While George Takei is "delighted that there’s a gay character" in upcoming film Star Trek Beyond, he doesn't think it's the right path for Hikaru Sulu.
Takei, who played the original Sulu, recently divulged to The Hollywood Reporter that, "Unfortunately, [making Sulu gay] is a twisting of [Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's] creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate."
When actor John Cho, who portrays modern-day Sulu, told Herald Sun that Star Trek was getting its first ever LGBT character, there was mixed public reaction. For Takei, however, the move was 100 percent wrong.
As THR points out, "assuming canon orthodoxy, this storyline suggests Sulu would have had to have first been gay and married, only to then go into the closet years later."
Takei remains openly opposed to the decision, dedicated to authenticity of Roddenbery's original creation:
"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. Honor him and create a new character.' I urged them. He left me feeling that that was going to happen," he said.
Months later, 79-year-old Takei received an e-mail from Cho asking Takei "What should he do?" during his upcoming tour, as it was likely it would come out that his character was gay. Takei was disappointed that director Justin Lin had gone ahead with the decision.
"I really tried to work with these people when at long last the issue of gay equality was going to be addressed," Takei explained to THR.
On the bright side, introducing an LGBT character to a franchise as momentous as Star Trek is a bold, progressive move with the potential to do some serious good.
"I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out it," Cho told the Herald, "which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicize one’s personal orientations."
Star Trek Beyond hits theaters July 22.