Zachary Quinto defends gay Star Trek twist after George Takei speaks out
Zachary Quinto has joined Star Trek writer Simon Pegg in defending a gay twist in the upcoming Star Trek film.
The third instalment of the Star Trek reboot series is due for release later this month, with Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana reprising their roles as the Enterprise crew.
John Cho, who plays the role of Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu made famous by George Takei, said in an interview this week that the character would be revealed to be gay in the upcoming film.
Takei has been a long-time proponent of LGBT characters in the Star Trek universe, but attacked the decision as “twisting” the original universe. He said he had urged the team to “create a character who has a history of being gay, rather than Sulu, who had been straight all this time, suddenly being revealed as being closeted”.
But Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock in the reboot films and is openly gay, defended the plot choice.
He said: “As a member of the LGBT community myself, I was disappointed by the fact that George was disappointed.
“Any member of the LGBT community that takes issue with the normalised and positive portrayal of members of our community in Hollywood and in mainstream blockbuster cinema… I get it that he has had his own personal journey and has his own personal relationship with this character but, you know, as we established in the first Star Trek film in 2009, we’ve created an alternate universe.
“My hope is that eventually George can be strengthened by the enormously positive response from especially young people, who are heartened by and inspired by this really tasteful and beautiful portrayal of something that I think is gaining acceptance and inclusion in our societies across the world, and should be.”
Writer Simon Pegg previously defended the decision, writing: “I have huge love and respect for George Takei, his heart, courage and humour are an inspiration.
“However, with regards to his thoughts on our Sulu, I must respectfully disagree with him.
“He’s 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.
More from PinkNews
“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?”
He added:”Justin Lin, Doug Jung and I loved the idea of it being someone we already knew because the audience have a pre-existing opinion of that character as a human being, unaffected by any prejudice.
“Their sexual orientation is just one of many personal aspects, not the defining characteristic.
“Also, the audience would infer that there has been an LGBT presence in the Trek Universe from the beginning (at least in the Kelvin timeline), that a gay hero isn’t something new or strange.
“It’s also important to note that at no point do we suggest that our Sulu was ever closeted, why would he need to be? It’s just hasn’t come up before.”