Zachary Quinto defends gay Sulu

Zachary Quinto  in Start Trek

Zachary Quinto in Star Trek

Openly gay Star Trek star Zachary Quinto has backed the decision to make the character of Sulu gay.

It was recently revealed that Sulu (John Cho) will be shown in the upcoming Star Trek Beyond as raising a daughter with a male partner.

Many were taken aback when LGBT activist and actor George Takei, who first played Sulu, said the news was “unfortunate” as he feels the character should stay straight, as conceived by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.

Takei argued it would have been better to introduce a new gay character.

Quinto, who plays Spock in the latest Star Trek movies, responded via Pedestrian.TV, commenting: “As a member of the LGBT community myself, I was disappointed by the fact that George was disappointed.”

He expressed surprise about “any member of the LGBT community that takes issue with the normalised and positive portrayal of members of our community in Hollywood and in mainstream blockbuster cinema…”

Quinto went on to say: “I get it. He [Takei] has had his own personal journey and has his own personal relationship with this character but, you know, as we established in the first Star Trek film in 2009, we’ve created an alternate universe, and 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 latest film’s co-writer, Simon Pegg (who also stars as Scotty), further defended the decision, noting that the recent Star Trek films reflect an “alternate timeline with alternate details” from the original series and films.

John Cho as Sulu

John Cho as Sulu in Star Trek Beyond

“I have huge love and respect for George Takei, his heart, courage and humour are an inspiration,” he said in a statement to The Guardian. “However, with regards to his thoughts on our Sulu, I must respectfully disagree with him.”

“He’s right, it is unfortunate, it’s unfortunate that the screen version of the most inclusive, tolerant universe in science fiction hasn’t featured an LGBT character until now. We could have introduced a new gay character, but he or she would have been primarily defined by their sexuality, seen as the ‘gay character’, rather than simply for who they are, and isn’t that tokenism?”

Pegg added: “I don’t believe Gene Roddenberry’s decision to make the prime timeline’s Enterprise crew straight was an artistic one, more a necessity of the time.”

Star Trek Beyond is released on 26 August in South Africa.

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