The Star Trek reboot films have put a lot of effort into honoring the original Star Trek cast. The new actors bear a passing resemblance to the pioneering actors who first played Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Uhura, Scotty, Dr. McCoy, Chekov and Sulu.
Mr. Sulu, as played by John Cho, will become an even more meaningful tribute to original actor George Takei when the character officially comes out as gay in the upcoming film "Star Trek Beyond."
Takei publicly came out in 2005 and became a vocal gay-rights activist as well as a social-media star on both Facebook and Twitter. His Twitter bio reads, "Some know me as Mr. Sulu from Star Trek but I hope all know me as a believer in, and a fighter for, the equality and dignity of all human beings."
Don't expect the film to have any big pronouncements about Sulu's orientation. It will simply be integrated into the character's story. "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," Cho told the Herald Sun news outlet while on an Australian promotional tour for "Star Trek Beyond."
Cho told the Herald Sun the decision by writer Simon Pegg to make Sulu gay was made to honor Takei.
The world of Star Trek has often tried to portray the future Earth as a world beyond prejudice, but LGBTQ storylines have rarely been touched on in the series. "Deep Space Nine" episode "Rejoined" dealt with an intimate relationship between two female characters who belong to a species called the Trill, but they had been a heterosexual couple in their previous lives.
An openly gay character in "Star Trek Beyond" may be just the beginning for the Star Trek universe. New "Star Trek" TV series showrunner Bryan Fuller hinted in an interview with Collider that the show could have an LGBTQ character.
"Star Trek Beyond" hits movie theaters July 21 in Australia and July 22 in the US and UK.