The writers of the new Star Trek: Beyond film have decided to make Sulu gay in an apparent tribute to George Takei, the original actor to play the character and who is, as some would say, "super gay." The only problem is, Takei thinks it's a terrible idea and dishonors Star Trek's creator Gene Roddenberry's work.
“I’m delighted that there’s a gay character. Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate," Takei told The Hollywood Reporter.
After learning about the big change last year from actor John Cho, Takei tried to convince him not to do it.
“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,'” said Takei. “I said, ‘This movie is going to be coming out on the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, the 50th anniversary of paying tribute to Gene Roddenberry, the man whose vision it was carried us through half a century. Honor him and create a new character. I urged them. He left me feeling that that was going to happen."
But the modern cast members of course think Takei is wrong.
Simon Pegg, who plays the new Scotty and also co-wrote the screenplay, wrote in a statement to The Guardian, “I have huge love and respect for George Takei, his heart, courage and humor are an inspiration. However, with regards to his thoughts on our Sulu, I must respectfully disagree with him. He’s right, it is unfortunate, it’s unfortunate that the screen version of the most inclusive, tolerant universe in science fiction hasn’t featured an LGBT character until now. We could have introduced a new gay character, but he or she would have been primarily defined by their sexuality, seen as the ‘gay character’, rather than simply for who they are, and isn’t that tokenism?”
Pegg added that he, the director Justin Lin, and actor John Cho, chose to make Sulu gay precisely because he is a well-known and beloved character.
“(His) sexual orientation is just one of many personal aspects, not the defining characteristic," he explained. "Also, the audience would infer that there has been an LGBT presence in the Trek Universe from the beginning (at least in the Kelvin timeline), that a gay hero isn’t something new or strange. It’s also important to note that at no point do we suggest that our Sulu was ever closeted, why would he need to be? It just hasn’t come up before.”
Pegg said that Sulu being gay also appealed to the film's creative team because "it suggests that in a hypothetical multiverse, across an infinite matrix of alternate realities, we are all LGBT somewhere."
Zachary Quinto, who plays the new Spock was also not pleased with Takei's comments. In a panel interview(below) that includes Chris Pine (Captain Kirk), John Cho (Sulu), and Karl Urban (Bones), Quinto said that, "As a member of the LGBT community myself, I was disappointed by the fact that George was disappointed" ....