George Takei has expressed his disappointment that the character he made famous, Sulu, will be gay in the new Star Trek film.
In Star Trek Beyond, Sulu – played by John Cho in the new films – will be shown to have same-sex partner with whom he is raising a daughter.
Cho said the decision by writer Simon Pegg and the director Justin Lin to make Sulu gay was a loving tribute to Takei and a sign of ‘changing times’.
‘I liked the approach, 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,’ Cho told the Herald Sun.
But Takei thinks differently.
‘I’m delighted that there’s a gay character,’ Takei told The Hollywood Reporter. ‘Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.’
He said he objects because the Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry envisioned Sulu as straight – with a daughter named Demora.
‘I told [John Cho], ‘Be imaginative and create a character who has a history of being gay, rather than Sulu, who had been straight all this time, suddenly being revealed as being closeted,’ Takei explained.
However, the gay advocate and actor did admit to asking Roddenberry to convince the writer to create a gay character.
‘[Gene] was a strong supporter of LGBT equality,’ Takei revealed. ‘But he said he has been pushing the envelope and walking a very tight rope [with Star Trek’s famed interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhuru] – and if he pushed too hard, the show would not be on the air.’
Star Trek Beyond is released on 22 July.
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