George Takei disappointed Sulu is gay
George Takei thinks it is "unfortunate" 'Star Trek's Hikaru Sulu has been written as gay.
The 79-year-old actor believes the decision to feature the USS Enterprise helmsman - who he originally played in the 1960s TV series - as in a same-sex relationship in upcoming movie 'Star Trek Beyond' goes against franchise creator Gene Roddenberry's wishes.
George - who came out in 2005 and is married to Brad Altman - said: "I'm delighted that there's a gay character. Unfortunately, it's a twisting of Gene's creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it's really unfortunate."
In 1968, the year before 'Star Trek' was cancelled, George had discussed with Gene about the possibility of featuring a gay character in the show, but the showrunner declined.
He recalled: "I had a conversation with him, a very private one. I was still closeted, so I did not want to come out to him.
"He was a strong supporter of LGBT equality. But he said he has been pushing the envelope and walking a very tight rope -- and if he pushed too hard, the show would not be on the air."
Writer Simon Pegg and Justin Lin decided to make Sulu gay in homage to George as a sci-fi icon and LGBT activist, but after learning of the decision of the development from John Cho - who portrays the character in 'Star Trek Beyond' - the veteran actor urged them to leave his backstory as it was and create a new character.
He told The Hollywood Reporter: "I told him, 'Be imaginative and create a character who has a history of being gay, rather than Sulu, who had been straight all this time, suddenly being revealed as being closeted.'"
He then received a similar call from Justin, and ended the conversation feeling his feelings had hit home.
He said: "I said, 'This movie is going to be coming out on the 50th anniversary of 'Star Trek', the 50th anniversary of paying tribute to Gene Roddenberry, the man whose vision it was carried us through half a century. Honour him and create a new character. I urged them. He left me feeling that that was going to happen."
George then didn't hear anything until a few months ago when he received an email from Simon, who also plays Scotty in the rebooted film series.
He explained: "He was praising me for my advocacy for the LGBT movement and for my pride in 'Star Trek'.
"And I thought to myself, 'How wonderful! It's a fan letter from Simon Pegg. Justin had talked to him!' "
George was then convinced the decision to make Sulu gay had been reversed, until a month ago when John emailed him and told him the backstory was still in place.
Disappointed George said: "I really tried to work with these people when at long last the issue of gay equality was going to be addressed.
"I thought after that conversation with Justin that was going to happen. Months later, when I got that email from Simon Pegg, I was kind of confused. He thinks I'm a great guy? Wonderful. But what was the point of that letter? I interpreted that as my words having been heard."