(NEW YORK) — As a “nod” to the sexuality of the actor who originally portrayed him, George Takei, it appears Star Trek‘s USS Enterprise helmsman, Hikaru Sulu, as portrayed by John Cho in the rebooted sci-fi film series, is gay.
“I liked the approach,” Cho told Australia’s Herald Sun of how the character’s background was referenced in the upcoming Star Trek Beyond, “which was not to make a big thing out of it.”
The actor said it reflects “where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicize one’s personal orientations.” Cho mentions Sulu has a same-sex partner with whom he’s raising a daughter.
For his part, however, Takei’s not entirely pleased, believing the decision isn’t faithful to creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision. He tells The Hollywood Reporter, “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 says he stated his opposition when both Cho and director Justin Lin informed him Sulu would be gay in the new Star Trek film. He says he told Cho, “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.”
Recalling his conversation with Lin, he reveals to The Hollywood Reporter, “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.”
Star Trek Beyond opens July 22.
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