Simon Pegg responds to George Takei’s criticism of gay Sulu role in new ‘Star Trek’ film

Actor John Cho announced the news of character's sexuality ahead of 'Star Trek Beyond'

Actor Simon Pegg has responded to comments made by Star Trek legend George Takei about the decision to reveal that character Mr Sulu is gay in the next instalment of the sci-fi franchise.

Actor John Cho, who plays Sulu in the reboot films, recently said that the character will be revealed to be gay in Star Trek Beyond.

The development in Sulu’s character is believed to be a nod to Takei by director Justin Lin and writer/star Simon Pegg. Takei came out as gay in 2005, and later claimed that he would have struggled to find work as a gay Asian-American if he had revealed his sexuality while filming the show during the 1960’s.

Takei responded to the news by saying that while he’s “delighted” that there will be a gay character in the film, he feels that the decision instead not to simply introduce a new LGBT character is “really unfortunate”.

NMEPress

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

“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 went on to say that he “loved the idea of it being someone we already knew because the audience have a pre-existing opinion of that character as a human being, unaffected by any prejudice. Their sexual orientation is just one of many personal aspects, not the defining characteristic.”

Speaking to Australian paper The Herald Sun during press duties for the third instalment in the sci-fi franchise, Cho said that the film will reveal that Mr Sulu is a father with a same-sex partner and daughter.

He also praised the film for presenting the new development in a casual and nuanced fashion. Cho said, “I liked the approach, which was to not make a big thing out of it. [That] is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicise one’s personal orientations.”