Sulu is boldly going where no Star Trek character has gone before. John Cho, who plays the role in the rebooted franchise, revealed in a new interview that Sulu will be openly gay in the upcoming Star Trek Beyond movie. The change is meant as a nod to George Takei, who originated the part and is openly gay himself, but Takei isn’t exactly crazy about the idea.
The Star Trek alum and LGBT activist spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the news on Thursday, July 7, saying it strays from creator Gene Roddenberry‘s original vision for Hikaru Sulu.
“I’m delighted that there’s a gay character,” Takei, 79, told THR. “Unfortunately it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.”
The social media guru, who came out in 2005, first learned about the development last year from Cho. He reportedly tried to persuade the actor, as well as writer Simon Pegg and director Justin Lin, to change their plans and make a new character gay instead.
“I said, ‘This movie is going to be coming out on the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, the 50th anniversary of paying tribute to Gene Roddenberry, the man whose vision it was carried us through half a century,'” Takei recalled to THR, adding that he “urged” the team to heed his advice to “honor” the late producer.
Cho, for one, had only good things to say about Sulu’s sexual orientation and how it’s handled in the film. He told Australia’s Herald Sun, “I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out of it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicize one’s personal orientations.”