George Takei was none too happy when he learned his longtime Star Trek character Sulu would be outed as gay in last summer’s Star Trek: Beyond – even if it was an homage to him personally.
Yet, as CBS All Access ramps up production of its new series, Star Trek: Discovery, the 79-year-old actor has nothing but good things to say about how a gay character will be introduced to that series.
He recently told a group of fans, according to Variety, that he’s “eager to see” Anthony Rapp, the openly gay actor who reportedly will portray a gay science officer in the new series.
Still, he has some hard feelings against Beyond for making Sulu gay, especially since he feels it slaps Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry in the face.
“They said it was a tribute to me, so I appreciate that part. But now Gene is really going to be honored by Star Trek: Discovery by having that original character, played by a wonderfully talented actor. I think it is the way it should’ve been done.”
Rapp will play Lt. Stamets, a fungus expert aboard the Discovery who shares his name with real-life fungus expert Paul Stamets, who lives in Washington state just outside one of the major rainforests there. While former showrunner Bryan Fuller in the past confirmed there will be a regular gay character in the new series, CBS has never confirmed that Stamets is indeed that character, although it is the most likely.
“When I was informed they were making Sulu gay, I said, ‘It’s wonderful that they can deal with the gay issue. But honor Gene. It’s not about me. It’s about Gene’s vision, and respect him and respect the characters he created.
“But be as imaginative and creative as Gene was. Create a new character and make him or her gay with the issues he or she might have to deal with in the 23rd century. That would be exciting. That would be paying tribute.”
Discovery, created by Fuller and recent Star Trek reboot film scribe Alex Kurtzman, is set to go into production in late winter starring Rapp, Sonequa Martin-Green and Doug Jones among others. It’s described as a prequel series that takes place in the “Prime Universe,” that is the one established in previous Star Trek series, and not the reboot universe of the last three films.
It’s said to take place before the original Star Trek series, but after the events of Star Trek: Enterprise, the last series to air, which ended its run in 2005.
The series will debut in May, first on CBS, and then with subsequent episodes on the network’s subscription streaming service, CBS All Access.
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