Hikaru Sulu is the First Openly Gay ‘Star Trek’ Character

Fifty years later, Star Trek finally has its first openly gay main character.

In 1966, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry presented his vision of an idyllic future for the human race, in which prejudice was (mostly) a thing of the past. The original series imagined a spaceship crew in the future that incorporated multiple nationalities and species. It featured a Russian working together with Americans at the height of the real-life Cold War, as well as the first interracial kiss in television history, right in the middle of the Civil Rights revolution. In short, it is a series that has long been associated with progressive social thinking.

But as the years went on, fans began to notice that despite the otherwise inclusive message of Star Trek, none of the characters in the series were ever depicted as homosexual. This despite the fact that one of the cast members of the original series, George Takei, would eventually come out of the closet and become a respected LGBTQ activist.

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

So it is perhaps fitting – albeit overdue – that George Takei’s Star Trek character Hikaru Sulu will be openly gay in the upcoming film Star Trek Beyond. The character has been taken over by actor John Cho in the rebooted feature film franchise, who made the revelation in a recent interview with The Herald Sun

“I liked the approach,” John Cho said. “Which was not to make a big thing out it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicize one’s personal orientations.”

Hikaru Sulu is in a same-sex relationship in Star Trek Beyond, and is also the father of a young daughter. This is consistent with the existing canon of the Star Trek universe, in which Sulu’s daughter – Demora Sulu – eventually took her father’s place at the helm of The Enterprise-B, as seen at the beginning of the 1994 film Star Trek Generations, in which she was played by actress Jacqueline Kim.

Top Photo: Paramount Pictures

William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and Canceled Too Soon, and watch him on the weekly YouTube series Most Craved, Rapid Reviews and What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.