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Saturday 10 December 2016

George Takei unhappy Sulu is gay in new Star Trek film

Published 08/07/2016 | 06:36

George Takei said he tried to convince the director of Star Trek Beyond to create a new character with a same-sex partner
George Takei said he tried to convince the director of Star Trek Beyond to create a new character with a same-sex partner

Actor George Takei has said it is "really unfortunate" that his Star Trek character is revealed as gay in the latest big screen adaptation.

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Takei, who played Hikaru Sulu in the 1960s television series, said he tried to convince the director of Star Trek Beyond to create a new character with a same-sex partner rather than "twisting" the ideas of the show's creator.

Takei, who is openly gay, insisted Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was a "strong supporter of LGBT equality" but he envisaged Sulu as a heterosexual.

His comments come after John Cho, who plays Sulu in the new film, revealed his character is now a father with a same-sex partner in Star Trek Beyond - the first openly gay character in the sci-fi series.

Takei told the Hollywood Reporter: "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."

Takei, 79, said he learnt about his character's new sexuality after receiving a call from Cho.

"I told him, 'Be imaginative and create a character who has a history of being gay, rather than Sulu, who had been straight all this time, suddenly being revealed as being closeted," Takei said.

He said he also received a call from Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin and tried to persuade the filmmaker to "honour" Roddenberry on the 50th anniversary of Star Trek and "create a new character".

"I urged them," Takei said. "He left me feeling that that was going to happen."

Cho said the decision on Sulu's sexuality was taken by Lin and Star Trek Beyond writer and star Simon Pegg, in a nod to Takei.

He told Australia's Herald Sun newspaper: "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 politicise one's personal orientations."

:: Star Trek Beyond is released in UK cinemas on July 22.

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