Star Trek Beyond: John Cho (Gay Sulu) Loves George Takei Who Originated Role

Actor John Cho hasn’t spoken to George Takei since the original Mr. Sulu expressed his displeasure with the portrayal of the character as gay in the franchise’s newest feature-film installment. But he plans to.

“I haven’t talked to him,” Cho said Wednesday at the world premiere of Star Trek Beyond at Comic-Con in San Diego. “I’ve been meaning to reach out, but it’s been pretty bananas. There’s no hatchet to bury. I love him. That’s not going to change. And I hope he doesn’t think any less of me, even though he disagrees about the direction that we’ve taken in this movie.”

Cho, who plays Sulu in the current series of movies, revealed earlier this month that the filmmakers decided to include a scene in “Beyond” showing Sulu with his husband and daughter as a hat-tip to Takei, a gay-rights advocate who married partner Brad Altman in 2008. Takei soon after expressed displeasure with the narrative choice, saying that it deviated from “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision for the character.

Doug Jung, who wrote the screenplay for the film with Simon Pegg, said Wednesday of Takei, “I understood his point of view. I thought it was slightly misconstrued in how people took it. But he’s certainly entitled to his opinion, and we all have such tremendous respect for him.”

The premiere Wednesday was the first outdoor IMAX presentation of a film, and featured live performance from the San Diego Symphony. During the film’s introduction, executive producer J.J. Abrams paid tribute to star Anton Yelchin, who died in June in freak accident at his home in Studio City.

“There is something wrong tonight,” Abrams said. “There is something missing tonight, and there is someone missing. Anton Yelchin should be here.” Abrams acknowledged Yelchin’s parents, who were in the audience. “We love their son,” he said.

Star Zachary Quinto paid tribute to the original Mr. Spock, Leonard Nimoy, who died in February.  “I just want to take a moment to honor him, to acknowledge him, to celebrate him and to love him,” Quinto said. “We all carry him with us in our hearts tonight.”