Yesterday, the Star Trek fandom was not only shocked and surprised to learn that not only was Star Trek Beyond going to reveal John Cho’s Sulu to be gay, with a male partner and their child, but even more so when George Takei, the original actor to play Sulu and who is openly gay himself, called the decision “unfortunate,” saying he wished that the filmmakers had chosen to introduce a new gay character, rather than “twisting” Gene Roddenberry’s original vision.
One of the film’s stars and its co-writer, who helped come up with the idea in the first place, Simon Pegg, commented on the news this morning in response to Takei’s disappointment, and it looks like another Beyond cast member is disappointed in Takei’s reaction as well.
While speaking with Pedestrian.tv, Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock in the new films and is also a member of the LGBT community himself, shared his thoughts on Takei’s response to the news:
“I find as a member of the LGBT community myself, I was disappointed by the fact that George was disappointed. I get it that he’s had his own personal relationship with this character, but, you know, as we established in the first Star Trek film in 2009, we’ve created an alternate universe. And my hope is that eventually George can be strengthened by the enormously positive response from especially young people, who are heartened by and inspired by this really tasteful and beautiful portrayal of something that I think is gaining acceptance and inclusion in our societies across the world — and should be.”
I think the only thing that’s really inaccurate that Takei said, is that this version of Sulu would be coming out of the closet in the film, since as both Quinto and Pegg have pointed out now, the character was never in the closet in the first place, and this is just the first time the audience is seeing or hearing about it. With that being said, I can understand Takei’s wishes that they had introduced a new gay character rather than “changing” an original character to be gay.
On the other hand, Pegg did bring up a great point that they were looking to avoid defining a new character by just that one trait, which they inevitably would have been. I imagine that as the press tour for Beyond continues in the coming weeks though, we’re going to hear a lot more about this topic from all of the cast members probably and the creative team as well, so I don’t think this is the last we’ve heard about this news.
Star Trek Beyond is set to hit theatres on July 22nd.
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