In a new blog posting, Star Trek Beyond Co-Writer Simon Pegg talks more about the decision to make the Kelvin Timeline Sulu gay.
“What was initially intended as a moment of progressive affection has drawn comment and debate from the unlikeliest corners,” said Pegg.
He went on to explain that Sulu was chosen “because of George [Takei]. There was something sweet and poetic about it,” said Pegg. “Introducing a new gay character had its own set of problems, as I mentioned before, the sexuality of that character would have to be addressed immediately and pointedly and the new characters in Star Trek Beyond have enough on their plate, without stopping to give us the intimate details of their personal lives. We were concerned it might seem clumsy, tokenistic or worse, too little too late, raising and exasperated, ‘finally!’ from those who’ve been waiting for representation for the last fifty years.”
So why make Sulu gay when the actor who first portrayed the character was unhappy with the decision? “The thinking behind embracing an existing character was that it felt as though it retroactively put right something that had long been wrong,” said Pegg. “By the time, we mentioned it to [Takei], the idea had taken shape, it felt good, interesting and worthy of thought and conversation. We were disappointed that George didn’t see it that way but, truth be told, Sulu Prime seemed to be missing a very important point. With galaxies of respect to the great man, this is not his Sulu. John Cho does not play a young George Takei, nor does he play the same character George Takei played in the original series. He is a different Sulu. This brings me to the second point of contention, Canon.
“With the Kelvin timeline, we are not entirely beholden to existing canon, this is an alternate reality and, as such is full of new and alternate possibilities.
“Ultimately, if we love Star Trek, we are all on the same page, we all want Gene’s idea of a tolerant inclusive, diplomatic and loving Universe to become a reality.”