For fifty years Star Trek has explored social issues, this year they finally get a gay character.
Star Trek Beyond is scheduled to be released later this month, and one star reveals that his iconic character will come out as gay.
John Cho, who plays Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu told Australia’s Herald Sun that this new entry will involve his character recognizing his same-sex partner and their daughter.
Directed by Justin Lin and written by Simon Pegg, Cho told the publication that the decision to include Sulu’s personal life was made by Pegg.
“I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicize one’s personal orientations,” said Cho.
Star Trek, created for television by Gene Roddenberry in the 1960’s, has always tackled contemporary issues using veiled storylines and analogies to address topical issues such as race relations and war, but never same-sex relationships.
George Takei who originally played Sulu in the television show and openly gay himself approached Roddenberry about addressing homosexuality during its three season run, but claims the writer wanted to tread lightly on some issues in order to keep the show and its style alive.
“He said that if we pushed the envelope too far, then we wouldn’t be able to deal with any issues at all, and indeed – when we had the Kirk-Uhura kiss – we were blacked out in the South, and our ratings plummeted,” Takei said on Real Time with Bob Maher in 2014, “[I accepted it] because I knew the reality of television.”
The release of Star Trek Beyond is bittersweet for the cast and crew. One of their stars Anton Yelchin who plays Chekov was killed in a car accident last month.
“It’s devastating losing someone in your family — this feels like it should be a time for celebration not just of the film but of him, his extraordinary talent and the beautiful man he was,” said actor Karl Urban who plays Bones. “I’m having a difficult time coming to grips with talking about him in the past tense — it’s very raw and very painful.”
Star Trek Beyond is scheduled to be in theaters nationwide on July 21.