We are just a couple of short weeks away from Star Trek Beyond finally hitting theaters, and potentially saving us from a recent round of big bombs and disappointments at the box office. Justin Lin took over this entry from director J.J. Abrams, who was otherwise occupied with another big, expensive space movie. Lin has made it a point to add some diversity to the movie, and yesterday it was revealed that he managed to do so in a big way.
John Cho, who plays Hikaru Sulu in the most recent series of Star Trek movies, has revealed that his character is openly gay in Star Trek Beyond. This, as anyone would expect, sparked some controversy and many Stark Trek alum have voiced their opinions on the matter. The most surprising reaction came from the original Sulu George Takei, who voiced his disapproval of the decision. In a recent interview with Pedestrian, Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock currently, weighed in on the Sulu controversy. Here is what he had to say.
"As a member of the LGBT community myself, I was disappointed by the fact that George was disappointed. I get it that he has had his own personal journey and has his own personal relationship with this character, but ... as we established in the first Star Trek film in 2009, we've created an alternate universe."
The Star Trek universe that was established in the 2009 movie wasn't a hard reboot, as it just split the timeline from the original series. The J.J. Abrams timeline is now known as The Kelvin Timeline, but it does coincided with the original Star Trek. Takei played Sulu for many years on both TV and in movies, and his issues with the twist of the character stem from the fact that it wasn't what Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry had in mind. Here is what he told THR.
"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."
Takei revealed that he was gay in 2005, so has very strong connections to the community and is very vocal about LGBT rights, so the fact that he had any sort of a negative reaction to the news was surprising to many. Quinto obviously wouldn't have said anything negative about the twist even if he had felt that way about it, which it is very unlikely that he would have had any negative feelings about it anyway. But he did add that he hopes Takei comes around and appreciates the positivity this new twist is trying to promote.
"My hope is that eventually George can be strengthened by the enormously positive response from especially young people who are heartened by and inspired by this really tasteful and beautiful portrayal of something that I think is gaining acceptance and inclusion in our societies across the world, and should be."
The original Star Trek featured a lot of diversity in a time that wasn't at all conducive to that kind of thing. William Shatner famously kissed Nichelle Nichols, the original Uhura, on screen in an episode of Star Trek, which was marred in controversy and was the first interracial kiss ever featured on scripted American TV. So it makes sense that Justin Lin and Simon Pegg, who wrote Star Trek 3, would want to maintain the legacy of diversity in the franchise. Star Trek Beyond will premiere at San Diego Comic Con on July 20 and is set for release on July 22.