In the movement for marriage equality, one of the things that helped change a lot of minds on the subject was George Takei coming out of the closet. Not everybody has a gay friend, but almost everyone knows the man that piloted the Enterprise on its five-year mission and follow-up movies, and when people found out that the man that played Sulu has gay and in a committed relationship for three decades, it made a lot of people re-think their opinion. So in a classy touch, the new Star Trek film Star Trek Beyond will pay tribute to Takei’s quiet activism by revealing that John Cho‘s iteration of the character is a family man with a husband and daughter.
While talking to the Herald Sun in Australia, Cho revealed that Beyond will show Sulu as a family man, in a scene that quietly let the character reveal that he was in a committed gay relationship. “I liked the approach, 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,” said Cho.
You might recall that Sulu was revealed to have a daughter in Star Trek Generations who followed in her father’s footsteps to take the helm of a new Enterprise, interestingly though, nothing was mentioned about who Sulu might have raised a child with. The decision to make Sulu gay is a fitting tribute to Takei, but what makes this even more of a trailblazing move is that Sulu will be the first gay major character in Star Trek. Period. Representation for the LGBT community has been fairly lacking in the Star Trek universe, so this makes a powerful statement of inclusiveness and equality, which gets to the very heart of what Star Trek does best. No word on what original Sulu Takei thinks, but let’s assume he gives it a hearty “Oh my…”
Star Trek Beyond will be in theaters everywhere on July 22.