‘Star Trek’ Character Sulu Is Revealed As Gay in Tribute to George Takei
Space — the final frontier for diverse representation in film: Beloved Star Trek character Hikaru Sulu, played by John Cho in the 2009, 2013 and 2016 films, has come out of the closet.
While visiting Sydney to promote the upcoming third installment of the series' successful 2000s film franchise, Cho revealed that Sulu, who helms the USS Enterprise under Chris Pine's Captain Kirk, is gay. The decision, made by writers Simon Pegg and Justin Lin, serves as a tribute to the character's original actor, LGBTQ+ activist George Takei, who is gay and played Sulu in the 1960s series while, at the time, closeted. Takei came out in 2005.
In the forthcoming film, Sulu will reportedly appear in a scene in which he is shown as in a same sex relationship and raising a daughter with his partner, marking the first time an openly gay character has been portrayed in the Star Trek universe in film or on television.
"I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicize one’s personal orientations," Cho explained of the subtle scene.
While Sulu's open sexuality will be a first for the franchise, it's not the first time the series has been culturally progressive in its story-lines: In 1968, an episode famously featured the first ever interracial kiss on television.
Star Trek Beyond opens in theaters July 22.
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