Mr Sulu will be gay in the upcoming Star Trek movie say producers, much to the chagrin of original Sulu, openly-gay George Takei.
Takei told The Hollywood Reporter that Star Trek Beyond’s writers – which include Simon Pegg who plays Scotty in the rebooted franchise – had decided to make Sulu gay as a nod to his work as an LGBT activist.
Star Trek Beyond will feature a scene in which Sulu is pictured raising a child with a male spouse.
However, Takei said he thought the decision was “unfortunate”. “I’m delighted that there’s a gay character,” he told the publication.
“Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s creation, into which he put so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.”
The 79 year-old said he found out about the decision when actor John Cho, who has played Sulu since 2009, called him to share the good news. “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.'”
He said he felt strongly that a character who came of age in the 23rd century would never be in the closet anyway, and so to suddenly ‘out’ a straight character might give viewers the wrong impression.
Takei also pointed out the confusing logistics of suddenly making a character who has already been established as straight (by dint of a one-night stand with a glamazon resulting in subsequent offspring, Demora), gay.
As The Hollywood Reports explains: the rebooted trilogy takes place before the action of the original 1968 series. So, assuming canon orthodoxy, this storyline suggest Sulu would have had to have first been gay and married, only to then go into the closet years later.
Takei said he was disappointed that Pegg (who sent him an email praising him as a “great guy”) had decided to ignore his advice. “I really tried to work with these people when at long last the issue of gay equality was going to be addressed,” Takei said.
“I thought after that conversation with Justin [Lin, director] 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.”
Star Trek Beyond hits cinemas on July 22.
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