The new "Star Trek Beyond" movie will take the classic character Mr. Sulu in a new direction by revealing that he has a husband.
Actor John Cho shared the news with Australia's Herald Sun on Thursday, citing writer Simon Pegg's desire to pay tribute to original Sulu actor George Takei. Takei came out publicly in 2005 and has been an active proponent of gay rights. Takei, however, doesn't sound too happy about the movie reveal.
"Unfortunately, it's a twisting of Gene's creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it's really unfortunate," Takei told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.
Gene Roddenberry was the creator of Star Trek. Takei said he believes portraying Sulu as gay takes the character away from what Roddenberry originally envisioned for him.
Takei, who first heard the news from Cho last year, tried to convince the young actor that a new character should be gay, rather than Sulu, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Later, Takei made the same appeal when director Justin Lin called him. "Honor [Roddenberry] and create a new character. I urged them."
Despite Takei's wishes, Sulu's orientation will become canon for the reboot series when the new movie opens this month.
Takei may not have wanted this for Sulu, but he did tell the Reporter, "I'm delighted that there's a gay character."
Pegg, who also plays Scotty in the reboots, responded to Takei's concerns through a statement to UK news outlet The Guardian on Friday. Pegg respectfully disagrees with Takei.
"Justin Lin, Doug Jung and I loved the idea of it being someone we already knew because the audience have a pre-existing opinion of that character as a human being, unaffected by any prejudice," Pegg said. (Jung co-wrote the script with Pegg.) "Their sexual orientation is just one of many personal aspects, not the defining characteristic."
Pegg sees Roddenberry's decision not to include an LGBT character as a product of its time. "Star Trek Beyond" also operates in a different timeline from the original series.
"Whatever magic ingredient determines our sexuality was different for Sulu in our timeline. I like this idea because it suggests that in a hypothetical multiverse, across an infinite matrix of alternate realities, we are all LGBT somewhere," Pegg told The Guardian.
"Star Trek Beyond" hits movie theaters July 21 in Australia and July 22 in the US and UK.