Star Trek Beyond’s Hikara Sulu will be revealed as gay in the third installment of the sci-fi reboot as a nod to the role’s original actor and openly gay activist, George Takei.
Sulu, played by John Cho in Beyond, will be shown to have a daughter with a same-sex partner, Cho revealed in an interview while promoting the movie in Sydney.
“I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out it,” Cho told The Herald Sun, “which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicize one’s personal orientations.”
Takei was closeted during his time on the show, but later came out in the early 2000s and has been a strong voice for LGBT rights. In 2015, he revealed that he had approached Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry about gays and lesbians on the show. The show had already pushed serious cultural boundaries when an episode aired the first interracial kiss on television.
Takei said that the creators worried if they went too far, they would lose the show.
“But I think we’re getting closer to that utopian society that Gene Roddenberry visualized,” Takei said last year, “much more rapidly than even the technology.”
Star Trek Beyond premieres in theaters July 22.