Comic-Con: 'Star Trek: Discovery' Boss Bryan Fuller Responds to the Sulu Gay Controversy

Star Trek (2009)-John Cho-Photofest-H 2016
Photofest/Paramount Pictures

A furor has been brewing in the Star Trek universe: The new film Star Trek Beyond will portray Lt. Sulu (John Cho) as a gay man, and George Takei, who played Sulu on the original Trek series, called the decision “really unfortunate” — despite being gay himself.

As the showrunner of the upcoming CBS All Access TV series Star Trek: Discovery (and a gay man himself), Bryan Fuller weighed in on the controversy Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con.

First, Fuller defended Takei’s right to feel defensive about his character. “I think when you’re an actor, you’re playing a role from a specific direction,” he told The Hollywood Reporter at a press event following the Star Trek 50th anniversary panel. “It is that interpretation that you worked with, with the creator of the show, that has been cemented in your mind. So I think he is absolutely entitled to feel that way, because I absolutely understand why he feels that way.”

But Fuller does think the decision to reveal Sulu as gay is a step in the right direction. “I think the bigger picture is that we need gay representation," he said. "And the fact that they embraced that idea and made John Cho’s portrayal as Sulu a gay man was a lovely move of inclusivity.”

Plus, to get totally geeky about it, both answers can be right, technically. “With the science-fiction extrapolation of one universe to the other and the fluidity of sexuality, it feels like there’s an explanation that both of those things exist,” said Fuller. “Because George Takei’s Sulu in the prime universe is a heterosexual man, and John Cho’s Sulu in the Kelvin universe is a homosexual man, it proves that sexuality is not a solid-state situation.”

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