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Mr. Sulu Revealed As First Gay Star Trek Character In Film Franchise

Actor John Cho will portray the first gay Star Trek character in the film Franchise.

Cho, who plays Mr. Hikaru Sulu, will be the first actor to protray a gay character in the franchise in Star Trek Beyond. The story sees Sulu as a father to a young daughter, who has a same sex partner. Cho said of the character’s depiction –

“I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out of it,” Cho told the Australian newspaper The Herald Sun during the press tour for the film. “[That] is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicize one’s personal orientations.”

The change comes as tribute to original Sulu actor George Takei, who came out as gay in 2005, long after his role in the original TV series. Fellow actor and writer, Simon Pegg, along with director Justin Lin were in charge of the change, and nod to the Takei.

In 2015, Takei told TIME on the issue  –

“I did very privately bring up the issue of gays and lesbians. And he was certainly, as a sophisticated man, mindful of that, but he said — in one episode we had a biracial kiss, Captain Kirk and Uhura had a kiss.”

gay star trek
George Takei (left) and John Cho as Hikaru Sulu

“That show was literally blacked out in the South — Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia didn’t air that; our ratings plummeted,” Takei continued. “It was the lowest-rated episode that we had. And [Roddenberry] said, ‘I’m treading a fine tight wire here. I’m dealing with issues of the time. I’m dealing with the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and I need to be able to make that statement by staying on the air.’ He said, ‘If I dealt with that issue I wouldn’t be able to deal with any issue because I would be canceled.'”

Thankfully, we live in different times now.

Star Trek Beyond flies into theaters July 22, 2016.

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