It came as a surprise to many when George Takei revealed he wasn’t a fan of Sulu, the character he played in the original “Star Trek” series, would be revealed to be gay in the upcoming film, “Star Trek Beyond.”
“I think it’s really unfortunate,” he explained. While Takei, who came out in 2005, is pleased there will be a gay character in the “Star Trek” universe, he’s not a fan of changing a longstanding canon within the franchise. “Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought.”
Takei is certainly entitled to his opinion, but it is not one that the cast of “Beyond” necessarily agrees with — especially stars Zachary Quinto and Simon Pegg.
“As a member of the LGBT community myself, I was disappointed by the fact that George was disappointed,” Quinto says during an interview with Pedestrian.TV. “I get it that he’s has had his own personal journey and has his own personal relationship with this character but, you know, as we established in the first ‘Star Trek’ film in 2009, we’ve created an alternate universe.”
Meanwhile, Pegg — who also cowrote the movie’s screenplay — says in a statement, “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.”
Instead, Pegg believe that it’s important for a character so engrained in the “Star Trek” universe to be portrayed as gay, compared to a brand new character.
“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?,” he says.
“Their sexual orientation is just one of many personal aspects, not the defining characteristic,” Pegg continues, “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’s just hasn’t come up before.”
“Star Trek Beyond” is in theaters July 22.