George Takei reportedly has his shields up, in advance of the latest “Star Trek” sequel, Star Trek Beyond, after the revelation that the character he originated is going where no Starfleet officer has gone before: out of the closet.
“I’m delighted that there’s a gay character,” Takei tells The Hollywood Reporter, especially given that he once campaigned for creator Gene Roddenberry to add one. “Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.”
Hikaru Sulu, known only as “Mister Sulu” in the 1960s television series, is the Asian helmsman aboard the Starship Enterprise in the fabled franchise. Takei played Sulu for three decades on television and in film, from 1966 through 1996, as a steady, surefire pilot given to fanciful swashbuckling and swordsplay when influenced.
And, Takei told The Hollywood Reporter, he has always played him straight. That, he said, is what Roddenberry wanted.
“He was a strong supporter of LGBT equality,” recalls Takei, now 79. “But he said he has been pushing the envelope and walking a very tight rope — and if he pushed too hard, the show would not be on the air.”