More than 20 years after Gene Roddenberry promised to spotlight LGBT characters in Star Trek: The Next Generation, the franchise is getting its first official gay character as Star Trek Beyond will reveal that Enterprise Helmsman Hikaru Sulu has a same-sex partner with whom he has a child.
Roddenberry's promise never came to fruition on Star Trek: TNG, though the show did attempt to show non-traditional gender dynamics and broached the topic of homosexuality, but the reveal in Star Trek Beyond will reportedly be made in accordance with Roddenberry's vision of gay and lesbian crewmembers whose sexuality is a non-issue.
“I liked the approsach, which was not to make a big thing out it,” Sulu actor John Cho told the Melbourne Herald Sun. “Which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicise one’s personal orientations.”
According to Cho, the choice to make Sulu gay was made as a tribute to actor George Takei. Takei played the character in the original Star Trek series and subsequent movies, and has become a vocal activist for gay rights since coming out in 2005. Star Trek Beyond castmember Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock, is also openly gay.
Star Trek Beyond premieres in theaters July 21.