John Cho portrays Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek Beyond feature premiering July 22.
By Ed Diokno
George Takei, who originated the role of Hikaru Sulu of the Star Trek franchise, is disappointed that the current incarnation of the Sulu character is going to be revealed as gay with a spouse and a child.
He feels that the character was envisioned as a heterosexual by creator Gene Roddenberry. “Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate,” said Takei in an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
According to news.com.au
, during a promotional visit to Sydney, Australia two days ago, actor John Cho, who portrays Sulu in the upcoming motion picture, Star Trek Beyond
, revealed that Sulu, the USS Enterprise’s helmsman, would be portrayed as a gay father.
Cho told Takei of this turn in the Sulu character to Takei about a year ago, Takei told THR. Takei urged Cho to tell director Justin Lin not to change the character that Takei help shaped in the original TV Star Trek. He suggested to Cho that the writers be creative and introduce a gay character, but let Sulu continue as a heterosexual.
In a subsequent conversation with director Justin Lin, Takei repeated his concerns.
The Star Trek bible does point out that in the 1994 film of Star Trek, the seventh in the franchise, Sulu’s daughter Demora made an appearance.
The only other reference to Sulu’s daughter was in a the 1995 Star Trek novel The Captain’s Daughter. “It was, to put it crudely, a one-night stand with a glamazon,” Takei explains. “A very athletic, powerful and stunningly gorgeous woman. That’s Demora’s mother.”
It was about a month ago that Cho emailed Takei that despite his strong objections, the writer and director decided to continue with their original idea, which, ironically, they apparently thought as an homage to Takei.
“I liked the approach, (taken in the movie) which was not to make a big thing out it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicize one’s personal orientations,” said Cho.
If I wanted to work as an actor I had to keep it a secret,” Takei told News Corp last year. “Back then I couldn’t marry a White person — that was against the law here, miscegenation. But now I am married to a white dude so we have changed.”
Throughout the years, “Oh, my!” with its many variations, has become the actor’s catchphrase. Takei explains here.
Star Trek, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016, is one of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time. The original Star Trek spawned a dozen feature films and five successful television series. Almost half a century later, the Star Trek television series are licensed on a variety of different platforms in more than 190 countries, and the franchise still generates more than a billion social media impressions every month. In 2017, Star Trek will return to television on CBS in a highly anticipated series with a brand new cast and new characters.