The Lie That Led To George Takei's Favorite Star Trek Scene

"The Naked Time" was either the fourth or the seventh episode of "Star Trek," depending on whether you adhere to broadcast order or production order. For the record, true Trekkies go by production order, while total losers go by broadcast order. In the episode, Kirk, Spock, and Lt. Disposable beam down to the planet of Psi 2000, only to find the planet's small research team mysteriously frozen to death. While there, they also contract a mysterious virus, which they take back up to the Enterprise. The virus, which spreads through touch, causes the infected to behave like they're drunk, lowering inhibitions, and inspiring unruly behavior among the crew.

In one of the episode's most famous scenes, Lt. Hikaru Sulu (George Takei), with his inhibitions lowered and his jersey joyously jettisoned, has given into his hidden D'Artagnan fantasies, taking up a rapier and charging about the hallways of the Enterprise, challenging crewmates to duels. The scene became so notorious and iconic that it inspired a swordfighting sequence in J.J. Abrams' 2009 "Star Trek" film, wherein Sulu (now John Cho) grapples with a baddie on a laser platform. 

"The Naked Time" is also actor George Takei's favorite episode.

The Sword Scene

Takei tells this story in a video interview with the Television Academy: The writer of "The Naked Time," John D.F. Black, originally intended for Sulu to take up a Samurai sword. When visiting the "Star Trek" set, Black told Takei about his plans. Takei was diplomatic about it, pointing out that a samurai sword was "ethnically consistent," seeing as Takei was of Japanese ancestry. But he also had a suggestion. Takei, a 20th century man, didn't play samurai as a kid, recalling, rather, that he and friends would play Robin Hood in his backyard, inspired by the 1938 film "The Adventures of Robin Hood." His mom even made him a Robin Hood costume. Takei says he got to play Robin Hood because it was his backyard and he had the costume. The other kids had to be the other Merry Men.

Sulu, Takei figured, was raised in the 23rd century, and wouldn't necessarily be inspired by samurai either, so he suggested to Black that Sulu have a rapier instead. Takei, game and energized, would duel his way into one of the series' more notable scenes.

Actors Are Masters at Everything

Could George Takei fence? Well, in his words, yes. But, as we learned from the recent film "Licorice Pizza," if you ask an actor if they can do something, they will automatically say yes just to get the role. To quote Takei: "You never ask an actor if we can do anything, because if it's related to the part, we are masters at it. I said [to the screenwriter, about fencing] 'Oh, it's my favorite sport! I used to fence when I was young!" 

Takei then arranged to take his first formal fencing lesson at Falcon Studios on Sunset Blvd., and Takei's instructor, by magical coincidence, was Ralph Faulkner, the fight choreographer for "The Adventures of Robin Hood" and Basil Rathbone's fight double in that film. "The Naked Time" not only permitted George Takei to display his fencing skills and relive an actual childhood play scenario of his, but put him in contact with the very swordfighter he grew up watching. 

It's no wonder "The Naked Time" is Takei's favorite episode.