On Wednesday, John Cho made an appearance on "Today" to discuss his personal experience with “Star Trek.” Cho, who immigrated to Houston when he was 6, said he was always inspired by George Takei and saw him as a “beacon” for the Asian-American community. “I just didn’t see anyone on TV who looked like me, and then I saw George Takei being cool and piloting the spaceship on television,” Cho said.
Cho reprised his role as Hikaru Sulu in “Star Trek Beyond,” which was released July 22. The role was originally played by George Takei in the 1966 to 1969 original television series. The film was a source of anxiety for Cho. “I was so worried because it’s the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise and I really do want it to go for 50 more years," he said. "And I didn’t want to let the series down because I have so much respect for what’s come before us.”
The newest “Star Trek” has attracted some criticism from “Star Trek” purists — especially once it was revealed that Sulu would have a husband and daughter in this sequel. Some of the criticism came from George Takei himself.
However, Cho remained confident about his character’s development. “You know, I totally respect where [George Takei]’s coming from. He originated the role and he played — he was a gay man playing a straight character. And I can appreciate that … but the real takeaway has been how there hasn’t really been an LGBT character in the Star Trek universe and people have been very great about it. I mean, they really appreciated that move,” Cho said.
“Star Trek Beyond” is currently in theaters and debuted at the top of the box office with estimated ticket sales of nearly $60 million, according to comScore.