George Takei Unimpressed with New Gay Sulu

Posted by Kelli on July 8, 2016

George Takei 

Don’t assume that, just because George Takei is out and proud that he wants his Star Trek character to also be gay. It has taken some fans by surprise that the iconic role of Hikaru Sulu, which Takei first portrayed on the original television series, will be a member of the LGBT community in the upcoming film.


The news came after John Cho, who has taken on the role in the rebooted film series, let it slip during an interview with Australia’s Herald Sun. He’s not just being rewritten as gay, however – Sulu is going to have a full-blown same-sex relationship in Star Trek Beyond.


So what does 79-year-old Takei think of this? “I think it’s really unfortunate,” he said. “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.”


How would he know? He claims to have pitched the idea to Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry himself back in 1968. While his suggestion may have been denied, Takei made it clear that it wasn’t because Roddenberry had an issue with homosexuality.


“He was a strong supporter of LGBT equality,” Takei explained, “but he said he has been pushing the envelope and walking a very tight rope – and if he pushed too hard, the show would not be on the air.”


Fair enough.


Meanwhile, Cho says that he’s very much in support of the new storyline.  The 44-year-old Harold and Kumar actor said: “I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out [of] it. [This] is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicize one’s personal orientations.”


Funny enough, writer/actor, Simon Pegg, is said to have modified the character to honor Takei who, unfortunately, is not overly impressed. Takei feels that they should have created a whole new character instead of changing Sulu.


Takei explained: “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.’ 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’s got a point. It was already catastrophic to some fans that J.J. Abrams left the franchise for Star Wars so Simon Pegg should have really done his best not to rock the boat too much. If he got advice from a veteran of the show, especially from someone as beloved as George Takei, he probably should have listened.


The actor also made a hugely important point. The current films take place before the events of the original series. Are we to believe that Sulu was out, proud, gay and married and then went back into the closet? Doesn’t make sense.


Sigh. I guess we will just have to see how it all pans out.
Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage

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