Friday, July 15, 2016

CELEBRITY FRIDAY: Hikaru Sulu is Gay in Star Trek Beyond

Next Friday, Star Trek Beyond, the latest entry in the Star Trek movie franchise will be released and the blogosphere is buzzing with the news that the character Hikaru Sulu (played in the original by now openly gay actor George Takei and by John Cho in the recent rebooted series) will be revealed to have a male partner with whom he is raising a child.

Entertainment Weekly reports:
It’s been a long walk, but this year, there will be an openly gay crew member on the Enterprise bridge. According to Australia’s Herald Sun, this month’s Star Trek Beyond will casually reveal that John Cho’s Sulu is in a same-sex relationship – and that Sulu and his partner have a daughter. (Sulu’s daughter actually appeared in Generations, as the helmsman onboard the Enterprise commanded by Cameron Frye.) “I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out it,” Cho says, “Which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicize one’s personal orientations.”
Takei, however, is not actually pleased by the development, which was intended to be an homage to him.
Takei first learned of Sulu's recent same-sex leanings last year, when Cho called him to reveal the big news. Takei tried to convince him to make a new character gay instead. "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.'" (Takei had enough negative experiences inside the Hollywood closet, he says, and strongly feels a character who came of age in the 23rd century would never find his way inside one.)
Not long after Cho's bombshell call came another, this one from Lin, again informing him that Sulu was indeed to be gay in Star Trek Beyond. Takei remained steadfastly opposed to the decision.
The Geeks Out organization, thinks Sulu being gay is a good thing, but it's not enough.
With openly gay producer Bryan Fuller at the helm, this is the perfect opportunity to feature queer heroes and villains, romance, and even (gasp!) sex in a way that's more than tokenism and more than just a background detail. To geeks like me, a gay Sulu is an inspiring beginning. But hopefully, not the final frontier of LGBT characters in Star Trek.
Regardless, I'm probably going to see the movie opening weekend!

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