John Cho told Australia’s Herald Sun that the version of Sulu he plays in Star Trek Beyond, which is based on George Takei’s original character, is gay. That would make him the first openly gay character in Star Trek’s history. The character’s sexual orientation is intended to be a nod to Takei, who came out in 2005.
“I liked the approach,” said Cho of how Star Trek Beyond handles Sulu’s sexuality, “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.”
Since this story first broke, Takei has responded to the decision, telling The Hollywood Reporter that he does not support it saying “I’m delighted that there’s a gay character. Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene [Rodberry]’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.”
Takei went on to say that while Cho, Pegg, and Lin consulted with him ahead of time, that he in turn pushed back against the idea that making Sulu gay could honor him when he and Rodberry had always viewed the character as heterosexual — and was disappointed when Pegg and Lin pushed ahead with the plan, regardless of his opposition.
Star Trek Beyond opens in theatres July 22nd.