With gay pride in full swing throughout the country (especially following the massacre at the LGBT club Pulse in Orlando, FL last month, it seems odd to many that gay activist George Takei has voiced his displeasure over the fact that writers of the new Star Trek movie have decided to change the sexual orientation of Mr. Sulu.
News of the shift was revealed last week by actor John Cho (who has taken on the role in the rebooted series), who stated that, although it has already been established in the film “Generations” that Hikaru Sulu has a daughter, it will (casually) be mentioned in the soon to be released “Star Trek Beyond” he is in a same-sex relationship.
He also told Australia’s Herald Sun that the decision to make the character gay was actually done as a sort of tribute to Takei by director Justin Lin and screenwriter Simon Pegg (who plays Scotty in the rebooted series).
“I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicize one’s personal orientations,” stated Cho, who is married in real life to actress Kerri Higuchi and has an 8-year old son and 3-year old daughter.
While Takei, who originated the character in both the original 1960’s TV series and subsequent movies, iterated that he’s “ thrilled to have a gay character in the ‘Star Trek’ world, he would have preferred that the writers would have created a new character, rather than “twisting Roddenberry’s original creation.
Reaction to the news has been mixed, and many fans are waiting to see how it plays out on screen before coming to any conclusion. At the same time, actor Zachary Quinto (Spock) has joined Pegg in stating that he “respectfully disagrees” with Takei, and is, in fact, rather “disappointed in his reaction as an openly gay man, himself,” As an actor, however, he and Lt. Nyota Uhura have an ongoing romance aboard the Enterprise.
“I find as a member of the LGBT community myself, I was disappointed by the fact that George was disappointed,” Quinto told Pedestrian.TV. “I get it that he’s had his own personal relationship with this character, but, you know, as we established in the first Star Trek film in 2009, we’ve created an alternate universe.
And 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.”
Note: “Star Trek Beyond” opens in theaters July 22.