Yesterday actor John Cho told reporters that Hikaru Sulu, the character he plays in the rebooted Star Trek franchise, would be revealed as gay in the upcoming Star Trek Beyond. But George Takei, the actor and LGBT activist who originated the role on television, said he thought the decision was “really unfortunate.” According to Takei, series creator Gene Roddenberry intended Sulu to be heterosexual.
Takei told the Hollywood Reporter that he felt the decision to make Sulu gay was “a twisting of Gene’s creation.” He said he had suggested to director Justin Lin that a new gay character be created instead.
But screenwriter Simon Pegg, who also plays Scotty in the rebooted franchise, told the Guardian that creating a new gay character for the franchise wouldn’t have been a good decision.
“I have huge love and respect for George Takei, his heart, courage and humour are an inspiration,” Pegg wrote in a statement. “However, with regards to his thoughts on our Sulu, I must respectfully disagree with him.”
Pegg said he agreed with Takei that it was unfortunate that the Star Trek franchise had not yet featured an LGBT character. However, he said, creating one simply to include a gay character would have been a mistake.
“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,’” Pegg wrote.
Pegg also argued that Roddenberry’s decision to make every member of the Enterprise bridge crew straight wasn’t an artistic one. It was, Pegg contended, “more a necessity of the time.” And he pointed out that since the rebooted franchise takes place in an alternate timeline, Cho’s Sulu could be gay while Takei’s could remain straight.
“Whatever magic ingredient determines our sexuality was different for Sulu in our timeline,” Pegg wrote. “I like this idea because it suggests that in a hypothetical multiverse, across an infinite matrix of alternate realities, we are all LGBT somewhere.”