LOS ANGELES -- The son of late "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry says his father would have been on board with an Enterprise crew member being portrayed as gay, but he's unsure if it should have been helmsman Hikaru Sulu.
Rod Roddenberry said his father would have been supportive of a gay "Trek" character and commended the "Star Trek Beyond" filmmakers for featuring an LGBT character. Roddenberry died in 1991.
"I think he would be 100 percent in favor of a gay character in 'Star Trek," said Roddenberry during an interview Tuesday. "There's so much going on in the world today. I think he would love any sort of social issue being brought into 'Star Trek.'"
"Star Trek Beyond" actor John Cho told Australia's Herald Sun last week that a scene in the upcoming film plainly presents Sulu with a male spouse raising an infant daughter.
More importantly, Cho explained, Sulu's sexuality is revealed in the film without making a fuss about it.
"I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicize one's personal orientations," he said.
However, original Sulu actor George Takei called the decision unfortunate. The openly gay 79-year-old actor told The Hollywood Reporter that he thought the character had been altered and would have preferred for filmmakers to create an entirely new gay character.
"I'm delighted that there's a gay character," Takei said. "Unfortunately, it's a twisting of Gene's creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it's really unfortunate."
"Star Trek Beyond" actor-screenwriter Simon Pegg defended the choice in a statement and said the filmmakers wanted an LGBT character to be "someone we already knew because the audience has a pre-existing opinion of that character as a human being, unaffected by any prejudice."
Roddenberry understands Takei's opinion that his father likely didn't intend for Sulu, who never had an on-screen love interest in the original TV and film series, to be gay.
"In a way, it's George's character," Roddenberry said. "I can understand why he feels strongly about it. I don't see why everyone is bickering about it. It's about (expletive) time. Let's just do it."
Roddenberry, who is serving as an executive producer on the upcoming "Star Trek" series on the CBS All Access online video service, said his father would have likely created an gay character to be featured in "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine." The spin-off of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" ran from 1993 to 1999.