Zachary Quinto Disappointed in George Takei’s Stance on Gay ‘Star Trek’ Character
When it was revealed that Star Trek character Sulu would be in a same sex relationship in Star Trek Beyond, no one expected gay rights activist George Takei (a homosexual himself) to be upset — least of all Zachary Quinto.
After the announcement, Takei (the original Sulu) went on record saying he tried to talk the filmmakers out of the decision because it did not align with creator Gene Roddenberry’s original vision.
Explained Takei, “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.”
In response to Takei’s feelings, new Spock Zachary Quinto — himself openly gay — said he was disappointed in the Star Trek alum.
I was disappointed by the fact that George was disappointed. Any member of the LGBT community that takes issue with the normalized and positive portrayal of members of our community in Hollywood and in mainstream blockbuster cinema…I get it that he has had his own personal journey and has his own personal relationship with this character, but, you know, as we established in the first Star Trek film in 2009, we’ve created an alternate universe, and 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.
Trek writer and actor Simon Pegg is obviously on Quinto’s side. Said Pegg of the decision:
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?
Justin Lin, Doug Jung and I loved the idea of it being someone we already knew because the audience have a pre-existing opinion of that character as a human being, unaffected by any prejudice. Their sexual orientation is just one of many personal aspects, not the defining characteristic. Also, the audience would infer that there has been an LGBT presence in the Trek Universe from the beginning (at least in the Kelvin timeline), that a gay hero isn’t something new or strange. It’s also important to note that at no point do we suggest that our Sulu was ever closeted, why would he need to be? It’s just hasn’t come up before.