Over the years Star Trek has become iconic for its depiction of a futuristic utopia. People from all walks of life unite under the banner of the Federation, and work together to seek out new life forms and discover new worlds. It's a franchise known for its progressive nature, but the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery will mark the first time that the series has introduced a wholly original gay character in the form of Anthony Rapp's Lieutenant Stamets. It's an enticing prospect, and one that excites George Takei far more than the decision to make Sulu gay in Star Trek Beyond. Takei explained:
I wasn't persuasive and they made Sulu gay. They said it was a tribute to me, so I appreciate that part. But now Gene is really going to be honored by 'Star Trek: Discovery' by having that original character, played by a wonderfully talented actor. I think it is the way it should've been done.
During a recent appearance at the Unforgettable Gala on Saturday (via Variety) George Takei addressed the issue of LGBT representation in the Star Trek franchise. Although he resisted the decision to make John Cho's Sulu gay in the rebooted silver screen Star Trek series, he has been wholly supportive of the introduction of original gay characters like Stamets. In his own opinion, changing Sulu's sexuality as a tribute to him compromised Gene Roddenberry's original vision for the character, and did nothing to honor the Star Trek creator in any substantial way.
The originality of a gay character appears to be the biggest issue for George Takei. Although Sulu's homosexuality barely factors in to the narrative of Star Trek Beyond in any substantial way, Takei considers it an unnecessary departure for a well-established character. On the other hand, the introduction of a Lieutenant Stamets in Star Trek: Discovery represents the first time that a main Star Trek character has been designed from the ground up to represent the LGBT community, and that's something that Takei has wanted to see for quite some time.
In fact, LGBT representation is an issue that George Takei wanted to see tackled as far back as the original series. The actor reportedly spoke to Gene Roddenberry about the possibility of introducing gay characters on the series, but the political and social climates of the time prevented such a creative decision. Times have changed since then, and Takei is happy to see Trek finally become an even more inclusive universe.
Following a recent delay, Star Trek: Discovery is expected to debut this May on CBS. CinemaBlend will bring you more information related to the upcoming Star Trek series as new details become available. Until then, make sure to check out our comprehensive midseason premiere guide for more information concerning all of the most highly anticipated spring television debuts.