“Star Trek” writer and actor Simon Pegg has issued a statement defending his decision to give the universe of Captain Kirk and Mister Spock its first out character. He’s responding to criticism by “Star Trek” legend George Takei, about the revelation that Enterprise helmsman Hikaru Sulu is gay in the next film.
Takei attacked that choice Thursday, calling it “really unfortunate” in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. And now the man who plays chief engineer Montgomery Scott, known affectionately as “Scotty,” is firing back, with phasers set to love.
“I have huge love and respect for George Takei, his heart, courage and humour are an inspiration,” he wrote in the statement to the British newspaper, The Guardian. “However, with regards to his thoughts on our Sulu, I must respectfully disagree with him.”
Pegg, who cowrote the screenplay, rejected Takei’s suggestion to add a gay character rather than change the perceived sexual orientation of a main character, now played by actor John Cho.
“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 showed his keen knowledge of the “Star Trek” universe in discussing creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision of 50 years ago, defending the new film’s reflection of his love for “infinite diversity in infinite combinations.” And he reminded readers “Star Trek Beyond” and the two movies that preceded it are stories that are deliberately different from the original storyline begun in 1966.
“Our Trek is an alternate timeline with alternate details,” Pegg wrote. “Whatever magic ingredient determines our sexuality was different for Sulu in our timeline. I like this idea because it suggests that in a hypothetical multiverse, across an infinite matrix of alternate realities, we are all LGBT somewhere.
“Whatever dimension we inhabit, we all just want to be loved by those we love (and I love George Takei). I can’t speak for every reality but that must surely true of this one. Live long and prosper.”