In a surprising “Oh myyyyyyyy” turn of events openly gay actor and gay rights activist George Takei in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, has said that he’s glad they’re adding a gay character to the upcoming Star Trek Beyond but not so glad that it was the character he created in the original Star Trek series, Mr. Sulu.
“I’m delighted that there’s a gay character. Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate … 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.”
Simon Pegg, who co-scripted Star Trek Beyond, begs to differ though.
“I have huge love and respect for George Takei, his heart, courage and humor are an inspiration,” Pegg begins. “However, with regards to his thoughts on our Sulu, I must respectfully disagree with him.”
Speaking specifically upon Takei’s issue of wanting and preferring a new LGBT character for Trek, Pegg elaborated, saying:
“He’s right, it is unfortunate, it’s unfortunate that the screen version of the most inclusive, tolerant universe in science fiction hasn’t featured an LGBT character until now. 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?”
“Justin Lin, Doug Jung and I loved the idea of it being someone we already knew because the audience have a pre-existing opinion of that character as a human being, unaffected by any prejudice. Their sexual orientation is just one of many personal aspects, not the defining characteristic. 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.” Pegg continues:. “Our Trek is an alternate timeline with alternate details. Whatever magic ingredient determines our sexuality was different for Sulu in our timeline. I like this idea because it suggests that in a hypothetical multiverse, across an infinite matrix of alternate realities, we are all LGBT somewhere.
Whatever dimension we inhabit, we all just want to be loved by those we love (and I love George Takei). I can’t speak for every reality but that must surely true of this one. Live long and prosper.”