Did you hear? The upcoming Star Trek Beyond is kinda gay.
Apparently, the powers that be have decided to make John Cho’s Hikaru Sulu a homosexual in the timeline of the rebooted property, in homage to George Takei, the OG portrayer of the character (and himself an openly gay man). Alas, Takei ain’t feeling it.
During production, the actor reportedly urged Cho, as well as new-to-the-franchise director Justin Lin and co-writer and co-star Simon Pegg, not to go against the vision of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and instead to “be imaginative and create a [new] character who has a history of being gay, rather than [having] Sulu suddenly being revealed as being closeted.”
Pegg, for his part, respectfully disagrees with Takei, whom he calls an inspiration for his heart, courage, and humor.
“We could have introduced a new gay character, but he or she would have been primarily defined by their sexuality rather than simply for who they are, and isn’t that tokenism?”
And, hey, perhaps, Roddenberry might have envisioned Sulu as gay, and approved of Takei’s casting knowing full well that he was a friend of Dorothy and bound to come when the time was right.
Food for thought, if you ask moi.
Star Trek Beyond is due out on July 22.
Update: Check out the follow-up from Takei, who says he understands and appreciates the change to the sexuality of Sulu...while maintaining his stance on the matter.