George Takei is many things: Prolific actor, Internet sensation, and a fan of John Cho, who takes over Takei’s role of Mr. Sulu in the new series of Star Trek films.
Though there was initially some concern over Cho’s casting in 2007 (Sulu is Japanese-American, Cho is Korean-American), Takei has long praised the young actor for his portrayal of the USS Enterprise helmsman, and heaped on additional plaudits in light of Star Trek Into Darkness.
Takei, who played Sulu in the original TV series and six films, actually hasn’t seen the 2013 sequel yet, but feels that his iconic role is in good hands.
He says that Cho is the “ideal choice” to play Sulu due to his “charm, intelligence, dash and sharpness.”
“When (director) J.J. Abrams first announced he had cast Hikaru Sulu, I got a call from John (Cho) asking to have lunch with me,” Takei said Friday.
He continued, “He was very curious about the intensity of Star Trek fans and doing comic conventions, but he was more concerned about how the fans would accept him because they have identified the character of Sulu with me for so long and he was worried about how he would be received.”
Takei then eased Cho’s fears with his trademark sense of humor:
“So I told him that it wouldn’t be too long before I’ll be known as the guy who played John Cho’s part, and he was comforted by that.”
The Korean/Japanese heritage question loomed large in the mind of J.J. Abrams when the first Star Trek film was being cast. But Takei assured him then:
“He told me that he looked hard for a Japanese-American to play Sulu and asked me what I thought of his choice to cast someone not of that lineage. To me, so long as the character remains Asian-American, that would be all that matters.”
Are you a fan of George Takei? What do you think of John Cho as Hikaru Sulu?
[Image via: s_bukley / Shutterstock]