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Comic Legends: How Vonda McIntyre's First Name for Sulu Became Canon

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COMIC LEGEND:

Peter David's comic book adaptation of Star Trek VI helped to get Vonda McIntyre's first name for Sulu made canon.

STATUS:

True

The world of science fiction lost a great voice when the amazing Vonda McIntyre passed away earlier this month. McIntyre was a multiple Nebula Award-winning author, with her novel, Dreamsnake, capturing both the 1979 Nebula Award AND the 1979 Hugo Award.

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She was also an acclaimed writer of Star Trek novels (she wrote the novelizations for the first three Star Trek films).

She wrote one of the earliest original Star Trek novels, with the beloved Star Trek novel, The Entropy Effect.

In that novel, she gave Sulu the first name of Hikaru....

There was a bit of a kerfuffle at the time about whether she was even ALLOWED to do that, which she explained to iO9 a while back:

The only potential glitch in the Star Trek books came about because I couldn't figure out how to write a love scene where the protagonists called each other by their surnames. So I gave Mr. Sulu a first name, "Hikaru," which is from The Tale of Genji. I was blissfully unaware of the glitch till long after the fact; someone at Paramount objected to the idea of the character's having a given name, for reasons unclear to me. David had the good idea of asking Gene Roddenberry and George Takei their opinion, and both of them said "Go for it" or words to that effect. And so Mr. Sulu has a first name.

However, while the name was allowed for the novel, Sulu continued to be just called "Sulu" in the Star Trek films.

This changed with the help of Peter David.

David, of course, was an acclaimed writer of Star Trek novels and comics. His original Star Trek run for DC saw him do some Sulu character development...

Later, David was doing the comic book adaptation of Star Trek VI (after also adapting Star Trek V), which is where Director Nicholas Meyer finally allowed Sulu to become a captain...

Well, David was obviously familiar with McIntyre's work and after visiting the set of the film, he persuaded Meyer to add "Hikaru" to the film and Meyer did so. It, of course, was also in David's adaptation...

So Sulu's first name was now canon!

Very cool stuff.

A nice tribute to a wonderful writer. Vonda McIntyre will be greatly missed.

Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed - Were Anna and Elsa not originally sisters in Frozen?

Check back soon for the final part of this week's Comic Book Legends Revealed!

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