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There's been a lot of news surrounding the reveal that Hikaru Sulu is gay in the Kelvin Timeline of Star Trek films. Sulu actor John Cho stated that Star Trek Beyond would show Sulu with his husband and their child, which has been met with somewhat controversial responses. George Takei, who originated the role Sulu in the original series and is himself a gay man, voiced his displeasure over the change. Simon Pegg, co-writer of the screenplay and one of the people who came up with the idea, politely disagreed with Takei. Now Spock actor Zachary Quinto is getting into the mix, and he wishes Takei saw it differently.
Yesterday Sulu became the first openly gay character in all of Star Trek. And while George Takei is proud that homosexuality is being represented in a series known for being inclusive, he felt that it would have been better to create an original gay character. Making Sulu gay, a character who was historically heterosexual, he argued was an unnecessary twist on Gene Roddenberry's original vision. Zachary Quinto, who is also a member of the LGBT community, disagrees. Speaking with Pedestrian.TV, Quinto said that any positive showing of gay characters in film is a good thing.
As a member of the LGBT community myself, I was disappointed by the fact that George was disappointed. I get it that he's has had his own personal journey and has his own personal relationship with this character but, you know, as we established in the first Star Trek film in 2009, we've created an alternate universe. My hope is that eventually George can be strengthened by the enormously positive response from especially young people who are heartened by and inspired by this really tasteful and beautiful portrayal of something that I think is gaining acceptance and inclusion in our societies across the world, and should be.
Both men make good points, and no one is really "wrong" in this argument. Zachary Quinto does make a good argument, stating that the Kelvin Sulu is different from the classic version and it doesn't affect the original series in any way (but try explaining that to a casual fan). The "reveal" of Sulu's sexuality is not supposed to be a big deal, and is simply a part of his personal life when he's not piloting a spaceship. There also seems to be a misunderstanding that Sulu is coming out of the closet, but as far as the movies are concerned, he was never in the closet to begin with. His sexuality was just never brought up before because Sulu was never a very big focus in the films.
This comes right after the comments Simon Pegg made defending the decision. Pegg argued that, while introducing a new character who happens to be gay is a great thing to do, that character might have been defined by his or her sexuality, rather than their actual character. It made more sense to Pegg to reveal a pre-existing character is gay so that the audience is "unaffected by any prejudice."
It's always nice to see people in the industry who disagree with each other, but are still polite and respectful. Star Trek Beyond is directed by Justin Lin and will be arriving in theaters very soon on July 22.