The cast of Star Trek Beyond
have defended the decision to make Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS
Enterprise, gay in the franchise's latest film.
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 George 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.”
“George's Sulu is absolutely safe,”
Simon Pegg, who stars in the film and co-wrote the script told
the AP. “But for us it felt like it was a good way to address
the idea of an LGBT character without it being like, 'And here's such
and such; and they're five-foot-ten; and they do this job; and this
is their sexuality.' It was like we already knew him. It was just
something we didn't know about him. And that felt like a nice way to
Director Justin Lin said that he was
proud of the story detail.
“I'm proud of what we've done,” Lin
said. “You know, it's really not an issue. And it was not an
issue for me personally.”
“But a lot times with sci-fi movies
and Star Trek, I think it's our job to really put that mirror
for us as a society. And whatever reaction, positive, negative, it's
discourse. And I think that's always good,” he added.
Karl Urban, who plays Dr. Leonard
“Bones” McCoy in the film, said that the decision to reveal
Sulu's sexuality was rewarding in that there was a “whole
generation of young people who are really happy to be represented.”