Director JJ Abrams has called George Takei's opposition to the decision to make Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise, gay in Star Trek Beyond “preposterous.”

In the film, Sulu is seen raising a daughter with his same-sex partner. John Cho, who plays Sulu in Beyond, said that the decision to make the character gay was a nod to Takei, who played the character in the original NBC series and came out gay in 2005.

Takei told The Hollywood Reporter that he had encouraged the cast and crew of the film to “create a character who has a history of being gay, rather than Sulu, who has been straight all this time, suddenly being revealed as being closeted” and called the decision “unfortunate.”

Abrams, who rebooted the movie franchise in 2009 and has a producing credit in the new film, told The Huffington Post that he has “nothing but respect for” Takei but thinks “it's a preposterous thing for, of all people, a Star Trek actor – who's come out himself – to say that [creator] Gene Roddenberry wouldn't have wanted this.”

He called the revelation “classic Roddenberry.”

“I don’t know what or why George Takei would take issue with it,” Abrams added. “I understand he’s backtracked a little bit. But I love the way [writers] Simon Pegg, Doug Jung and [director] Justin Lin did it. Doug Jung, who’s the co-writer, actually plays the husband of Sulu. I think it’s something I’m really proud of.”