How Leonard Nimoy’s Spock made Sulu gay in Star Trek Beyond

The cosmic ballet goes on.

Star Trek Beyond Zoe Saldana John Cho
Trekking Zoe Saldana and John Cho in Star Trek Beyond. Image Picture Paramount

The new Star Trek movie is in the midst of some controversy over the sexuality of USS Enterprise helmsman Hikaru Sulu.

Actor John Cho revealed that Star Trek Beyond will portray the character as gay, with a male partner and an adopted daughter to boot.

Original Sulu star George Takei, himself a gay man, voiced his displeasure at the character switch, saying it was going against Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s intention.

“I’m delighted that there’s a gay character,” 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.”

Cue panic among the Star Trek marketing team who, in the year the franchise is celebrating its 50th anniversary, are having to deal with an apparent rift in the cast.

Stepping forward to save the day is Simon Pegg, co-writer and Scotty in Beyond, who’s come up with a lengthy, detailed explanation as to why Cho’s Sulu isn’t exactly like the original.

Long story short: the 2009 reboot saw Leonard Nimoy’s time-travelling Spock from the Prime Universe create an alternate timeline (Kelvin Universe) that shifted the goal posts for the new continuity.

“Spock’s incursion from the Prime Universe created a multidimensional reality shift.”

If you think that’s complicated, allow Simon Pegg to explain further in geekily scientific fashion.

“Sure, we experience time as a contiguous series of cascading events but perception and reality aren’t always the same thing,” he wrote on his website.

“Spock’s incursion from the Prime Universe created a multidimensional reality shift. The rift in space/time created an entirely new reality in all directions, top to bottom, from the Big Bang to the end of everything. As such this reality was, is and always will be subtly different from the Prime Universe.”

Pegg continued by describing Trek as “a playground for the new and the progressive and I know in my heart, that [Star Trek creator] Gene Roddenberry would be proud of us for keeping his ideals alive”.

Infinite diversity in infinite combinations, this was his dream, that is our dream, it should be everybody’s,” he said.

The cosmic ballet goes on…

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Loaded digital media manager Simon Reynolds has written about film and entertainment for various leading websites since 2008. Follow Simon at @simonreyn

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