Takei Finds 'Heroes' A Worthy Successor to Star Trek

By Michelle
January 30, 2007 - 10:20 PM

George Takei (Sulu) is having nearly as busy a year as his fellow original series star William Shatner (Kirk), and he's not embarrassed to admit that "It's good to feel hot."

In a new interview with TV Guide's Michael Logan, Takei discusses his latest high-profile role as Hiro Nakamura's father on NBC's smash hit Heroes, where he made his first brief appearance in last night's episode. Though Takei had to audition for the role, which requires him to speak in fluent Japanese, he finds it very appropriate that a former Star Trek actor should play the role of Star Trek fan Hiro's conservative father, though the actor also has another series and a film in the works.

"I'm a big fan of Heroes," Takei said. "I like to think we blazed a trail for it. Like Gene Roddenberry's vision for Star Trek, Heroes tackles the big themes with a very diverse, multiethnic cast of characters." But unlike Star Trek, which was cancelled after three years on NBC in the 1960s, "Heroes does something we never did — it gets great ratings!"

Takei explains that his character is extremely wealthy and wants Hiro to return to Japan to work as the industrial leader that his father has become. "Hiro has mysteriously vanished to the United States, and that is intolerable!" Takei explained. "My character is very old school and believes in learning the business from the bottom up. He was brought up that way by his father, and he wants his son raised that way, too." This is why Hiro worked in a cubicle before he discovered his time-bending powers, even though he will likely inherit a fortune.

Heroes creator Tim Kring told Logan that the elder Nakamura opened a major story arc for the series' next season, which will explore Hiro's family background. "Isn't that tantalizing?" asked Takei, noting that the Nakamura dynasty stretches far into the past: "In ancient times we were in the shogun class...only samurai were allowed to carry swords, and the upper echelon had the best of the swords, so therefore they became heirlooms." Takei believes it is possible that the legendary sword for which Hiro is seeking may connect to his family, which pleases Takei, who has a "legendary samurai" in his own family tree.

Takei said that he was very proud of his television son Masi Oka and enjoys seeing the attention the character is getting. "It's really remarkable that on a major network prime-time TV series, there are whole segments done in a foreign language with subtitles," he said. "Isn't that a great commentary on how global our society has become?" However, Takei and Osa speak to each other on the set not in Japanese, but in Spanish, which they both speak as well.

Next up for Takei is a Tom Hanks movie, The Great Buck Howard, as well as episodes of Disney Channel's Cory in the House and radio work on Howard Stern's show. "Who knew this would be happening 40 years after Star Trek?" Takei mused.

The original interview is here.

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