Simon Pegg joins the Debate Over 'Star Trek Beyond''s Gay Sulu
Yesterday we learned that the next Star Trek film will include the series first ever openly gay character, in long-existing character in the universe Sulu. Original actor of the character, George Takei, who is a gay activist and is openly gay himself, has voiced criticism at the news.
He believes that the powers that be should have introduced an original character for the role, rather than tinkering with an already existing character, calling the whole thing "really unfortunate" and that it isn't true to creator Gen Rodenberry's vision.
Simon Pegg has now come out with a statement of his own to the UK's Guardian paper, stating he "respectfully disagreed" with the criticism and defends the move, which is partly a tribute to Takei.
“[Director] Justin Lin, [co-writer] Doug Jung and I loved the idea of [the gay character] being someone we already knew because the audience have a pre-existing opinion of that character as a human being, unaffected by any prejudice,” he said.
“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.”
Takei noted that taking this course of action is something Roddenberry would have considered. “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,” Pegg told the Guardian.
“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?
“I don’t believe Gene Roddenberry’s decision to make the prime timeline’s Enterprise crew straight was an artistic one, more a necessity of the time.”