We’ve all seen the reveal that Hikaru Sulu will come out as gay in the upcoming Star Trek Beyond, and how George Takei was critical of this decision.
Others spoke out in defense of the move to make the legendary character gay, incuding Simon Pegg. But now, George has spoken about it again on his Facebook page, saying how the headlines about him had been “misleading”.
He wrote: “Apparently, controversy makes for better sales! Let me be clear: I am not disappointed that there is a gay character in Star Trek. On the contrary, as I made clear, I am delighted that the Star Trek franchise has addressed this issue, which is truly one of diversity. It is thrilling to know that future generations will not see LGBTs go wholly unrepresented in the Trek universe.”
“On the specific question of Sulu being gay, when I was first approached with the concept, I responded that I hoped instead that Gene Roddenberry’s original characters and their backgrounds would be respected. How exciting it would be instead if a new hero might be created, whose story could be fleshed out from scratch, rather than reinvented. To me, this would have been even more impactful.”
Now, George did recognise that the new run of Star Trek films are an alternate universe, which of course allows for many changes to be made he said it “seemed less than necessary to tinker with an existing character in order to fulfill Gene’s hope of a truly diverse Trek universe.”
“While I am flattered that the character of Sulu apparently was selected as an homage to me, this was never about me or what I wanted. It was about being true to Gene’s vision and storytelling.” Gene had wanted long ago to include LGBT characters, and we spoke personally and specifically about the lack of them. Gene understandably felt constrained by the sensitivities of the time.£
“Some fifty years ago, even TV’s first interracial kiss, between Kirk and Uhura, caused our ratings to plummet as the show was censored across much of the South for that scene. Gene made a conscious decision to make the main characters heterosexual, and worked within those parameters to tell incredible stories that still challenged many cultural values of the time. So the lack of gay characters was not some oversight by him; it was a conscious decision with which he grappled. ”
You can read George’s rather length post here. What are your thoughts on the decision to make Sulu gay?