Last Thursday, Star Trek Beyond actor John Cho stated that the upcoming movie will reveal that his character, USS Enterprise helmsman Hikaru Sulu, is gay. While the creative decision earned praise from many, there were also people who also questioned it, including original Sulu actor George Takei, who would have preferred Sulu been heterosexual and a new character be gay. One of the people who came up with this idea was Star Trek Beyond co-writer Simon Pegg, and while the main reasons for it were to add diversity and pay homage to Takei, the Scotty actor has also turned to quantum physics to explain Sulu's sexuality. Seriously.
In a lengthy post on his website, Pegg talked about how the Kelvin timeline, a.k.a. the continuity the Star Trek reboot movies take place in, isn't beholden to what happened in previous canon, allowing for "new and alternate possibilities" with these characters. For those who cite that Sulu was born before the Kelvin incident in 2009's Star Trek, he said this about time not being linear:
Sure, we experience time as a contiguous series of cascading events but perception and reality aren't always the same thing. Spock's incursion from the Prime Universe created a multidimensional reality shift. The rift in space/time created an entirely new reality in all directions, top to bottom, from the Big Bang to the end of everything. As such this reality was, is and always will be subtly different from the Prime Universe.
Because of these changes in reality, Simon Pegg added that the new movies don't have to follow the Prime Universe (a.k.a. the original Star Trek continuity) the same way whether in the past, present or future. Sure, there will always be plenty of similarities between the new movies and the Original Series, but this alternate universe allows new ideas to be explored, including highlighting (or changing, depending on your viewpoint) the sexuality of one of their lead players. Pegg continued about this new universe:
...it can mutate and subvert, it is a playground for the new and the progressive and I know in my heart, that [Star Trek creator] Gene Roddenberry would be proud of us for keeping his ideals alive. Infinite diversity in infinite combinations, this was his dream, that is our dream, it should be everybody's.
So by Simon Pegg's logic, George Takei's version of Sulu could be heterosexual just like the original actor wants, while John Cho's version can live his life as a gay man, and it's all thanks to these ripples in reality. Of course, it's not like making John Cho's Sulu gay was a major change to continuity, even if we did look at him as the same "version" as Takei's. Sulu never had an on screen romantic interest in the TV series or first six movies, and even though his daughter was seen in the 1994 movie Star Trek: Generations. As far as Star Trek Beyond is concerned, his sexuality will be causally addressed when he's briefly with his husband and daughter. He'll be with his Enterprise crew members the rest of the time, and their latest adventure will see them trapped on a mysterious planet after their ship is attacked by an alien force led by Krall.
Star Trek Beyond flies into theaters on July 22.