Earlier in July, the Australia-based Herald Sun reported that Hikaru Sulu, played by John Cho, would have a husband and a daughter in "Star Trek Beyond." This husband will be Asian, according to a recent A.V. Club interview with Cho. In the interview, Cho also revealed that the husband will be portrayed by "Star Trek Beyond" screenwriter Doug Jung — and that Cho himself requested an Asian on-screen husband.
Cho said that the reasoning behind his request would be "a little Valentine to the gay Asian friends that [he] grew up with."
"I always felt it was harder being gay and Asian than any other combination. I thought the cultural stigma was the thickest on the Asian boys I knew," Cho told the Associated Press. "It would be appropriate that in the future it would look very much like what we tend to see in heterosexual families. It's kind of inside baseball, but that was important to me."
However, Cho also acknowledged the potential for backlash — especially from George Takei. Cho correctly anticipated that Takei might not appreciate the character development, since Takei had "crafted a straight character" for Sulu despite Takei's personal sexual preferences. Cho said he feared that making Sulu gay would imply that the filmmakers only saw Takei for his sexual orientation.
Beyond Takei's reaction, Cho also anticipated backlash from some in the Asian-American community, as the gay character could be seen as contributing to the "continuing feminization of Asian men." Cho also thought that the alternate timeline of the story would imply that "sexual orientation was a choice" in the future. Regardless of the concerns, Cho stands by his new character, affirming that they'd be "executing Roddenberry's intent: infinite diversity in infinite combinations."
"Star Trek Beyond" is scheduled to be released on July 22. It was directed by Justin Lin and written by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung.