to speak your mind and he isn’t?

  5. Luke says:

    I don’t even like that Quinto uses the “alternate reality” excuse that everybody’s using. So what if a movie came out and it’s revealed the Chekov or Sulu or Spock or whoever is gay, and they’ve been gay all along? Ok. Whatever. Move along. Like Simon Pegg said, it’s just one of many personal aspects.

    • Marcie says:

      I think they got it wrong. It should be Scottie.

      • lrdslvrhnd says:

        Nah, Scotty’s not gay. He’s just got a thing going with that critter he’s dragged all over creation, is all.

    • MichelleR says:

      Quinto mentioned that alternate reality angle, because Takei feels that Sulu being gay and having a daughter means he was closeted. Quinto is saying that in the alternate reality he is always gay and out — that it’s not sad, but a triumphant presentation of what the future could be.

    • E. D. Boddy says:

      He calls it that because it IS an alternate reality from the original series.

  6. Jenn Jacob says:

    I can understand how Takei feels — in the original Star Trek, Sulu wasn’t revealed to be anything except a good pilot, why can’t we leave it at that?

    • Daniel says:

      Because thats a disservice to Sulu, the actor and the character, He’s much more than just the pilot.

      • Bob Smith says:

        No, this is a disservice to the actor and the pilot. You are saying that because George Takei is gay that his character must be also. It implies that gay people are incapable of playing straight characters. I welcome a gay character, but agree with Takei this was disappointing. And quite frankly, insulting.

        • Luka says:

          Actually, gay characters usually being played by straight actors has been more of an issue. Gay actors usually play straight characters (NPH, Matt Bomer, Wentworth Miller, Jim Parsons, etc.)..
          And Sulu should certainly be more than a great pilot (and a good fencer). Not just sexuality-wise.

    • MichelleR says:

      You are making the same old argument where straight people, like Kirk, are just living their lives when they reveal their heterosexuality, but any sign someone is gay means they’re flaunting it.

      I get Takei’s point, frankly, but making a new character to be the gay guy is not the same as the message sent when a pretty fleshed out character also happens to be gay.

  7. Luis says:

    Seriously, do we need division in the “Star Trek” family over a subject like this?

  8. Spence says:

    Takei is allowed to have his opinion however he pleases, especially being the original Sulu. But times have changed significantly for the better and the more diverse representation the better. As Takei even admitted, Sulu never had any relationship whatsoever so it really isn’t “warping the character” since their sexuality- as it should be- wasn’t a major discussion to begin with. Simon Pegg said it perfectly, their sexuality is just another, relatively unimportant aspect of them.

    • Gail says:

      The Sulu in the parallel universe in TOS episode “Mirror Mirror” tried to attack Uhura so I assume that Sulu was straight and /or a rapist. Different universe different people who happen to look alike and have the same name.

      • Manue says:

        Yeah, only in this reboot of Star Trek we don’t have an alternate universe, we have an alternate timeline, meaning the characters are the same only living thru different versions of the same events. But it doesn’t matter if it is a different universe or timeline, a different sequence of events may cause some changes on the characters personalities but not on their identities, sexual or otherwise. Unless you defend sexual orientation is not something we’re born with but rather depends on our nurturing/education? Because if you do, you’re outdated, that school of thought was abandoned by everyone some time ago (with the exception of evangelist preachers and other religious fanatics and biggots, of course). What I mean is that it doesn’t matter how many alternate versions of a universe you have, the characters in it will still have the same DNA, so their sexual orientation will be the same in all of the universes, regardless of how different they might be psychologically because of the different life experiences they’ve had. In other words: the Sulu in this timeline has the exact same DNA of the Sulu in the Prime Timeline, so is sexual orientation should be the same in both – and there was nothing in the TOS or the original films which said Sulu was gay. So that’s why I agree with George Takei, and that’s why I think Simon Pegg and Zachary Quinto are totaly wrong and completely missed the point.
        Mind you, I have nothing against gay people or gay characters, I just don’t apreciate seeing characters that were not writen as gay to begin with having their identity changed for nothing more than to be PC. Its like casting a black actor to play James Bond – I love Idris Elba and will go watch any movie he’s in, because he’s a great actor, but I refuse to have him as James Bond and will not go watch any Bond film with him, not because I’m racist, but because James Bond was not writen as a black man by Ian Fleming in his novels. Don’t mess with existing characters just to be PC, because that’s disrespectfull not only to the life long fans of those characters but also to our comon history: we were what we were as a people in the past, for better or worse, and that reflects in the stories we told and in the way we told them back then. So, don’t try to re-write those stories, write new ones with new characters, new stories that can reflect the multiple diversity of our present world. If you want to have a new take on an old story, respect the identity of that story for what it is: a refection of the society in which it was written. If you don’t like it, go find another story that suits you better.

        • dean says:

          Sexual orientation is caused by prenatal hormonal exposure levels. It has NOTHING to do with DNA. Identical twins would have the same sexual orientation 100% of the time if it were DNA based, and they do NOT. Twins can, however, be exposed to different levels of hormones in the same womb. Please stop talking about something you CLEARLY don’t understand.

          • Damon says:

            Good general point, but also supports the idea Sulu must be straight in noth timelimes since the timelime splits when he is well out of the womb.

          • Manuel Nogueira says:

            You’re right, I’m not a scientist or a doctor of any kind, I’m a lawyer, so I only have a general knowleage about these maters. But I stand corrected and thank you for the information. Still, it doesn’t make any difference that it’s prenatal hormonal exposure that determines sexual orientation: as someone else already said, since Sulu was already born when the timeline changed, that means his sexual orientation had already been determined and therefore would not be influenced by a new sequence of events and should be the same in both timelines – thus proving I’m not the only one who didn’t knew what he was talking about, Pegg and Quinto obviously don’t know either.

        • Luka says:

          There’s nothing in TOS or the movies that said Sulu isn’t gay.

          I do agree on the black Bond issue. Most of all because Bond was always the defender of the white establishment. Which is why I found the use of The Clash in “Die Another Day” absolutely hilarious.

  9. nothopefulhere says:

    Tough cookies, this whole “new” Star Trek film series is a farce anyway. It’s not the Real Star Trek.

  10. 8bemused says:

    In an episode of DS9 Kassidy Yates asks Captain Sisko why he doesn’t like to go to a holosuite program set in 1960s Las Vegas. He tells her that he doesn’t want to pretend or ignore how difficult it was for Black people back then- that they might have been there as employees, but never as customers, and that is why he refuses to go. She responded (and I’m paraphrasing) by saying that it wasn’t about forgetting their history, but taking the opportunity to enjoy it the way “it could have been, the way it should have been” – that is open for everyone to enjoy and feel welcome. I feel the same way about making character changes in reboots of older tv shows, movies, comic books etc,. It’s not about disrespecting the source material- it’s about acknowledging the lack and of inclusiveness and diversity in the time it was created (in race, culture, religion, gender, and sexual orientation) and it’s about re-imagining these great ideas, characters, and universes but the way they could have and should have been portrayed- with a diverse and inclusive cast of characters.

  11. davido says:

    This movie is going to bomb. Calling it.

  12. Trekkie says:

    It is very unfortunate. Wont go see the movie now.

    • Daniel says:

      Because of a 30 second throwaway scene with Sulu and his husband? Go back under a rock man… Trek doesnt need you

  13. Max says:

    My whole problem with this is that it was announced in the first place. Why spoil the movie? Let it come out organically when the movie is released. I know the movie is trying to drum up publicity, but does it really need it? Hardcore Trek fans will go see it anyway, action adventure stars will go see it anyway, gay fans will go see it anyway, etc. It didn’t need to have Sulu’s orientation spoiled for us ahead of time.

  14. Chad says:

    What does an alternate timeline have to do with anything? I thought the argument was you didn’t choose your sexual orientation but rather you were born that way. If this is true then why would Sulu’s change from straight to gay just because the timeline diverged? He was still born straight.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      +175 TVLine Power User points (no cash value)

    • Gail says:

      As this is fiction and since no one knows what causes sexual attraction they could say anything.

      In the future they discover if you breath in a spore while pregnant it will change the sexual orientation of your child. If the child would have been straight they will be gay and vice versa. In the new timeline Sula’s mother inhaled the spore.

      In the future you can choose the sexual orientation of your child. Sulu’s mother decided she want a gay son in the new timeline.

    • Like everything else today, small changes happen in remakes all the time, maybe its race, relationships etc. The thing is with all of the anti LGBTQ laws are popping up and the tide does seems to be moving in that direction, things like this are needed… Especially on the T portion of the LGBTQ. When I originally read this being reported, I saw the comment…”Since when did someone’s sex life have anything to do with science fiction.” I responded, well when did Kirk begin is role with the original series.

      People are more tolerant these days but some just do not “get” the problems that still exist…every little thing helps

      In other words, I get that there is no connection to the original series and when taken as a whole it doesn’t make sense however, it is done with good intention and it is such a small part of the film that it should be easy to look past.

    • Cheryl says:

      Didn’t the timeline change when the black hole was created, roughly at the time of Kirk’s birth? If Sulu was younger than Kirk, then he was born into the new timeline and any differences would be possible.

      • Luka says:

        The timeline diverged in 2033. Sulu was born in 2030.
        But it really doesn’t matter. Nothing contradicts the original Sulu being gay/bi as well.

  15. Tony Lang says:

    Much Odo about nothing…

  16. Simon Pegg is simply correcting an oversight in previous Star Trek shows and films by having one of the main characters be a member of the LGBT community. Roddenberry stated several times he wanted to do it but faced resistance from the ‘powers that be’ at Paramount. Other showrunners since Roddenberry have stated they wish they had introduced a GLBT character and they feel they did a disservice to the Humanistic philosophy of the franchise by not being more inclusive, Pegg has righted that wrong with having Sulu’s sexuality being shown as just another aspect of his multifaceted personality in Beyond. We already know that Kirk is a horndog in any universe/reality and no one questions it or claims that Star Trek is shoving the heterosexual male agenda down anyone’s throat. It is just an aspect of who he is as a sentient being. I applaud Pegg for making this move as it embraces the Philosophy of IDIC that forms the core of the Star Trek universe. LLAP!

  17. Tony Lang says:

    Much Odo about nothing…

  18. Gail says:

    At the beginning of the film Star Trek- Generations ( the one where Kirk died – spoiler alert)
    it was revealed that Sulu had a daughter. In the new movie it is also revealed he has a daughter. Not much has changed.

  19. Couch Mom says:

    I understand and appreciate both viewpoints. I am and will always be a Star Trek fan.

  20. keenen says:

    Everyone has a right to their opinion. Takei was just expressing his, and I bet he was asked. What not Chekov or some other character? I think the alternate universe, etc. was ruined when they had cameos from Nimoy. If they wanted to be separate, then don’t have actors from the previous versions appear.

  21. lauren says:

    Zachary doesn’t need to thrown shade at George, his opinion is his own. All the original cast ‘owned’ their characters for me they will always be the REAL Star Trek, remembered for generations. Not a single one is as good as the original except Dr. MCCoy who is perfect.

    Let’s be honest, reboots are about making a fun movie and a ton of money, not something innovative and iconic like an original series or movie anyway.

  22. Goldenvibefan says:

    Dumb idea.

  23. Progress (?) says:

    Gay man with a daughter… why? Next thing you know, Spock will be Latino and Kirk will be really obese. Then they’ll add a YA Mary Sue just to make sure all of the demographics are covered, or else risk being accused of not being politically correct.

    • MichelleR says:

      Have you seen Shatner in the last several decades? We’ve long incorporated the thought of Kirk as corpulent.

    • Anna says:

      Why not? There gay men with daughters all over the country, so it’s also portrayed in media. That’s how life works, hon.

  24. Chiguy says:

    I don’t overall have a problem with adding an aspect to an existing character (which is all this is), but the problem I have is that Mr. Pegg and the other writers had the courtesy to ask Mr. Takei about this before everything started and he requested they not do that and they still did it anyways. What was the point of asking for his blessing if you’re just going to ignore it?

  25. Ben Talos says:

    Star Trek is supposed to be entertainment for children. Its about time film makers stopped pushing their own agenda and left sexuality out of movies that will be mostly watched by children.

    • Jim says:

      Have you ever even seen Star Trek?

    • bethbuck says:

      Ummm…No it is NOT for children. I think you need to watch the TOS, TNG DS9…

    • Dysturbed says:

      You must be from an alternate timeline cause in the one that the rest of us live in, it isn’t “entertainment for children”, rather it’s entertainment that children may like, but not entertainment that is specifically geared towards them like for some reason believe.

    • Luka says:

      The Original Series was always, above everything else, a commentary on social issues. An attitude which continued on through all the shows and most movies.

  26. Terry says:

    I could not care less if he is gay or straight. I just hope we have a good movie. Why do we have to call attention to a character’s sexuality in a movie, be it gay or straight. How about he or she is just a human being in the context of the story.

    • Luka says:

      Until it becomes a non-issue, it’s something that needs to be adressed. The very fact it becomes such an issue every time there’s a gay character, means it should be made an issue, ironically.

  27. Tina Fey says:

    Who the fook cares what either of these guys have to say about it?!?! They are only the actors, they don’t have the right to be disappointed by what a character you are portraying or have portrayed…unless they also wrote the character as gay. Just stfu already, girls!

  28. DV says:

    Takei has always had a bug up his butt about being treated the same as Shatner and Nimoy in regards to input to character development. That’s all this is about honestly. “They would never do this to Shatner or Nimoy”. By “this” I mean change a character without his expressed written consent. They went over him (it’s not owned by him anyway) and now he’s mad. This is an ego thing plain and simple. He’s long been a difficult one if he didn’t get his way with a character (which is why Sulu has a daughter at all) and now he can’t hold the creators hostage and threaten to not appear in a movie if he doesn’t get his way so he’s mad.

  29. The piling on of the original Sulu brings to mind an iconic phrase that is ‘ironic’ of the typical Lineral mantra of calling for freedom of expression, but only when they are the ones doing the preaching–ear, expressing:

    “You will be assimilated.”

    Rodenberry’s Trek ‘Universe’ was one free of all disease and human mutations. Homosexuality as a lifestyle is a choice: But that choice is driven and influenced by a genetic mutation of certain dormant va dominant genes (albeit some homosexuals are due to environmental human abuse). Procreation is an extension of a lifeform’s survival and homosexuality does not provide for that.

    Devout homosexual Quinto’s (aka Abrhams’ Continuity) is the same universe whose timeline is altered by Spock’s (ironically) time travel disruptive event. Therefore Abrhams’ Sulu was not homosexual since it was they have a the original’s timeline up to the event.

    Time travel is tricky. You can’t just mix-match the rules to best fit your current liberal biases (aka insanities)….

    • no offense but you really have no idea what you are talking about. you lose every bit if credibility when you use the word choice and mutation when talking about lgbtq…at best you are getting your info from a wacked out religious bigot at worst you are spouting fiction in hopes to elevate your low self-esteem. 1) no one would choose to be gay or transgender, in a lot of cases we lose everyone we care about including family. just try imagining you CHOOSING to be gay. 2) homosexuality exists all across nature as long as science has been observing different species..

      • E. D. Boddy says:

        “No offense,” but when you say “religious bigot,” you are at best a parrot spewing cliches. The orientation isn’t a choice, but the lifestyle IS (as is every lifestyle). And as a gay man (who didn’t choose it, and would never choose it), I was hoping by the 23rd century, they’d have found a cure, and I can enjoy the same pleasures I see everyone else enjoying.

        • Human sexuality is not a disease or defect that needs to be cured. One of the main reasons that people born GLBTQ feel like they need a “cure” is because religion has indoctrinated them to believe it is a sin. Being a gay man and being able to love another man and be married without fear of opprobrium and discrimination is the goal of the inclusive future of Star Trek. The “Gay Lifestyle” is no different from the Heterosexual Lifestyle where consenting adults are free to love who they desire with the negative consequences of religious bigotry. Love is Love is Love is Love and Love is All You Need.

        • You must pity the countless creatures in the wild that have been documented to be gay. It must confuse you about Gods many mistakes. You do realize that God no longer thinks homosexuality an “abomination” right? Just like God no longer considers eating shrimp or pork, cutting your hair, shaving your beard, planting more than 1 crop in a field an abomination. Unless you are a orthodox Jew or a Muslim, then Christians no longer believe in the things Leviticus states. Only the religious bigots, who use one or two verses in the bible to give them a golden ticket to hate and feel better about themselves, want to quote that book. Stick to the New Testament, and what Jesus actually said and you will be a much better person unless you are a hobo looking, linen wearing, vegetarian. Also, good luck with your abstinence, the world will be a much better place knowing that you will not be producing any offspring.

  30. It seems like a gimmick but I could care less.

  31. Bark Star says:

    Its a TREK reboot. When you do a reboot or reimagining, everything is off the table and new. Thats why we had a female Starbuck and that turned out well. So changing the Sulu character for the reboot was perfectly legit, no matter what Takei says. That being said, the whole Abrams TREK reboot is an utter pile of garbage so no one should really care. It doesnt count. In 20 years, no one will remember this. But they will still remember The original TREK and George Takei.

  32. Dan says:

    It was quite clear with everything else going on that they would spoil star trek as well. This new bottom man being on top is destructive.

    And having rights and living free is respected; but do you have to sell it as the norm as well?

  33. DJ Doena says:

    “as we established in the first Star Trek film in 2009, we’ve created an alternate universe”

    That would imply that being gay is a choice (because why would Nero’s arrival change Sulu’s sexual preference?) and give way to those nutjobs who try to teach you not to be gay.

  34. I’m disappointed it took until the third film.

  35. Paul says:

    Sulu’s sexuality wasn’t explored in great detail in the original series or the movies, because he’s a minor character and that kind of thing wasn’t a topic for television in 1966-1969. However, there were hints, and they suggested a heterosexual orientation.

    Quinto’s right that they created an alternate universe, but this still seems… unnecessary. Like it’s being done so they can say, “Look! We have a gay character!” That kind of tokenism seems more offensive than ignoring the issue, like they’re following trends because they want to be the cool kid. Agenda-driven writing is usually subpar.

    Of course, we don’t know whether Sulu’s sexuality is a plot point or just something bolted on. If it’s germane to the plot that might change things.

    • Luka says:

      There were plenty of straight relationships in Star Trek. Why can’t a gay relationship be just another relationship?

      • I love the Star Trek universe but I understand that it is not real but rather a work of science fiction. Roddenberry had an optimistic, inclusive view of humanity’s future in the 23rd Century. Star Trek shows us what can be possible if we follow Roddenberry’s path as a species. It doesn’t matter if Sulu was straight, gay, bi or pansexual in TOS. In the JJ Verse, the characters are similar to TOS but different in many ways because the writers are exploring it from the perspective of the early 21st Century which has different cultural and social issues than we faced in the mid-to-late 60s. Presenting a beloved Star Trek character as being Gay without making a big deal out of it is like when Roddenberry put Uhura on the bridge as an officer during the racial tension and unrest of the 60s. They never made a big deal about her race (except for President Lincoln that one time) because, by the 23rd Century, African-American women had earned the right and respect to be there without comment. Now we want to see that happen for our GLBTQ brothers and sisters who face discrimination, bigotry and oppression despite recent advances in our laws. Thus JJ Verse is following Roddenberry’s lead in being inclusive, in this case, showing that a gay man is nothing unusual, weird or strange in the 23rd Century. That’s the future I want to see come to fruition as a Star Trek fan.

  36. jooshua says:

    I liked the idea of it until Zachary Quinto just reminded me that it’s an alternate universe. If Sulu was clearly heterosexual in the original series it seems to imply that a certain set of circumstances or events could make someone gay instead of being born that way. I don’t think I like that..

    • Luka says:

      Sulu wasn’t clearly anything in TOS. It just never came up.
      Also, Sulu was born in 2030, while the alternate timeline started in 2033. So, that part is irrelevant.

  37. DRush76 says:

    As for our alternate universe Trek of today, the first was fun, the second meh, and I felt the same about our new Star Wars too, too much a copy of the original story with just a switch in characters, that take the hit, not up to Genes original bloodlines. Maybe streaming Trek will be our new wonder!

    The first movie was riddled with plot holes and the second movie had a stupid beginning and finale. As for Sulu being gay, I have memories of him being straight. If Pegg and the other filmmakers wanted a gay character that badly, why didn’t they simply create a new character?

  38. I’m with Takei on this one, they’re turning a work of Fiction, into a Real-Life Soap, which is damaging, because if we can’t differentiate between fiction, and reality, the World gets messed up….. just look around you.

  39. Eric says:

    i think that george is right, if he didn’t come out as gay in his public life would this had be done it’s a shame that this generation doesn’t respect there elders meaning that gene R created this not you so why would you change it i think that is disrespectful and if george played sulu and he telling you that not right and you don’t listen that disrespect like he said create another new character i’m glad the gene r. is not here to see what you have done to his life work

  40. judi says:

    What???? Since when???
    I’m an original fan from the 60’s and this is news to me! Have these guys ever watched the original show or the original movies??? What a shame they are changing the character for their personal 2016 agenda.