George Takei is not thrilled that John Cho’s iteration of Sulu in Star Trek: Beyond will be revealed as gay. Apparently, Takei -- whi played Sulu in the original Star Trek series -- found out when Cho called him to announce the news. Can you imagine how that conversation went?
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Takei shared his disappointment, explaining that Star Trek’s creator Gene Rodenberry put a great deal of care and consideration into all his characters. Though he was a supporter of LGBT rights, he intended for Sulu to be a heterosexual man with a child named Demora from a one-night stand with a Glamazon. He says he tried to explain to Cho his problem with the decision, “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 also seems frustrated with Sulu of the new franchise appearing closeted, since he himself had to hide his sexuality for so many years. He encouraged creators to be imaginative, saying, “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 thought his advice had been heard when he received a warm letter from cast member Simon Pegg, but John Cho contacted him again to say he was going on a press tour, and Sulu’s sexuality was bound to come up. Takei was shocked and upset, saying, ”I really tried to work with these people when at long last the issue of gay equality was going to be addressed… 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."
Though he is disappointed by the decision, he is still glad there will be a gay character in Star Trek. He also wouldn’t mind making a cameo in future movies, “maybe an alien creature who sounds like me. That should be fun.”