“Star Trek Beyond may be the third film in a blockbuster franchise based on several long-running television shows, but according to star John Cho, it’s still managed to find a way to make history in the Star Trek universe.
In an interview with Australia’s Herald Sun, Cho has revealed that the version of Sulu he plays in Star Trek Beyond — based on George Takei’s original character in Star Trek — is gay. That makes him the first openly gay character in Star Trek’s history.
Cho also said that Star Trek Beyond co-writer Simon Pegg(who also plays Scotty in the movie) and director Justin Linintended for the character’s sexual orientation to be a nod to Takei, who came out in 2005 after decades of silence and has been a vocal activist for gay rights ever since.
“I liked the approach,” said Cho of how Star Trek Beyondhandles Sulu’s sexuality, “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.”
But no matter how casual the inclusion of a gay crew member may be in the movie itself, the choice is a big one in terms of both the Star Trek canon — which has never before explicitly stated that a main crew member is anything but straight — and for sci-fi blockbusters in general, which still rarely include queer characters despite ostensibly taking place in worlds far removed from our Earth’s prejudices…”