When told that Hikaru Sulu would be gay in Star Trek: Beyond, John Cho had some concerns about the decision.
first of all, he was worried about how George Takei would react to the change in the character that he played in the original series. “My concern was actually that he would feel like we were violating his personal life or usurping his personal life, because his character is straight but he’s gay,” said Cho. “I was concerned that he might feel like we were lifting from his personal life.”
While Takei wasn’t thrilled with the change in the character’s sexuality, he was not offended at that and was more concerned with changing an existing character.
Cho was also worried about “how Asians would view” the decision and whether the change “might be accidentally implying that sexual orientation was a choice.”
“Because it’s the same genetic person but in an alternate timeline, and (Sulu) has different sexual orientations in both, (I) thought that we might be saying the wrong thing about sexual orientation,” he said.
But Cho was relieved by the reception to the movie. “It doesn’t feel like a bombshell at all, which is, I think, hopefully where we’re going as a planet and as a species. I think if we had made a thing out of it in the way it was filmed, that in ten years we’d look back and it would feel anachronistic and out of time. Now, the movie can age well and hopefully ten years from now, this sort of thing is common in film and in society.”