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George Takei Slams Sulu's De-Gayed Portrayal

George Takei

"Not even a kiss," the out actor bemoaned of how Star Trek Beyond depicted the gay character.


George Takei has seen Star Trek Beyond. And he is not impressed by how its first obviously gay character is portrayed.

Prior to the film's release, the Star Trek legend, who originated the role of Sulu in the 1960s TV series, had criticized the new franchise's choice to make this character gay. Takei argued that this creative decision went against the wishes of the late creator, Gene Roddenberry, who would have written a new character to explore these themes.

"I'm delighted that there's a gay character," Takei said at the time. "Unfortunately, it's a twisting of Gene's creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it's really unfortunate."

After viewing Star Trek Beyond, Takei also found the depiction of Sulu's queerness lacking. In a new interview with Digital Spy, he said that Roddenberry would have found a more "imaginative" means of depicting gay life.

"They talked about Sulu becoming gay, but it was such a tentative thing," Takei said in response to the quiet scene in which Sulu's sexuality is revealed. "Shakespeare said it: Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

"Sulu comes back, picks up the little girl and hugs her, and then puts his arm around a guy and they walk off ... not even a kiss," he bemoaned. "Just hugging the baby and arm around the guy ... and it's over."

Takei maintained that Roddenberry "would've created a gay character who has his own history in this kind of society and explored what kind of issues he would have to deal with, and how he would've expressed himself, and how society would've dealt with him. All those potentials are there - and yet..."

In an earlier interview with Vulture, John Cho, who plays Sulu in Star Trek Beyond, revealed that the final version of the film was de-gayed. Cho expressed disappointment at the deletion of a "welcome-home kiss" scene with his character's partner, played by Doug Jung.

"It wasn't like a make-out session," he said. "We're at the airport with our daughter. It was a welcome-home kiss. I'm actually proud of that scene, because it was pretty tough. Obviously, I just met the kid, and then Doug is not an actor. I just wanted that to look convincingly intimate. We're two straight guys and had to get to a very loving, intimate place. It was hard to do on the fly. We had to open up. It came off well, in my view."

Star Trek Beyond is not the only recent movie to cut a same-sex smooch. The director of Tarzan revealed that a kiss between actors Alexander Skarsgard and Christoph Waltz was axed because it was "almost too much" for test audiences. A kiss between Kid Cudi and another male actor was also removed from last year's James White.

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.