While producers keep talking about how LGBT characters will one day show up in Marvel and Star Wars movies, another major franchise has beat them in the race for progress. Star Trek has always been associated with the phrase "to boldly go where no man has gone before," and now its latest feature-film installment is boldly going where no film series of its kind has gone before.
Star Trek Beyond will finally reveal that the character Hikaru Sulu is gay.
John Cho, who portrays the Enterprise helmsman in the current incarnation, disclosed Sulu's sexual orientation to Australia's Herald Sun. He has a husband and a daughter, and it's just played as a matter of fact in the movie. "I liked the approach," Cho says, "which was not to make a big thing out it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicize one’s personal orientations."
It was costar/writer Simon Pegg and director Justin Lin's idea, as a way of paying homage to the original Sulu, George Takei. He officially came out as gay in 2005 when same-sex marriage became a big issue in California. But he wasn't too secretive about his homosexuality, which had been known to some fans and coworkers for decades. He met his husband in the early 1980s when both men were members of a gay running club. Takei, however, has expressed disappointment in the choice to make Sulu gay, instead wishing the production had created a new character for the part.
Followers of Star Trek Beyond buzz already knew Sulu had a secret to be unveiled in the new movie. During a set visit report on Entertainment Tonight last January (see it below), Cho shared a prop photo of his character's daughter. He also hinted that there was something significant about that photo that we'd learn when the movie came out. Speculation grew, however, that the sequel would show the baby girl's mother, presumably also Sulu's wife.
Star Trek Beyond hits theaters on July 22.