Earlier today, we reported that actor John Cho, who plays Mr. Sulu in the reboot of the Star Trek franchise, said that Sulu is revealed to be gay in the upcoming film Star Trek Beyond.
The character development was done as a nod to out actor, activist, and television icon George Takei, who played Sulu in the original series. Simon Pegg, who wrote the new screenplay and plays Scotty in the new films, and director Justin Lin thought Takei would be thrilled with the news.
But that’s not the case. Takei told The Hollywood Reporter:
“I’m delighted that there’s a gay character. Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene [Roddenberry]’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.”
Takei first learned of Sulu’s recent same-sex leanings last year, when Cho called him to reveal the big news. Takei tried to convince him to make a new character gay instead. “I told him, ‘Be imaginative and create a character who has a history of being gay, rather than Sulu, who had been straight all this time, suddenly being revealed as being closeted.'” (Takei had enough negative experiences inside the Hollywood closet, he says, and strongly feels a character who came of age in the 23rd century would never find his way inside one.)
His timeline logic, however, is enough to befuddle even the most diehard of Trek enthusiasts, as the rebooted trilogy takes place before the action of the original series. In other words, assuming canon orthodoxy, this storyline suggest Sulu would have had to have first been gay and married, only to then go into the closet years later.
Takei said that after conversations with Cho, Pegg, and Lin about his opposition to making the character gay, he had been left with the idea that he had convinced them it was a bad idea, and that they were going in another direction.