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George Takei: A new gay character might have been more impactful

George Takei, the original Sulu, is seen in

George Takei, the original Sulu, is seen in this photo. Credit: WireImage / Noam Galai

“Star Trek” icon and gay-rights advocate George Takei says he was quoted without full context when he told The Hollywood Reporter that having USS Enterprise navigator Sulu be gay in the upcoming movie was “a twisting of Gene’s creation” and “really unfortunate.”

Reiterating his statement last week that he was “delighted that there’s a gay character,” Takei, 79, wrote on Facebook Wednesday that, “On the specific question of Sulu being gay, when I was first approached with the concept, I responded that I hoped instead that [‘Star Trek’ creator] Gene Roddenberry’s original characters and their backgrounds would be respected.” A new character, “whose story could be fleshed out from scratch, rather than reinvented” would be, he feels, “even more impactful.”

He added, “While I understand that we are in an alternate timeline with the new ‘Trek’ movies, for me it seemed less than necessary to tinker with an existing character in order to fulfill Gene’s hope of a truly diverse ‘Trek’ universe. And while I am flattered that the character of Sulu apparently was selected as an homage to me, this was never about me or what I wanted. It was about being true to Gene’s vision and storytelling.”

Takei said the late Roddenberry “had wanted long ago to include LGBT characters, and we spoke personally and specifically about the lack of them. Gene understandably felt constrained by the sensitivities of the time. Some fifty years ago, even TV’s first interracial kiss, between Kirk and Uhura, caused our ratings to plummet as the show was censored across much of the South for that scene.”

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