Simon Pegg and the “Star Trek Beyond” team approached George Takei months ago about their decision to make the character he played for decades, Hikaru Sulu, a gay man. Mr. Takei politely told them that creator Gene Roddenberry never wrote the USS Enterprise officer that way and that they should create a new character instead. The “Beyond” team disrespected his wish and now trots out Zachary Quinto to twist the original Sulu’s words.
Here is what Takei told The Hollywood Reporter earlier in the week:
“I told [John Cho], ‘Be imaginative and create a character who has a history of being gay, rather than Sulu, who had been straight all this time, suddenly being revealed as being closeted.’ I’m delighted that there’s a gay character. Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought.
I said, ‘This movie is going to be coming out on the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, the 50th anniversary of paying tribute to Gene Roddenberry, the man whose vision it was carried us through half a century. Honor him and create a new character. I urged them. He left me feeling that that was going to happen. I think it’s really unfortunate. I really tried to work with these people when at long last the issue of gay equality was going to be addressed. I thought after that conversation with [director Justin Lin] that was going to happen.”
Here is the proper context: Mr. Takei, an LGBT activist, has played Sulu since the 1960s. He is the original Sulu and he knows what the creator would have wanted. A bunch of young guys essentially came to him for his blessing. They received an answer they did not like, did what they wanted anyway, and now try to frame his displeasure as if he has a thing against gay representation on film.
Here is what Zachary Quinto told Pedestrian.TV on Friday:
“As a member of the LGBT community myself, I was disappointed by the fact that George was disappointed. I get it that he has had his own personal journey and has his own personal relationship with this character, but … as we established in the first Star Trek film in 2009, we’ve created an alternate universe. My hope is that eventually George can be strengthened by the enormously positive response from especially young people who are heartened by and inspired by this really tasteful and beautiful portrayal of something that I think is gaining acceptance and inclusion in our societies across the world, and should be.”
There is no need for “eventually” because Mr. Takei already said he is “delighted” there is a gay character, Mr. Quinto. Therefore, Spock, it is “logical” to conclude that you are purposefully twisting the man’s stance like a petulant child because he wasn’t on board with the decision.
Simon Pegg was also offered his best straw man argument for the Guardian on Friday:
“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?”
Again, it cannot be stressed enough that Simon Pegg and his team went to Mr. Takei for his advice and decades of experience with the character and Gene Roddenberry. They went to the original Sulu, defied him, and now pretend as if people won’t logically differentiate between the old and the new by calling Mr. Pegg’s version “gay Sulu.”
No one calls Captain Holt from the television show Brooklyn 99 “the gay Captain.” He’s just “Holt.” Why? Because the writers have done an excellent job.
If Brooklyn 99 is is reimagined in 25 years and writers make him straight, then people who loved the original will call him “straight Holt.” Lesson: Don’t mess with the source material.
Marvel Comics made the same mistake with Iceman. The character has been around for decades, but writer Brian Michael Bendis decided to make him gay overnight. Critics who said it was lazy writing and disrespectful to the source material then faced the kind of backlash now experienced by George Takei.
George Takei is finding out what the rest of us have known for a long time: If you dare to disagree with activist-writers, then you will be demonized. If you dare to show any kind of reverence for source material, then you will be slimed as “homophobic” or “on the wrong side of history.” Their “right side of history” is defined as “those who agree with us.”
I hope the original Sulu sticks to this guns on this one because he has no reason to apologize. If anyone should apologize, then it’s those who came to him for his advice, led him to believe they would take his recommendation, and then did the exact opposite.