Jung: Gay Sulu And The Future of Star Trek

Looking at Star Trek from the viewpoint of a writer instead of a fan, Doug Jung saw vast potential when it came to the type of story that could be written for Star Trek Beyond. “What I did realize, in having looked at them a little bit more as a writer than as a fan, is there are so many different kinds of stories you can tell,” he said. “They vacillate wildly in the original series. I love City on the Edge of Forever, the ones that have that Twilight Zone-kind of feel. But The Doomsday Machine is one of my favorites, this fast-paced science-fiction. They contain these kind of amazing parables, commentaries. I remember thinking: It’s amazing how many different kinds of stories they can do.”

The decision was made to include a gay character in Star Trek Beyond and Sulu was chosen as that character. Jung took on the role of Sulu’s husband. “I’ve always been incredibly proud of that scene, even when it was just on the page,” said Jung. “I’m even more proud of it now. I think the way Justin [Lin] shot it, and the way John helped craft that scene — certainly more than me, I just basically stood there! — but the way it was presented, I think everybody felt incredibly good about it. We wanted to depict it as a normal part of the fabric of life. Which it is! I think it will stand the test of time. The great victory would be that, in however many years, if they look back on Beyond as part of a Star Trek retrospective, they wouldn’t even blink.”

So why no kiss when they greeted each other? “I don’t know,” said Jung. “I guess I didn’t really have any reaction to it. When we did it, it was sort of like…we never talked about, ‘Should we kiss, should we not kiss?’ The little girl who played the daughter was kind of right in there, and our focus was on her. It sort of developed that way. I never even thought, ‘We’re making or not making some kind of statement in the physicality of how we’re seeing each other.'”

What about the film future of Star Trek? “It’s a franchise that can support different styles of movies,” said Jung. “There’s the big action tentpole feel of Star Trek and the Enterprise, but why not try to do something that’s the Zero Dark Thirty version of Star Trek, or one that introduces some younger characters at the Academy? It’s fifty years’ worth of discovery, and obviously they’re doing that with Star Trek Discovery, but why not blow it out to a cinematic universe that has secondary characters, and smaller storylines, more intimate storylines, ones that deal with more of an espionage element versus the large-scale exploration themes of the main Star Trek?

Source: EW

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