Star Trek Beyond writer/actor Simon Pegg pays homage to beloved actor from the series, George Takei, by identifying Mr. Sulu character as gay, according to The Herald Sun.
In an interview with the Australian newspaper, John Cho, who plays modern day Sulu in Star Trek Beyond, said that it was Pegg’s decision to make the character gay. “I liked the approach,” said Cho, “which was not to make a big thing out it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicise one’s personal orientations.”
George Takei portrayed Sulu for three seasons during the Star Trek‘s initial run from 1966-1969. The character’s sexuality was never discussed, but it’s been no secret that Takei himself has been an advocate for the LGBTQ community for years. He even has become one of its most prominent and positive voices for the community. In Star Trek Beyond, viewers will be introduced to Sulu, his partner, and their daughter.
The Star Trek franchise celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. It has continued to break new ground on film and TV — starting with the famous first interracial kiss on American TV. Take dared not reveal his sexuality at the time, however, for fear of ruining his career.
“If I wanted to work as an actor I had to keep it a secret,” Takei told News Corp last year. “Back then I couldn’t marry a white person — that was against the law here, miscegenation. But now I am married to a white dude so we have changed.”
I couldn’t be more happy for Mr. Sulu, arguably my favorite character of all time within the Star Trek series. For those of you who seem “a little displeased” by this news (yes, they are out there), just remember that this is a different time where we are all supposed to be more open-minded than before. Sulu isn’t gay because someone was filling a quota. Sulu is gay because the iconic actor who first brought him to life is gay. Sulu is gay because representation matters. I can’t tell you how many times 10-year-old me’s face lit up every time she saw an Asian actor on screen (which we still need to work on, guys). Just think how many more young Asian and/or gay faces will light up knowing an iconic character from their favorite series is just like them.
It’s about not feeling so alone in the world, after all.