The “Star Trek” cast has started making the press rounds in preparation for “Star Trek Beyond’s” release on July 21. It’s a bittersweet and more subdued media tour, as the cast and crew mourn the loss of Anton Yelchin, who played Chekhov in the rebooted “Star Trek” franchise before he was killed in a tragic accident in June.
But there is one bright spot to emerge. When the cast was in Australia promoting the movie on July 6, the Sidney Herald Sun reports that they revealed Lt. Hikaru Sulu is gay. He can been seen in the film in a same-sex relationship and father to a little girl.
According to director Justin Lin, writer Simon Pegg and Lin wanted to make Sulu gay as a nod to George Takei, the actor who played Sulu in the original CBS series and six feature films. Cho says what he likes best about the decision is that Sulu’s sexual orientation is not made into a “big thing.”
“I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicize one’s personal orientations,” says Cho.
Things certainly have come a long way since Takei originally wore Sulu’s uniform. Back then, he had to keep his sexuality a secret for fear of it ruining his career.
“[It was] most excruciating for me, because I wanted to be an actor. And if I wanted that career, I had to be closeted,” Takei told the Huffington Post in 2015. “Because when I was a teenager, there was a heartthrob named Tab Hunter. People today might not recognize that name. He was a blond, stunningly handsome boy next door. All American movie star guy. Every other movie coming from Warner Brothers studio starred Tab Hunter. But Confidential magazine exposed him as gay. And suddenly he faded.”
Takei didn’t end up coming out publicly until 2005. He has yet to react to the Sulu news, but considering how active he is on social media, it’s probably only a matter of time. We suspect he’ll be very proud.