Sulu is gay

Simon Pegg and George Takei have a respectful disagreement over Star Trek Beyond. Last week, actor John Cho said that Hikaru Sulu is gay in the Kelvin timeline. Most fans were delighted by the news, as director Justin Lin and screenwriters Simon Pegg and Doug Jung were attempting to preserve the progressive spirit of Gene Roddenberry‘s creation. George Takei, on the other hand, believes the decision is “unfortunate” and a “twisting of Gene’s creation.”

Pegg quickly responded to Takei’s comments, and now he’s followed up with a blog post that explains why they made Sulu an LGBTQ character without Takei’s blessing and why the Kelvin timeline means they’re not beholden to preexisting canon. Below, read a part of Pegg’s explanation.

Pegg wrote in his post, titled “A Word About Canon”: “With galaxies of respect to the great man, this is not his Sulu. John Cho does not play a young George Takei, nor does he play the same character George Takei played in the original series. He is a different Sulu. This brings me to the second point of contention, Canon.”

Making Sulu gay doesn’t blatantly contradict canon, but Pegg has reminded fans with questions of the Kelvin incident. The new timeline created by the Kelvin incident in the 2009 film led to “an entirely new reality in all directions,” so, even though Sulu was born before the timeline changed, that’s how his “fundamental humanity” got altered.

Here’s an excerpt from Pegg’s blog post (which you should read in its entirety):

With the Kelvin timeline, we are not entirely beholden to existing canon, this is an alternate reality and, as such is full of new and alternate possibilities. “BUT WAIT!” I hear you brilliant and beautiful super Trekkies cry, “Canon tells us, Hikaru Sulu was born before the Kelvin incident, so how could his fundamental humanity be altered? Well, the explanation comes down to something very Star Treky; theoretical, quantum physics and the less than simple fact that time is not linear. Sure, we experience time as a contiguous series of cascading events but perception and reality aren’t always the same thing. Spock’s incursion from the Prime Universe created a multidimensional reality shift. The rift in space/time created an entirely new reality in all directions, top to bottom, from the Big Bang to the end of everything. As such this reality was, is and always will be subtly different from the Prime Universe. I don’t believe for one second that Gene Roddenberry wouldn’t have loved the idea of an alternate reality (Mirror, Mirror anyone?). This means, and this is absolutely key, the Kelvin universe can evolve and change in ways that don’t necessarily have to follow the Prime Universe at any point in history, before or after the events of Star Trek ‘09, it can mutate and subvert, it is a playground for the new and the progressive and I know in my heart, that Gene Roddenberry would be proud of us for keeping his ideals alive. Infinite diversity in infinite combinations, this was his dream, that is our dream, it should be everybody’s.

This timeline allows Pegg and all involved to do whatever they want with these characters. It’s unfortunate Takei wasn’t pleased with the nod, but at least most Star Trek fans are onboard with Hikaru Sulu being gay, and what reason do they have not to be? Maybe Sulu was straight in Gene Roddenberry’s mind, but it’s difficult to see how changing the character’s sexual orientation is an “unfortunate twisting,” as it neither betrays who the character first was or Roddenberry’s intention with the series.

Star Trek Beyond opens in theaters July 22nd.

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