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April fools! George Takei not lighting Olympic flame in Tokyo after all

By Adam Pockross
George Takei Getty

Remember how you heard a coronavirus embattled chorus of cries this year, perhaps rightfully warning that this was most certainly not the joking season for April Fools shenanigans? Well, George Takei, the Star Trek vet and human rights activist, thinks there’s always time for levity.

In a well played prank that got picked up as truth by many a media outlet (okay, fine, we were almost duped ourselves) and celebrated by a bevy of social media commenters, Takei took to Facebook yesterday to announce some uplifting news:

Friends! I’ve been sitting on some big news for quite some time now. Unfortunately, given the current global situation,...

Posted by George Takei on Wednesday, April 1, 2020

“I am honored beyond belief to have been selected to be the final torchbearer who will light the Olympic Flame in Tokyo in 2021!” Takei wrote, while posting a picture of himself with what appears to be an actual Olympic torch (along with a host of Sulu gear and other collectibles that he apparently stores on his dining room table).

Of course we bit, who wouldn’t? After all, George Takei is like our trusted Uncle Sulu, whose words are wrought with wisdom. He has served as a Starfleet officer for over four decades, and brings Star Trek’s humanism and optimism to his real life activism, rallying millions to his causes on Howard Stern and through his vast social media network.

And according to his post, Takei's a lifelong runner, so he’s got that going for him too.  

So wouldn’t Takei, whose parents are from Japan, and who continues to embody Trek’s multicultural spirit, just be the perfect person to light the symbolic torch signifying the start of the Olympic Games, bringing together the nations of the world in celebration of our shared commonalities?

Well, turns out he’s also the perfect person to blindside us. And blindside us he did...      

Well played, Captain Sulu, well played.

Alas, it would have been nice to get some good news these days, as the coronavirus has been claiming lives and shutting down businesses and events worldwide, including delaying the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan to 2021. Oh well, at least Takei reminds us that it’s still okay to laugh during dark times.

This story presents some humorous responses to coronavirus, but COVID-19 is very real! Please exercise caution out there: wash those hands, stay at home, and practice social distancing. For extensive information on how to keep you and your loved ones safe, check out the CDC’s coronavirus website.