A lot of people were surprised by George Takei’s reaction that the character he originated in the original “Star Trek” would be outed as gay in the upcoming “Star Trek: Beyond.”
One person who really scratched his head over the reaction was none other than producer J.J. Abrams, who completely disagreed with the 79-year-old actor on how Trek creator Gene Roddenberry would receive news of having an original character come out of the closet.
“I have nothing but respect for the man,” Abrams said of Takei during an interview with The Huffington Post. “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.”
So why did Takei have such a negative reaction? Abrams thinks it’s more to do with Takei himself then the actual inclusion of a gay character after 50 years.
“I think it may be his perception of having played a character a certain way,” Abrams said. “It might mean something personally to him.”
Since making his comments last week, Takei has slightly backed off a little bit. He wrote on Facebook that he wanted to explain to fans why he was being a “sourpuss.”
“Let me be clear,” Takei said. “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.”
Takei reiterated, however, that he prefer a new character be introduced as gay, not an existing one from the original series.
“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,” he said. “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.”
What Roddenberry’s vision was, only Roddenberry himself really knew. But the Great Bird of the Galaxy was always a champion for inclusivity, Abrams said, and if he had been given an opportunity to make one of his original characters gay, he likely would’ve done it.
“It feels like that is classic Roddenberry, so I don’t know what or why George Takei would take issue with it,” Abrams said. “I understand he’s backtracked a little bit. But I love the way Simon Pegg, Doug Jung and Justin Lin did it. Doug Jung, who’s the co-writer, actually plays the husband of Sulu. I think it’s something I’m really proud of.”
To read the full interview, check out The Huffington Post by clicking here.
“Star Trek: Beyond” opens July 22.