Tag Archives: Star Trek

George Takei Pitched a Gay-Themed Star Trek Episode but the Idea was Shot Down, Actor Says

Ever wondered what your favourite shows would be like if they were exactly as they are now…but gayer?

Plenty of us are guilty of that in this day and age because it seems antiquated for shows to cover the struggles of every heterosexual character yet simultaneously fail to address the issues of those who are anything other than straight, or just failing to introduce queer characters altogether.

George Takei is of this thinking too it seems as the actor, who is best known for playing Hikaru Sulu in the hit sci-fi TV series, Star Trek, revealed in a recent interview that he once even pitched a gay-themed episode of the show in an effort to get Star Trek to tackle the important subjects.

On an episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, the actor noted that Star Trek was well-known for how it pushed the boat out on issues like race, with Takei referring to a scene in which (interracial characters) Kirk and Uhura kissed that was so controversial – specifically in the conservative South – that the scene was “blacked out” there and the show’s ratings “plummeted”, he says. As for how he’d wanted homosexuality to be covered on the show (the 60s – the decade in which Star Trek aired – were far less progressive than in 2014), Takei suggested that it be addressed in a metaphor,

“Using a metaphor. [Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry] said ‘I know we do use metaphors to deal with contemporary issues’, but he was treading a very tight rope because of the fact that he was dealing with issues. Television is not known for dealing with contemporary issues. He said that if we pushed the envelope too far, then we wouldn’t be able to deal with any issues at all”

George Takei

While that’s unfortunate, Takei says that at the time, he shrugged off the reaction “because [he knew the reality of television.” He also took solace in the fact that almost all of his Star Trek cast members knew he was gay (Takei did not publicly come out until 2005) bar William Shatner, whom the actor has been feuding with for the better part of 40 years,

“My colleagues did know I was gay, but they were cool about it. Except for one member of the cast [Shatner]… it went right over his head. He was the only one who didn’t know.”

George Takei

I *Heart* Kate Mulgrew – The Vision of the World

Star Trek: Voyager, unlike its predecessors and successors in the long-running science fiction space opera television series, was less explorative and philosophical. Rather than the crew of a luxury space ship journeying through a galaxy and having adventures that thinly veiled commentary on the human condition, The Voyager had found itself caught in a quadrant of outer space by accident. The setting sparked a shift in focus to more urgent and immediate goals of fending off the monstrously unfriendly denizens of the quarter, and the crew members of The Voyager tended to have dodgier character histories than the crews of other Starfleet ships—prompting another unique focus, that of character development.

The captain of this particular lineage of adventuring was Admiral Kathryn Janeway, who has the distinction of playing the most morally-ambiguous captain in the Star Trek franchise, as well as the first and only female captain in the franchise to date.

In a 2002 interview with Andrew Scahill from Out In America, Mulgrew testified to having approached show producer Rick Berman “many, many times over the years about getting a gay character on the show—one whom we could really love, not just a guest star.” The show ran for seven years without a regular character who was gay. “I’m suspecting that on Enterprise—” a spinoff of Star Trek succeeding Voyager “—they will do something to this effect. I couldn’t get it done on mine,” said Mulgrew. “And I am sorry for that.”

Mulgrew returned to earth and to television in her role of Galina Reznikov, nicknamed “Red”, from Orange Is The New Black, a comedy-drama about women’s prison life that is groundbreaking in its portrayal of incarcerated women and lesbian relationships.

Mulgrew has also acted in a number of stageplays, from Desdemona in Shakespeare’s Othello, to the one-woman show that is Tea At Five (in which she played Katharine Hepburn), to Hester Saloman in Equus. She has lent her voice to animated series Batman and Gargoyles, as well as the Dragon Age video games.