Hikaru Sulu, the helmsman of the U.S.S. Enterprise in both Star Trek: The Original Series and the recent Star Trek film franchise, will be depicted as openly gay in this summer’s Star Trek: Beyond, actor John Cho has revealed. Cho, who has played Sulu in the recent Star Trek films, told the Herald Sun that Sulu will be shown in Beyond with his husband, raising a daughter.
“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 said. Cho explained that this decision, made by writers Simon Pegg and Justin Lin, was also meant as a nod to George Takei, who originated the role of Sulu in Star Trek: The Original Series. While playing Sulu, Takei, a gay man, had to hide his sexuality for fear of losing his job. “If I wanted to work as an actor I had to keep it a secret,” Takei told News Corp last year. Since the end of The Original Series, Takei has worked as an ardent LGBTQIA rights activist.
This reveal makes Sulu the first gay canonical character in Star Trek history. It’s wonderful to see one of this year’s biggest films choosing to make a major character gay. Hopefully Star Trek: Beyond will inspire other filmmakers to be more inclusive and better represent their audiences. The film releases on July 22.