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George Takei On Sulu Being Gay: It’s Really Unfortunate

George Takei On Sulu Being Gay: It's Really Unfortunate

Start Trek‘s original Hikaru Sulu, George Takei isn’t thrilled about the character, now played by John Cho, being gay in Star Trek Beyond?

The news broke on Thursday, coming out of the film’s Australian premiere in Sydney and the internet was a buzz with discussion about the change within the “Kelvin timeline“. While the general reaction was very positive to the news, George Takei, who has been openly gay since the mid-2000s, told the Hollywood Reporter that he’d prefer the character to have stayed straight.

“I’m delighted that there’s a gay character,” Takei said. “Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.”

Takei said he’d prefer a new character be created.

“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 recalled telling John Cho during a phone call where he revealed the news.

Following the call from John Cho, came another, from Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin.

“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,” Takei said.

After an email from Star Trek Beyond writer Simon Pegg, who is credited with coming up with the idea as a tribute, Takei said he was under the impression the decision had been changed.

That is until he received an email from Cho asking for advice on how to handle questions about the character’s sexuality during the film’s press tour.

“I really tried to work with these people when at long last the issue of gay equality was going to be addressed,” the 79-year-old actor said. “I thought after that conversation with Justin that was going to happen. Months later, when I got that email from Simon Pegg, I was kind of confused. He thinks I’m a great guy? Wonderful. But what was the point of that letter? I interpreted that as my words having been heard.”

What do you think about the change to the Sulu character? Should a new LGBT character been created for the film? Tell us in the comments section below.


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  1. Cat Mom of 8

    July 8, 2016 at 9:10 am

    I have less of a problem with Sulu being gay than with Spockhura. 😛 I hope they have broken up for good!

    Just as there wasn’t much evidence that Sulu was gay in TOS, there wasn’t much that he was straight, either. There was that one scene where he and Kevin Riley are talking about going to the gym, but that’s not exactly substantial evidence there.

    • Thomas Payne

      July 8, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      Spock Uhura has precedent though from original series. Apollo supposedly unveilled that there was a secret unacknowledged romance. Unacknowledge due to Vulcan-Human racism as well as military rank prohibitions.

  2. Arron Bubba Ratcliff

    July 8, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    I’m with George on this. I hate how the studios and comic book companies are taking these classic characters with decades of history and are changing them just to suit the progressive social justice warriors. You want inclusive that’s fine Star trek should be about the best things humanity has to offer.Don’t stomp all over everything that came before just so you can virtue signal.You want an openly Homosexual crew men cool go develop one,Create his or her back story and personality their likes and dislikes their hobbies and quarks.Don’t just take an all ready existing Character and say oh now he or she is gay by the way.Simon Pegg being allowed to write this script was probably the worst thing that could have happened to this movie.

    • So Phis Ting

      July 15, 2016 at 4:41 pm

      What evidence do you have that Sulu was ever straight in TOS?

      • Stray8

        July 16, 2016 at 1:08 am

        His wife and children.

      • Truth Betold

        August 15, 2022 at 9:07 pm

        Takei worked closely with Gene Roddenberry, the author of Star Trek, making him likely the most knowledgeable person in the world on the subject…

  3. Tod Haggerty

    July 8, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    Not a good decision. A new, different character would’ve been better to be introduced as gay. But, then again, this is hardly real, true Star Trek.

  4. Thomas Payne

    July 8, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Yeah violates original concept for PC whim & backhands George’s acting in role as well (gay but played great heterosexual / neutral sexual character).

    Has an potential element of critizing George for not presenting Sulu as more a suspect Gay character originally even though political climate would not have allowed it.

  5. Milo

    July 9, 2016 at 5:57 am

    This might be the best part of this whole story. JJ-Trek writers gay up a long standing chracter to make the original, real life gay actor happy, and he’s not. In fact, he thinks it’s stupid! HAHAHAHA!!! Oh my gosh, that has to sting a bit Pegg.

    The only thing left to make this perfect is for this film to bomb at the box office. With the poor fan reaction to the last film, the uneven reactions to the trailers for this film, the fan outrage over the fan film situation and now this, the controversy over a pop song being added and everything else related to that, how could this film NOT bomb hard at the box office? Oh yeah, and by adding a gay chracter, there will be no save from China this time. Good job Paramount.

    • So Phis Ting

      July 15, 2016 at 4:42 pm

      Check it out on Rotten Tomatoes — getting great reviews

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