Simon Pegg has responded to the growing furor over his decision to turn the Sulu character gay.
In a recent blog post on his official website, the Star Trek Beyond scribe argued that franchise creator Gene Roddenberry would have approved of his decision. But before that, he attempted to explain how Hikaru Sulu could be gay when he was originally written, and played by George Takei, in such a heterosexual way.
“With the Kelvin timeline, we are not entirely beholden to existing canon, this is an alternate reality and, as such is full of new and alternate possibilities. ‘BUT WAIT!'” Simon Pegg wrote. “I hear you brilliant and beautiful super Trekkies cry, ‘Canon tells us, Hikaru Sulu was born before the Kelvin incident, so how could his fundamental humanity be altered?”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) July 13, 2016
Pegg’s answer is the concept of quantum physics and the idea that time isn’t linear, and that “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. I don’t believe for one second that Gene Roddenberry wouldn’t have loved the idea of an alternate reality (“Mirror, Mirror” anyone?).”
Because of this, Simon Pegg argues, the Kelvin universe can evolve and change in different ways from the Prime Universe (The Original Series canon established by Roddenberry.)
And speaking of Roddenberry, Pegg had this to say.
“I know in my heart… that 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.”
While that sounds likely given the way that Star Trek always pushed the envelope with television’s first interracial kiss and other bold sojourns into social issues, many now argue that it’s highly unlikely Gene would have approved of the idea to turn Sulu gay.
There are two critical flaws with the theory of Simon Pegg.
Firstly, George Takei, the gay actor who played Sulu as straight, strongly disagrees with the decision to change the sexual preference of his character. Furthermore, Takei knew Roddenberry personally — much more intimately than Simon Pegg or Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin or John Cho, the actor playing the new Sulu, and he has called the decision a distortion of Roddenberry’s original vision.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Takei explained that Roddenberry would not have objected to a LGBT character, but it made little sense to “tinker” with existing characters, alternate timeline or not.
Secondly, unlike what Simon Pegg alludes to in his post, Gene Roddenberry demonstrated a rigid desire for control during his ownership of the franchise, especially regarding original series characters.
While he did approve several comic book series featuring TOS characters during his life, he also was never hesitant about stepping in and reversing course whenever creators started taking too many liberties.
Both volumes of the DC Comics line–which came along in the 1980s and ’90s after Star Trek had been canonized and well-established–had to follow strict orders when it came to what they could do with the main seven crew members and they were also limited in what they could do with new characters.
(Anyone remember what happened to Bearclaw, Bryce, Konom, and Sherwood?)
It’s unlikely Roddenberry would approve of such a dramatic shift as having Sulu’s sexuality changed, as Simon Pegg suggests, after the character was so well-established as heterosexual in the previous universe.
It’s also unlikely he would have approved of a continuation featuring his original crew, given that he could have chosen that path during his lifetime and instead preferred new crews, new ships, and new stories.
— Gizmodo (@Gizmodo) July 9, 2016
But what do you think, readers?
Is Simon Pegg right in second-guessing Takei and speaking for Star Trek’s creator? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image via Paramount]