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Simon Pegg, writer of new Star Trek film, responds to George Takei’s criticism of gay Sulu

Simon Pegg, writer of new Star Trek film, responds to George Takei’s criticism of gay Sulu

Simon Pegg 'respectfully' disagrees with George Takei

Actor and writer Simon Pegg has responded to the criticism by George Takei who slammed the decision to make Sulu, the character he made famous, gay.

Takei, who starred as Sulu from the 1960s to 1996, said the move was ‘really unfortunate’ and said his previous concerns to the director and writers were ignored.

In a statement to the Guardian, Pegg reiterated his respect for Takei.

‘I have huge love and respect for George Takei, his heart, courage and humour are an inspiration,’ he said. ‘However, with regards to his thoughts on our Sulu, I must respectfully disagree with him.’

Pegg added: ‘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. 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?’

George Takei annoyed at decision to make Sulu gay
George Takei annoyed at decision to make Sulu gay

Pegg continued: ‘[Director] Justin Lin, [co-writer] Doug Jung and I loved the idea of it being someone we already knew because the audience have a pre-existing opinion of that character as a human being, unaffected by any prejudice.

‘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.’

Pegg implied that if Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was alive, he would have also included a gay character.

John Cho stars as Sulu in Star Trek
John Cho stars as Sulu in Star Trek

‘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. Trek rightly gets a lot of love for featuring the first interracial kiss on US television, but Plato’s Stepchildren was the lowest rated episode ever,’ he said.

‘The viewing audience weren’t open minded enough at the time and it must have forced Roddenberry to modulate his innovation. His mantra was always “infinite diversity in infinite combinations”. If he could have explored Sulu’s sexuality with George, he no doubt would have. Roddenberry was a visionary and a pioneer but we choose our battles carefully.’

Pegg concluded by saying: ‘Our Trek is an alternate timeline with alternate details. Whatever magic ingredient determines our sexuality was different for Sulu in our timeline. I like this idea because it suggests that in a hypothetical multiverse, across an infinite matrix of alternate realities, we are all LGBT somewhere.

‘Whatever dimension we inhabit, we all just want to be loved by those we love (and I love George Takei). I can’t speak for every reality but that must surely true of this one. Live long and prosper.’