John Cho: Sulu Is A Badass

We haven’t heard much from John Cho, but in a great new interview with Star Trek Magazine the new Sulu talks Trek. The actor reveals that he isn’t a hard core fan, but says he has “more than a casual association” with Trek. He has been reviewing DVDs, but feels that he should “let J.J. dictate” how he should approach the role. Although Cho didn’t reveal any plot points, some of his answers gave insights into the character of Sulu in the new Star Trek movie. (see below…minor spoilers)

On what landing the role means to him:

…as an Asian American actor, there are certain things that you are never going to be able to do. There are certain acting roles that you are never going to get, and one of them is playing a cowboy. This, to me, is a realization of that dream – going into space and that kind of thing.

On what attracts him to the role of Sulu

I guess the macho stuff: Sulu’s going to be fun because he’s extremely skilled and a badass, but for me I would say more importantly , its the bigger stuff

Regarding his preparations for the role [note interview conducted in early November]

I’m not up for a month or so [early December]. In the meantime, the last two weeks, I’ve been starting some fight training, which has been really fun. It’s just a level of commitment and learning that I’ve never had to do for any part. It’s been great.

Action hero Hikaru?
Sulu may be best known for looking over his right shoulder to see which way Kirk wants him to turn, but The TV series and films have hinted at his ‘badass’ side. Of course pilots are traditionally known for being mavericks and since we will see him even younger than it makes sense. Plus it has been established that Sulu has a thing for swords and guns. We know one thing for sure…don’t call him ‘Tiny.’

Sulu showing off his skills

The latest issue of Star Trek Magazine has much more from Cho as well as other good articles on the film, the new tour and much more. Pick it on newsstands now.

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Ty Webb
December 16, 2007 3:52 pm

Sulu is a badass. I love Sulu. I hope he gets some decent stuff in this film.

750 Mang
December 16, 2007 3:58 pm


Harry Ballz
December 16, 2007 4:06 pm

I can buy Sulu being a badass when he was young, but in the “dark edge” department, John Cho makes Scott Bakula look like Attila the Hun!! :)

December 16, 2007 4:11 pm

Yes, Sulu is definitely a badass! I’d love to see some asskickery out of Sulu in this film.

December 16, 2007 4:20 pm

Uh oh. A new cast member other than Quinto has just commented on their role. You know what that means? Yeah… It means the entire universe is about to explode. Way to go, jerk.

Where’s Jim Kirk when you need him?

I AM THX-1138
December 16, 2007 4:21 pm

I hope Cho get’s in the gym and puts on some muscle. Takei was pretty ripped when he was young and is still in pretty good shape. If I am to believe that Cho’s Sulu is a badass, then he should hit the BowFlex. He looked a little “tiny” in that H&K clip we recently saw.

Kirk's Girdle
December 16, 2007 4:40 pm

That second pic looks like Sulu getting some bad ass. Sorry.

December 16, 2007 4:41 pm

Whatever about how well-built he is, does he have the *voice* that Takei brought to the character that essentially became *part* of Sulu?

Kirk's Girdle
December 16, 2007 4:43 pm

And Sulu’s chop-socky fighting skills often brought him swift and humiliating defeat against Kirk.

I AM THX-1138
December 16, 2007 4:58 pm


Whatever yourself. The article is about John Cho wanting Sulu to be a badass which will be hard to believe if he looks like he has the body of a 10 year old girl.

Have James Earl Jones do the voice-over and he can sound like Darth Vader.

December 16, 2007 5:03 pm

9. Kirk’s Girdle – December 16, 2007

Like they were gonna let Sulu beat Kirk… who was the lead?… be real.

And your #7 comment…. really didn’t need to be said. True?

Sulu is a favorite of mine and hope the character gets more to do than drive and run the gas pedal.

Kirk's Girdle
December 16, 2007 5:09 pm

Yes, but Kirk beat him with one punch in both “Mirror, Mirror” and “Catspaw”.

And regarding my #7 comment, I could have been more subtle. Perhaps saying it looks like a scene from George’s home movies.

Harry Ballz
December 16, 2007 5:10 pm

Cho is built like a girl
Women look and want to hurl
He doesn’t do well in a fight
Usually fainting, all from fright
Him as Sulu, will we find a pearl?

Mike T.
December 16, 2007 5:14 pm

What! They insult Sisko again! The Star Trek magazine has Kirk, Picard, and Janeway. Heck they even left Archer out!

Jabob Slatter
December 16, 2007 5:15 pm

All that big guy has to do is pivot and put his left elbow into Tiny’s face. It’s not a convincing submission hold at all. That’s not the way for a little guy to beat a big guy. Unless the big guy is into the submission thing…

Kirk's Girdle
December 16, 2007 5:17 pm

Re #14. If you ask me, they’re insulting Kirk and Picard as well. Janeway’s damn big on the cover.

December 16, 2007 5:42 pm

I don’t see where someone’s sexual preference needs to be the subject of jokes.

December 16, 2007 6:04 pm

Kirk’s punches were always modified slaps.

December 16, 2007 6:06 pm

@18 Bitch slaps…

December 16, 2007 6:10 pm

Takei as Sulu was amazing!!!!

I look forward to seeing what Cho brings to this beloved character. I have high hopes.

And I agree with some earlier post, gonna miss Takei’s voice.

December 16, 2007 6:24 pm


December 16, 2007 6:29 pm

Gotta agree with #14. They put Janeway in the middle with the biggest photo? The biggest lightweight gets the biggest photo? What the heck is this?

December 16, 2007 6:30 pm


I don’t know, Why don’t you ask George Takei

Seriously, calm down, #7 was just making a friendly joke. It’s not like he said “I hate gay people” or something. If, for instance, this article were about Chris Pine talking about how Kirk is a badass, and then had a picture of him in the same humourous position, only with a woman, and the poster made the same joke, people wouldn’t be acting like prudes over it like they are now. I imagine if George were reading this he would have gotten a light chuckle out of it, too.

Dave Roberts
December 16, 2007 6:40 pm

Three captains on the cover…. I sure can live without Psycho from Deep Shit Nine and that no good Crapcher from Enterprise.

December 16, 2007 6:44 pm

#23 valentine, frankly I don’t have to modify my opinion for you.

December 16, 2007 6:46 pm

Not on the Sulu subject, but on the cover subject: Janeway shouldn’t even BE on that cover. That character was a joke as a captain. No, not because she was a woman, just because it was a horrible character from the get-go.

Just my 2 cents, of course.

December 16, 2007 6:53 pm

Kirk should be in the center of the cover.

Picard for President
December 16, 2007 6:58 pm

^23 Valentine

I thought the joke was funny, too. Takai must have made a dozen similar funnies since he’s come out. I mean, “don’t call me Tiny” takes on a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?

IDIC only works when everyone’s cool. All it takes is one narrow mind or one overly “Shy” person and …


IDIC transmogrifies to LDAC – “Limited Diversity in Approved Combinations” lol!

Will Johnson
December 16, 2007 7:00 pm

Sulu is a badass…. why does that remind me of something a drunk guy would say at a party? Oh, right, cus he’s the MILF guy.

December 16, 2007 7:00 pm

Takei isn’t uptight about his sexuality, so why do you have to be?

Danya Romulus
December 16, 2007 7:01 pm

The conspicuous non-inclusion of openly LGBT characters in Trek has been an issue for a while, one that writers had been eager to address on a number of occasions. But Brannon Braga implied that, while Paramount was fine with them going through with it, Rick Berman always nixed it at the last moment.

George Takei is, as we know, gay, and Sulu was the only main TOS character to never have a love interest (not including the Mirror Universe). Now that the franchise is in other hands–and I mean this totally seriously–do you think there’s any chance they might make Sulu gay in Trek ’08?

December 16, 2007 7:08 pm

Why the hell did Janeway get the largest picture? What an insult, not only to Kirk and Picard, but to Cisco and Archer. Voyager killed Trek. Burn the witch!

8 of 12
December 16, 2007 7:08 pm

I’m glad they had the sense to put Captain Janeway center stage and leave Archer exactly where he belongs: nowhere.

December 16, 2007 7:12 pm


Yeah, but Sulu had a daughter though, remember? True, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the character isn’t gay, but it would be sort of a stretch.

Fear not though, if this movie is a success, and the upcoming Star Wars television show does well, then there is no way a new Trek show won’t be coming in the near future, so there’s a chance for that there. That unless they make a character JUST for the sake of them being gay, you can always see right through it when they do it like that, it has to come about naturally,

December 16, 2007 7:30 pm

Valentine, I am done with this subject. I don’t care who’s gay, straight or how they speak of themselves. I don’t think this is the site for it though. There are teenage users on this site. Do you need it more spelled out than that?

December 16, 2007 7:31 pm

Let’s get back to John Cho…

December 16, 2007 7:38 pm

I always though of Sulu as the “Boba Fett” of the Star Trek show; especially the movies. Just something about him. He came across as a very cool dude.

It still amazes me that they never gave him his own show.

December 16, 2007 7:38 pm

I forgot Sulu could be a badass at times…yay.

Ty Webb
December 16, 2007 7:40 pm


You seem to be forgetting ‘Generations’ and Sulu’s daughter. Not to mention there are plenty of TOS episodes where Sulu is eyeing up the ladies.

December 16, 2007 7:42 pm

#31: “But Brannon Braga implied that, while Paramount was fine with them going through with it, Rick Berman always nixed it at the last moment.”

I want to see that quote. Post a link or retract.

December 16, 2007 7:46 pm

I hope they make Sulu gay in the new movie as well.

December 16, 2007 7:49 pm

I agree with #36…John Cho and Sulu in the movie seems to be the topic

December 16, 2007 8:01 pm

#37…I totally agree. Star Trek: Excelsior would’ve been awesome.

Danya Romulus
December 16, 2007 8:10 pm


My mistake, it was not Braga, but Ronald Moore:

“Tell me why there are no gay characters in Star Trek. This is one of those uncomfortable questions I hate getting when I was working on the show, because there is no good answer for it. There is no answer for it other than people in charge don’t want gay characters in Star Trek, period… That’s one of the great things about Paramount. Paramount left us alone. They always left us alone. They let Next Gen do whatever it wanted. God knows it let Deep Space Nine do whatever we wanted. It lets Voyager do whatever it wants. The studio is not the problem here. The studio is going to let you go wherever you want to go, as long as they believe that this is quality, as long as they believe it’s good work. You’ve just got to come up with something good.”

It was from an article in Fandom magazine. The original article isn’t online anymore, but I’m quoting from this page where they cite it:

Mary Jay
December 16, 2007 8:18 pm

Sulu, a badass? Sorry, don’t see it at all…

Fencing isn’t badass… Picard does fencing, y’a know…

Boxing would have been badass, fencing … noooooo. Especially not when bouncing around in the corridors, shirtless, looking for “Richeloo” (if you can’t say it right, don’t bother saying it at all :-P Oh, I’m French-speaking, btw ;-))

December 16, 2007 8:19 pm

“Fight training” is the part that interests me! So it seems that not just Kirk (who is expected to), but also Sulu will be involved in hand to hand combat? If so, very cool. Might this be the “amazing scene” George Takei mentioned earlier?

December 16, 2007 9:07 pm

It would be great to have Sulu do something badass, like pick a bar fight. Do we know if the characters will be “dark” or will they be closer to (albeit before) TOS?

Yeah, yeah, I know. 373 days. tic tic tic

December 16, 2007 9:08 pm

OH and Anthony, all I want for Christmas is an accurate idea of what the E looks like. Come on, a little Saurian Brandy, some credits thrown around in the right places. You can do it.

Oregon Trek Geek
December 16, 2007 9:42 pm

7. Kirk’s Girdle – December 16, 2007
That second pic looks like Sulu getting some bad ass.

LOL. Thanks so much for that. :D

Jabob Slatter
December 16, 2007 9:45 pm

Hopefully they keep the cowboy spirit that was inherent in TOS. Lots of fighting and f*#@ing.

I wonder, though, how much they’ll have to do for the other characters. I doubt we’re going to see much of Sulu, Chekov, Scotty, etc. Hell, I wonder even how large of a part Kirk will play in this. Hopefully they’ll give him enough to do. We can’t have two Spocks completely running the show, right?

Chris Pine has to be completely daunted by this, because he’s gotta know most of you are going to rip him a new one no matter how he plays it. I think his task is pretty much a lose/lose proposition, kind of like Chris Pine’s own Kobayashi Maru test.