Wednesday 26 October 2016

Star Trek creator's son unsure about gay Sulu

Published 13/07/2016 | 00:51

John Cho plays Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek Beyond (AP)
John Cho plays Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek Beyond (AP)

The son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry has said his father would have been on board with an Enterprise crew member being portrayed as gay, but is unsure if it should have been helmsman Hikaru Sulu.

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Rod Roddenberry said his father would have been supportive of a gay Trek crew member and praised the Star Trek Beyond film makers for featuring an LGBT character. Gene Roddenberry died in 1991.

"I think he would be 100% in favour of a gay character in Star Trek," said Roddenberry. "There's so much going on in the world today. I think he would love any sort of social issue being brought into Star Trek."

Actor John Cho told Australia's Herald Sun last week that a scene in the upcoming film plainly presents Sulu with a male spouse raising an infant daughter.

Cho said he liked that the fact that the approach did not "make a big thing" out of it.

But original Sulu actor George Takei, 79, who is gay, has called the decision "unfortunate".

He told The Hollywood Reporter that he thought the character had been altered and would have preferred the film-makers to create a new gay character.

Star Trek Beyond actor-screenwriter Simon Pegg defended the choice in a statement and said the film-makers wanted an LGBT character to be "someone we already knew because the audience has a pre-existing opinion of that character as a human being, unaffected by any prejudice".

Roddenberry said he understood Takei's opinion that his father probably did not intend for Sulu, who never had an on-screen love interest in the original TV and film series, to be gay.

"In a way, it's George's character," he said. "I can understand why he feels strongly about it. I don't see why everyone is bickering about it. It's about time. Let's just do it."

Roddenberry, who is serving as an executive producer on the upcoming Star Trek series on the CBS All Access online video service, said his father would have probably created a gay character to be featured in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The spin-off of Star Trek: The Next Generation ran from 1993 to 1999.


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