Star Trek producer J.J. Abrams: George Takei has too much ‘baggage’
The producer says the original Sulu actor’s recent comments about the character’s sexuality are ‘preposterous’.
Producer J.J Abrams has hit out at Star Trek legend George Takei, after the openly gay actor caused controversy by criticising the decision to make his character Sulu gay in the franchise’s latest film.
“I feel that George Takei’s reaction ― I’m sure has more to do with George Takei, and the baggage he brings to the proceedings,” Abrams told Huffington Post.
“I think it may be his perception of having played a character a certain way.”
“It might mean something personally to him. I have nothing but respect for the man, but I think it’s a preposterous thing for, of all people, a ‘Star Trek’ actor — who’s come out himself — to say that Gene Roddenberry wouldn’t have wanted this.”
Mr Takei’s comments came after John Cho, who plays Sulu in the next film, Star Trek Beyond, said he will be the first openly gay character in the franchise.
The 79-year-old who played Sulu in the original 1960s television series, said he had “urged” the film’s director Justin Linn to “honour” the show’s creator, Gene Roddenberry and create a new LGBT character rather than make Sulu gay.
He said: “Unfortunately, it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.”
However, he later wrote a lengthy Facebook post, clarifying his position and saying headlines on the interview were “misleading”.
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“Let me be clear: I am not disappointed that there is a gay character in Star Trek. On the contrary, as I made clear, I am delighted that the Star Trek franchise has addressed this issue, which is truly one of diversity.
“It is thrilling to know that future generations will not see LGBTs go wholly unrepresented in the Trek universe.”
Zachary Quinto – who plays Spock in the reboot films and is openly gay – defended the plot choice, as did writer Simon Pegg and Gene Roddenberry’s own son.
Quinto said that “as a member of the LGBT community myself, I was disappointed by the fact that George was disappointed.”
Star Trek Beyond is the third in the rebooted series, with the first released in 2009.