Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Star Trek Beyond - The Sulu Debate

Last week, it was revealed that John Cho's Hiraku Sulu in the upcoming movie Star Trek Beyond would have a husband and daughter and it's certainly generated an interesting debate.

Thought as a tribute to the original actor, George Takei who played the role in the original Star Trek television series and the first few movies, Takei's comments on the matter have certainly been interesting. The openly gay actor himself expressed some disappointment in the decision by the movie's co-writer Simon Pegg and while a part of me can empathise a little with his stance, I have to admit that even without the staunch of the upcoming movie's co-stars such as out actor Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock, I'm seeing this development with Sulu as a good thing.

In the movie we briefly see Sulu's partner Ben (Doug Jung, co-writer of the movie), so it doesn't feel like it's something that the movie is trying to sensationalise. Sulu's sexuality and considering that these movies since 2009 have been set in some kind of alternative universe, is it really that big a deal? Despite having a daughter, Sulu has never been presented as an overly heterosexual character to begin with and it's certainly high time that we had a  prominent LGBT character in the Star Trek universe (aside from Terry Farrell's Dax in Deep Space Nine who's bisexual) and with movies still being behind on LGBT characters compared to television these days, having a character like Sulu be out and proud while at the same time not having his sexuality wholly define him can only be a good thing in my opinion. Not to mention the fact that John Cho is an exceptional actor and handsome man. Personally I think it's a commendable decision.

It's also making me curious though for CBS/CBS All Access's upcoming Star Trek series as well. When asked last month if the series (whose cast has yet to be confirmed) would have any LGBT characters, Fuller did state that fans "would be happy" but didn't directly confirm anything concrete. In light of Sulu now being an out man with a husband and daughter, I do hope that one of the main characters in Fuller's reimagining is an openly LGBT character. It's certainly more than due now. Thoughts anyone on both the upcoming and television series and LGBT characters in general?

More Discussion:

Star Trek Beyond will be in cinemas from July 22.

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