Star Trek alum and openly gay actor, George Takei, has become as well-known for his LGBTQ activism as his career on the classic Sci-Fi series. That’s why, when learning of the news that the character he made famous, Sulu, would come out as gay in the new Star Trek Beyond film out in two weeks, it was assumed Takei would be thrilled.
But not so, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter, who caught up with George to gauge his reaction to the news. Aside from using the words “unfortunate,” Takei also revealed he had an active role behind-the-scenes in trying to keep John Cho’s Sulu straight.
“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.”
His reasoning was that even though he knew Roddenberry was a “strong supporter of LGBT equality” he was also extremely meticulous with the backstories behind his characters, and Sulu had a history of being heterosexual. He assumed his opinion helped sway them to change their minds on the decision, considering they did it as an homage to his own coming out, as revealed by John Cho in the Australian Herald Sun.
“I really tried to work with these people when at long last the issue of gay equality was going to be addressed,” Takei says. “I thought after that conversation with [director] Justin [Lin] that was going to happen. Months later, when I got that email from [writer and star] Simon Pegg, I was kind of confused. He thinks I’m a great guy? Wonderful. But what was the point of that letter? I interpreted that as my words [not] having been heard.”
This doesn’t mean Takei is upset that there will be a gay character introduced in the Star Trek universe, and he is “delighted” at the homage to his own real life struggles to come out. But his opinion is that they should instead invoke the spirit of Roddenberry and, as previously mentioned, create a new character instead of “twisting” Gene’s creation.
How is iron MAN going to be a woman? Im all for equality but come on thats legit not what the character is
— Malique P♏️ (@Leke03) July 6, 2016
There have also been months of venom spewed at the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot which features the four lead male characters from the original replaced by an all-female cast that includes box office favorites, Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy. In fact, so much hate was thrown their way that Yahoo UK is reporting the actresses ad-libbed additional dialogue in a particular scene as a shout back to all the haters.
“It was added [to the script],” explains Melissa McCarthy who plays paranormal investigator Abby Yates in the film.
“I feel like the part was in [the script] already,” says Kristen Wiig, “But we changed what was said.”
“We did something on the day that slightly tweaked it,” McCarthy added.
Still, as much as the new Ghostbusters may be suffering from a general bias against women, according to George Takei, it’s the twisting of these original creations that seems to have most people irked.
What do you think? Is George Takei right? Should John Cho’s Sulu have stayed straight in Star Trek Beyond or was it the right move to make his character gay?
[Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]