A few months ago, Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin teased that he wanted to "deconstruct" the entire Star Trek franchise with this sequel, in honor of its 50th Anniversary this year. While he wouldn't delve into specifics, the filmmaker said they would be "poking at a lot of different things", while also teasing shortly thereafter that there would be 50 different alien species on display. Today we have confirmation that this sequel will showcase the first gay character in the history of this storied franchise.
Australia's Herald Sun caught up with John Cho during a promotional event in Sydney, where it was confirmed that his character Hikaru Sulu is in fact gay. In the film, which opens July 22, he is portrayed as a loving father of a daughter and also has a same-sex partner. When asked about the decision by writer/star Simon Pegg to make Sulu gay, John Cho had this to say.
"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."
The reveal certainly fits within the spirit of the original series Gene Roddenberry first created, which became well-known for its trail-blazing ways. The series showcased television's first ever interracial kiss between Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and the introduction of a Russian character like Chekov (Walter Koenig) was considered groundbreaking, since the show debuted at the height of the Cold War. The franchise's trailblazing ways will certainly continue in Star Trek Beyond after this reveal.
It's worth noting that, just a few months ago, John Cho himself teased that the movie feels like the "best of the original series." It will be interesting to see how the fans react to this reveal, or if it will have any impact on its box office performance. The sci-fi sequel opens July 22 going up against Warner Bros.' thriller Lights Out. Stay tuned for more updates on Star Trek Beyond as soon as more information comes in.