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Simon Pegg defends Star Trek Beyond's presentation of Sulu as gay

Simon Pegg
Simon Pegg

Simon Pegg says he loves George Takei but disagrees with his stance on Star Trek's Sulu being gay

In making much-loved Star Trek character, Sulu, gay in the upcoming new movie Star Trek Beyond, Star Trek is boldly going somewhere it's never gone before.

But not everyone's happy with the new development... most notably George Takei, who originally played Hikaru Sulu in the cult 1960s US TV series.

However, Spaced star and Star Trek Beyond co-writer Simon Pegg (opens in new tab) has come out and said he “respectfully disagrees” with comments made by Star Trek actor George Takei (opens in new tab).

His comments follow an interview earlier in the week which saw George, who played Hikaru Sulu in the 1960s television series, saying it is “really unfortunate” that his Star Trek character is revealed as gay (opens in new tab) in the latest big screen adaptation.

George told the Hollywood Reporter he tried to convince the director of Star Trek Beyond to create a new character with a same-sex partner, rather than “twisting” the ideas of the show’s creator.

Simon Pegg

Simon Pegg (Yui Mok/PA) 

George is openly gay and insisted Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was a “strong supporter of LGBT equality”, but he envisaged Sulu as a heterosexual.

Actor John Cho, who plays Sulu in the new film, revealed his character is now a father with a same-sex partner in Star Trek Beyond – the first openly gay character in the sci-fi series.

Simon also stars in the new Star Trek film.

George Takei (Sean Zanni/AP)

George Takei (Sean Zanni/AP) 

He explained his decision in a statement to The Guardian, writing: “I have huge love and respect for George Takei, his heart, courage and humour 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?”

He went on: “Justin Lin, Doug Jung and I loved the idea of it being someone we already knew because the audience have a pre-existing opinion of that character as a human being, unaffected by any prejudice.

The cast of the original series of Star Trek

The cast of the original series of Star Trek (AP) 

“Their sexual orientation is just one of many personal aspects, not the defining characteristic. Also, the audience would infer that there has been an LGBT presence in the Trek Universe from the beginning (at least in the Kelvin timeline), that a gay hero isn’t something new or strange. It’s also important to note that at no point do we suggest that our Sulu was ever closeted, why would he need to be? It’s just hasn’t come up before.”

He ended his note saying: “Whatever dimension we inhabit, we all just want to be loved by those we love (and I love George Takei). I can’t speak for every reality but that must surely true of this one. Live long and prosper.”

He also tweeted:

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Star Trek Beyond is released in UK cinemas on July 22


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