'Star Trek's' Pegg Calls Debate With Takei Over Sulu's Sexuality A 'Great Discussion to Have'

Earlier this month, it was revealed that "Star Trek Beyond" will establish that Enterprise crew member Sulu as gay; this makes Sulu the first openly gay character in "Star Trek's" 50-year history. But original Sulu actor and LGBT activist George Takei expressed his disappointment in the news, saying the he would have preferred to see a totally new gay character introduced rather than altering "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry original creation. Takei's comments lead to responses from "Star Trek Beyond" actor/co-writer Simon Pegg, as well as current Spock actor Zachary Quinto. Now, new comments from Pegg given to members of the press try to reframe the debate around Sulu's sexuality.

"By the way, that whole thing with George, people like to make things into a spat," said Pegg. "George and I email all the time, with big, long, lovely discussions about it, and on great terms. We were never shouting at each other or anything like that. And it's a great discussion to have, so I'm really happy with the way that it's been talked about and responded to, and I'm still a huge fan of GT, for sure."

In a statement earlier this month to The Guardian, Pegg said he believed that a new gay character might be viewed as “tokenism”: “[George is] right, it is unfortunate, it’s unfortunate that the screen version of the most inclusive, tolerant universe in science fiction hasn’t featured an LGBT character until now. We could have introduced a new gay character, but he or she would have been primarily defined by their sexuality, seen as the ‘gay character,’ rather than simply for who they are, and isn’t that tokenism?”

Pegg wrote that he attempted to sidestep what he viewed as "tokenism" by establishing that an original crew member, a character fans have known for 50 years, is gay “because the audience have a pre-existing opinion of that character as a human being, unaffected by any prejudice.”

Directed by Justin Lin, “Star Trek Beyond” hits theaters on July 22.

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