While many fans might think that George Takei’s thoughts on where Sulu should have gone would focus on the Captain’s chair, Takei felt that something else should have been developed for the character.
Playing Sulu was a “breakthrough opportunity” according to Takei. “Just to be able to play a member of the leadership team, without an accent, was hugely important. So many Asians back then were, first of all, stereotypes and spoke with a heavy accent.”
Takei wanted more for his character though. “…I thought I could parlay that into something substantial for the character,” he said. “I suggested Sulu having a family that he connects with. I suggested a lot of ideas to develop Sulu that never really happened.”
Sulu eventually gained a daughter, in Star Trek: Generations, but he was not seen in the movie with her. “It was only after I turned down a role in Star Trek 7 (Generations) that they gave all my lines to a relative that I had lobbied for, my daughter,” he said. “When the series ended and the films began I was lobbying for parents, brothers, sisters, lovers, maybe a wife, all of that, but none of it ever happened. I wanted to see Sulu more dimension-ed, but that’s not news, I’m sure. ”
It has been almost forty-five years since Takei first played Sulu and things that were only dreams or in their infancy back then have come to pass. “…The amazing thing is that we are living in that science fiction world that was so fantastical back in 1966,” said Takei. “Our cell phones, our computers, the space shuttle, the space station; there are so many things that exist today that were fantasy when we started the show. And look at the space station. It’s made up of people that reflect the diversity of this planet. In fact, what was political fantasy, absolutely pure political fantasy – Russians and Americans working together – is a reality now. Back in the 1960s we were in a Cold War and it would have been totally unthinkable. But Gene [Roddenberry] thought it and his vision is now being realized in fact. So we are living in that science fiction world of four decades, four and a half decades ago.”