The “Star Trek” universe has its first LGBTQ character, but the reaction of George Takei, the franchise’s most high-profile openly gay actor, hasn’t been what most fans probably expected. Takei, who played Sulu on the original “Star Trek” TV series, told The Hollywood Reporter he thinks the move is “really unfortunate.”
His comment came in response to news this week that Sulu in the new movie “Star Trek Beyond,” played by John Cho, will be the franchise’s first major gay character.
Takei, who announced he was gay in 2005 and has been an outspoken LGBT activist, said the revelation that Sulu is gay is out of step with what “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry would have wanted, THR reports.
Takei told THR that he would have preferred that Sulu remain straight, adding: “I’m delighted that there’s a gay character. Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.”
Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty in the new movie and who broke the news that Sulu is gay, took issue with Takei’s position.
In a statement obtained by Entertainment Weekly, Pegg wrote: “I have huge love and respect for George Takei, his heart, courage and humor are an inspiration. However, with regards to his thoughts on our Sulu, I must respectfully disagree with him.
“He’s right, it is unfortunate; it’s unfortunate that the screen version of the most inclusive, tolerant universe in science-fiction hasn’t featured an LGBT character until now. We could have introduced a new gay character but he or she would have been primarily defined by their sexuality, seen as the ‘gay character,’ rather than simply for who they are and isn’t that tokenism?”
“Star Trek Beyond” comes out July 22.