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Star Trek's Mr. Sulu Is the Franchise's First Officially LGBT Character

But don't expect a big coming-out moment

Liz Raftery

Star Trek's Hikaru Sulu (John Cho) will come out as gay in the upcoming Star Trek Beyond, according to Australia's Herald Sun.

Cho made the announcement while in Sydney promoting the upcoming film, which will be released Stateside on July 22. Writers Simon Pegg and Justin Lin (who's also directing the movie) decided to make Mr. Sulu gay as an homage to George Takei, who originally portrayed the USS Enterprise crew member in the 1960s TV series, and several subsequent movies.

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Fans shouldn't expect a big coming-out moment for Sulu, however. His male partner is introduced seamlessly in the film. "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," Cho said to the Herald Sun.

CBS Photo Archive, CBS via Getty Images

The stars also paid tribute to their former cast member Anton Yelchin, who played Chekhov in the three latest Star Trek movies and was killed last month in a freak accident when he was crushed by his car.

"This feels like it should be a time for celebration not just of the film but of him, his extraordinary talent and the beautiful man he was," actor Karl Urban said.