So we all know that Star Trek Beyond decided to make the character, Hikaru Sulu, gay. They didn’t think the actor who originated the part, George Takei, would object. As he himself is an out LGBT activist. But Takei wasn’t pleased saying it was “a twisting of [Star Trek creator] Gene [Roddenberry]’s creation.”
Well John Cho has plenty to say. He spoke to Esther Zuckerman for The AV Club he had some concerns about this twist in the character saying
George was very important to me as a kid. Seeing his face on TV as an Asian American kid in Houston, Texas, in the early ’80s, was very impactful for me.
I was concerned that Asians and Asian Americans might see it as a sort of continuing feminization of Asian men. Asian American men, Asian men have been basically eunuchs in American cinema and television, and I thought maybe it would be seen as a continuation of that.
But the most pleasant surprise was that John Cho requested his husband in the film be Asian. Saying
The reason was that I grew up with some gay Asian male friends. You don’t really see Asian men together very often. It’s very rare in life. I’ve always felt that there was some extra cultural shame to having two Asian men together, because it was so difficult to come out of the closet, so difficult to be gay and Asian, that they couldn’t really bring themselves… It’s easier to run away from people that look like your family. I wanted the future to be where it was completely normal and therefore, aside from the gender, they look like a traditional heterosexual couple. So that relationship, to me, the optics of it are that it looks very traditional on the one hand and very radical on the other.
To read the rest of the interview go to John Cho on representation and his concerns with gay Sulu