George Takei calls decision to make Star Trek’s Sulu gay 'really unfortunate'

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Jul 8, 2016, 7:56 AM EDT

The creative team behind Star Trek Beyond wanted to honor original series star George Takei (plus provide some diversity) by making the younger version of his character gay. But it turns out Takei is actually not a fan of the decision.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Takei said he’s glad they’re adding a gay character to the Star Trek canon — but would prefer they didn’t fundamentally change a player from the original series. Takei officially came out in 2005, and has spent the past decade as an advocate for LGBT rights. But he also respects what Gene Roddenberry created with the original series (with Sulu played as a straight character), and actually asked the film’s creative team not to make the change.

Here’s an excerpt from his comments:

“I’m delighted that there’s a gay character. Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate … I said, 'This movie is going to be coming out on the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, the 50th anniversary of paying tribute to Gene Roddenberry, the man whose vision it was carried us through half a century. Honor him and create a new character. I urged them. He left me feeling that that was going to happen.”

The pitch to make Sulu gay apparently came from co-star and co-writer Simon Pegg, and they added a scene to the film that shows Sulu and a male spouse raising their infant child. It’s unclear what, if any, other reference there might be in regard to the actual plot.

What do you make of the decision? Proud of progress in the Federation, or do you agree with Takei?

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)