John Cho Is The New Sulu [UPDATE: A Takei Endorsement] has another exclusive scoop for JJ Abrams’ new crew. According to sources Korean born actor John Cho has been tipped to be the new Hikaru Sulu for the new Star Trek. Cho is probably best known as a comedy actor for his roles in Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle and American Pie. At 35, Cho is older than the character calls for (and older than George Takei was when he originated the role), but Cho tends to ‘play younger’ as they say in Hollywood. Cho was not available for comment, but at an event last year he told he would jump at the chance to play Trek’s original helmsman saying "are you kidding? to drive the Enterprise, that would be so cool!"

Sulu not necessarily Japanese
Although the film’s casting sheet called for a Japanese-American, Gene Roddenberry originally envisioned Sulu to be more of a general representative for Asia (as Uhura was for Africa). In fact the name Sulu was chosen based on the Sulu Sea which has coastlines throughout Asia (instead of more nationality specific as most Asian name are). At the recent Star Trek convention in Las Vegas George Takei told "he doesn’t need to be Japanese. They should cast the most talented and most appropriate actor for that role." Takei did note that there was a resemblance between Quinto and Nimoy (the two Spocks) and thought that the new actor playing Sulu should be "credibly a younger me."

UPDATE: Takei on Cho has just posted this reaction to the Cho casting from the George Takei

Sulu’s in good hands. John Cho is an exciting actor. I’ve seen Cho in many productions at East West Players and he always brings a vigorous sense of individuality to his roles. Under the leadership of J.J. Abrams, the Star Trek franchise is being infused with new energy and I hope John Cho plays a critical part for many years — and films — to come.

Active career – Abrams & Yelchin connection – trend setter
Over the last decade Cho has racked up 53 film and TV credits. His seventh job was a guest spot on the JJ Abrams show Felicity, making him the third cast member who has worked on an Abrams project (Simon Pegg was in MI3 and Zoe Saldana did a guest spot on Six Degrees). He also has a connection to his Star Trek co-star Anton Yelchin (Chekov) as both had supporting roles in the 2001 film Delivering Milo. But it was Cho’s role in the 1999 comedy hit American Pie that really got him noticed. His breakout character is even credited with popularizing the term ‘MILF’ (see clip below) and he also appeared in two Pie sequels. Cho then hit the big time with Harold and Kumar in 2004 and the actor recently finished shooting Harold and Kumar 2 which is slated to come out sometime next year. However, it isn’t all acting for Cho, he is also the lead singer in the band Left of Zed.

UPDATE:’s scoop has been confirmed by the Hollywood Reporter



Cho at:   IMDB    |   Wikipedia

Cho in Harold and Kumar

Cho’s ‘MILF scene’ in American Pie (contains mature language)

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The eyebrows! Wow!

JJ sure loves them thick.

John Cho as Sulu? good choice!

then it’s set. now only bones ans kirk remain

Interesting choice

It doesn’t matter that John Cho isn’t Japanese. He’s Korean, which looks very similar, and no I don’t mean that in the cliche’ “All asian people look alike” way. Even a Japanese person would be hard pressed to distinguish between the two just by looking at them, the same way you couldn’t tell a Brit from an American just by looking at them.

I gave 10 points for his low voice!


Great job guys on the exclusives!

Has a resemblance to Takei compared to any of the other Asian actors out there so I think that was probably the deciding factor.

On the Kirk casting I do hope Abrams does a turnaround and puts Matt Damon in. Damon is a proven box-office smash and won’t be such a risk as compared to an unknown as Kirk.

Star Trek: The Comedy. Star Trek: The Joke.

Matt Damon is too old. Good Lord, how many times must I say it?

Matt Damon would be awesome, but unfortunately he is too old, especially if they show him at the academy.

All in all I say the casting is pretty good, and I have put my complete faith on JJ and the crew.

It looks like Abrams is going to spend $120 million of Paramount’s money to make a cosmic joke! What a sad day for TREK!

According to the Hollywood Reporter article, Chris Pike and Kirk’s parents are confirmed as being in the movie in major roles.

I gotta concur with #8’s post (though not his name).

The fact that they’ve just cast a 37-year-old as Scotty and a 35-year-old as Sulu makes me think (and even hope) that the (just-turned) 37-year-old Matt Damon should no longer be ruled out as being “too old” to play Kirk.

Concurrently, I can’t help but wonder if it’s best to cast a lesser name actor (Chris Pine) as Kirk than they’ve cast for three supporting roles (Bana, Pegg, Cho).

No offense to Pine, but I still can’t help but think that Damon would kick unholy ass as Kirk.

P.S.: John Cho is exceedingly cool.

P.P.S.: And btw, #4, you’re… wrong, actually.

Just cast Will Farrell as Kirk. He can bring the phenomenal success that he had in Bewitched to Star Trek.

“Next week, on Star Trek: Sulu and Chekov go to Deep Space 9!”

This is soooo friggin awesome! My older brother used to work with him even before he was on AMERICAN PIE.


Another thought…

It may not have been the wisest PR move on Paramount’s part to announce these two casting decisions in tandem, because on the surface, it makes it appear like the film may headed into spoof territory — given the (primarily) comedic backgrounds/strengths/associations of Pegg (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) and Cho (Harod and Kumar, American Pie).

Thankfully, given it’s J.J. Abrams and his team at the helm — and not, say, McG or Stephen Sommers (thank God) — we should all be assured that’s not the case.

I would urge my fellow fans to look past the obvious and take a closer look at their work, which reveals considerable depth. Look at Cho in Better Luck Tomorrow, for example (or the episode of House he guested on). These are actors of considerable talent, who bring a lot to the table.

They’re also, to my knowledge, considerable geeks – so I think they will pick up the mantle of these roles with appropriate respect, relish and reverence.

Now let’s just see who gets cast as Kirk, McCoy and Pike.

Hear, hear, Robogeek.

These are both great casting choices, which are only getting bad responses here because of the good comedic work done by both actors in the past. I’ve actually got more confidence in these two than I do for Quinto.

I might can accept him for Sulu.

“which are only getting bad responses here because of the good comedic work done by both actors in the past. ”

That’s an assumption. I don’t like Scott Pegg 1. Resembles absolutely nothing to Scott 2. I don’t like his acting!

I’m not sure who this “Scott Pegg” guy you’re talking about is, but I like Simon Pegg’s acting.

Okay, “Simon.” Now what does it change? Nothing.

I have no problem with the casting of all the comedic actors. Between drama and comedy, the latter is the more difficult. If an actor can do comedy, he can probably do drama. Besides, I don’t want a humorless Trek film, and I don’t think anyone else does either. Trek has always had humor in every incarnation, even in the deathly serious TMP.

The humor in Nemesis felt uncomfortable. Hopefully Abrams movie will do a better job in that department this time. Welcome to the Star Trek family, Mr. Cho.

Devon, I realize we’re in the wrong article thread for this, but since you’re so fixated on Pegg, I have to ask…

Have you actually seen “Hot Fuzz”? “Shaun of the Dead”? “Spaced”? His guest appearance on “Doctor Who”?

Because I frankly know no one who doesn’t like Pegg who’s actually seen his work.

Granted, Pegg doesn’t look like Doohan, nor is he a Scot. But he’s a brilliant talent.

As Kirk told Scotty in Star Trek III, “Young minds, fresh ideas – be tolerant.” ;-)

Keep in mind, Scotty was the oldest (besides Spock) of the crew anyways. Cho is a good Sulu, he looks young enough even if he’s truly not.

I’m very pleased so far, Christmas ’08 can’t get here soon enough!

I think it was Joss Whedon who said that he would always want to cast comedians for dramatic roles, comedy is HARD, and after that, the timing needed for real drama is easy (for a given value of easy).

I doubt very much that this will be a ST 5 style knockabout though it would be wrong to think that it will be a BSG dark as midnight film either. There has always been comedy in Star Trek and when it is done well it makes for really good Trek.

I don’t know enough about John Cho’s work to comment but if he has done both comedy and drama then that’s all to the good.

What I’d really hate is someone with zero comic timing to have to try to ‘be funny’ when they can’t. That would be bad…

What we want is for the cast to play it straight (this goes especially for Simon Pegg who is great in Hot Fuzz but looks really bad in Run Fatboy Run which seems a more ‘traditional’ comedy). If you doubt his SF credentials, go and watch Spaced, the man is simply steeped in film and sci-fi.

If he wears the uniform, gets a shave and loses the glasses, he should be fine. I think though that he looks so completely unlike James Doohan though that he *is* going to pull us out of the film a little though as someone on the other thread said, so for that reason only I’m a little dissapointed though I expect he’ll be awesome and scene steal for Gloucester. I’m really, really not expecting a black toupe…

And apologies as this has become more a Simon Pegg comment.

Doesn’t anyone else see a problem with a Christmas Day Release…..

“Devon, I realize we’re in the wrong article thread for this,”

I’m not “fixated” on him. I was merely responding to someone who claimed anyone who didn’t like these two were only juding them for their comedic roles, which isn’t true.

I’d be more than happy to discuss this further on the Pegg thread.

As for my opinion on Cho, he may very well work!

John Cho – good actor, good choice.

As with Simon Pegg, I’m excited to see how Cho will play Sulu. He also brings the added dimension of comedic timing to the role. This could make for some killer scenes between Scotty and Sulu….think Star Trek IV…..

Words worth emphasizing, by George Takei:

“They should cast the most talented and most appropriate actor for that role.”

As they should with all of the roles, even if some of the ladies would like a given actor to have his eyebrows tweezed.

I don’t know Cho and I never saw American Pie, nor do I have any desire to.

He does not look like a younger Takei and I bet he can’t say, “Oh My!”.

Seems the fear is true, this is going to be either really good, or Star Trek 90120.

I’ll try to wait before I make a judgement, but so far I am not too impressed with Pine or Cho.

Like It Or Not Its Meant To Be

I Guess We’ll Have To Wait And See

But Either Way ITS HERE TO STAY!

Let STAR TREK LIVE On Christmas Day!!

HO HO HO !!!

Cho is 35….90210 I think not.

15. cd – October 11, 2007

Just cast Will Farrell as Kirk. He can bring the phenomenal success that he had in Bewitched to Star Trek.

I love well placed sarcastic wit. Well put.

#29 “As with Simon Pegg, I’m excited to see how Cho will play Sulu. He also brings the added dimension of comedic timing to the role.”

Please tell me you’re kidding. “Comedic timing”? Excuse me, I think I’m gonna be sick … :(

John Cho is a great actor and a damn hot guy. I’m stunned that the cast is a kick-ass killer as it is. Am I dreaming?

JJ Abrams was sooo the right choice for this. Inspired. Can anyone imagine Berman and Braga bringing this kind of cool to the game. Nope. Didn’t think so. This is really a new era for star trek and I’m on board 100%.

Now comes the wait for xmas 08 and who’s gonna be mccoy?

I’m a bit dissapointed with the ‘asian is good enough’ thing. Not Trek-like at all IMHO. Sulu was Japanese and proud of it, how credible is he going to be played by a Korean guy?

I’m an Asian male, Cho is the best choice by far of the small pool of regularly working youngish Asian male actors in Hollywood. If Bionic Woman’s Will Yun Lee were younger, he might’ve been good too.

34. Shatner_Fan_2000 – October 12, 2007

— Please tell me you’re kidding. “Comedic timing”? Excuse me, I think I’m gonna be sick … —

I’m not kidding. I laughed at that elevator scene.

raffle, Doohan was a Canadian, not a Scot.
Sounds like TREK casting to me….

I have a few things to say about these actors, and the over the top tragedy a third of the people here are spurting off about.

First off, the recent choices. Simon Pegg will not screw around, I’m positive he will deliver a tribute to Scotty… out of any of the new guys cast so far he has already proven himself to be a fan of the horror/sci-fi genre. Those who have seen the darker moments of Sean of the Dead will realize he can act. He actually played the straight guy in Hot Fuzz, which was as much a tribute to horror/sci-fi flicks as it was cop/buddy movies. No one knows what they plan on doing to make him look a little more Scotty-ish, so why the hell comment on how much he doesn’t look like James Doohan? Pointless.

Next, Cho seems like a reasonable guy to cast as Sulu. I mean Sulu more than likely would be ranked number 5 of the 7 original main cast members (hint the last 2 were recently cast by basically unknown actors, who will more than likely have no more than 2-3 pages of dialog between them in this new movie), and many folks love him… however, he isn’t Kirk, Spock or Bones. So why not get a guy like Cho? He may not be a carbon copy of Takai, but you know what? He isn’t far off either. He’s also not a bad actor for a guest star in a movie. I’m guna go out on a limb here and guess that Spock’s mother will not be referred to as a MILF in Star Trek 11, so the comic styling of John Cho shouldn’t come into play so much. Think about it.

Kirk and Bones are huge and I trust they will go thru a careful casting process with their final choices to ensure these guys can deliver on these iconic characters… why the hell wouldn’t they?!

Next, J.J. Abrams and co seem like guys who grew up watching Star Trek in some form or another. Abrams and co also seem to love the genre and have given us a few very cool new ideas based on old fan boy stuff over the last few years. I trust them… those who bothered to read the interview with Orci on will realize that they all want to pay tribute and honor the Trek everyone grew up with.

Those pre-disposed to hate this whole idea of a new Trek film will continue with their objections i’m sure… however, it’s happening, you don’t have to like it… and frankly I don’t care if you do or not. I will make my own mind up when this shit opens up next year. But for now I’m ok with the casting decisions.

Final note, I do agree that Xmas 2008 is a shitty time to open this flick, I think it can compete with summer movies and it should! Also Gary Sinise for Bones, hard to believe you could do better! :P

Star Trek XI: Sulu and Scotty Go To White Castle

I have seen Pegg in four or five movies. I like his movies and I’m sure he could probably do a serious dramatic role. It’s just when I see him I don’t really think Scotty. For the past few months I have been wondering who they would choose. I saw Pegg on Conan a few weeks and I did not find myself saying “Why, there he is. That’s the man who is the next Scotty.

Same holds true with Cho, but even more so. He’s really typecasted himself (or his agents did) with the Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle and American Pie movies. I’ve seen him in other things and when I did I always thought of that pot smokin’ school horn ball kid. He’ll be driving the Enterprise and I’ll wonder if they are gonna end up picking up Neal Patrick Harris.

He’s not Sulu or my name is not Bob. What the hell?

Well, now I’m sure they WILL change the timeline…

Harold… from Harold and Kumar?

Seriously? You mean, I didn’t just stick myself with a hypo full of cordrazine? No? A vulcan neck pinch, then? No?

No offense to Mr. Cho, but c’mon guys, wt_?

The question is can we?

dave: I don’t think the Scottish/Canadian comparison works.
I study Japanese and am fascinated by Japanese culture, cinema, music (no not j-pop)… I could be a bit biased here, but i can’t help to feel this is a shame. From a Japanese perspective I know it would just be weird. Japanese have a very unique culture and language. I feel that an actor playing a Japanese should also be Japanese, not just happen to be from a country in the same continent, but as I said, from this movie’s target audience point of view, I’m probably going to be biased.
He does look as he could have been Japanese though.

Possible titles:

Star Trek XI: The Wrath of Pot

Star Trek XI: The Search for Milfs

Star Trek XI: The Voyage To White Castle

Star Trek XI: The Undiscovered Eyebrow Trimmers

Harold is in the film. But still not sign of Skywalker and So…..I mean Shatner.

Gah, no! The MILF guy? This is the first casting choice I’m not happy with.

poor Jon Cho

his Sulu news has been COMPLEATLY overshadowed by pegg as Scot

EVERY website is running the headline PEGG AS SCOTTY…and just ignoring Cho as Sulu


I’m all for it. John certainly played the straight guy in Harold and Kumar, and did a good job at that. As for Simon Pegg, i haven’t seen anything of his work, but I have faith in the crew that’s putting this together, and if they say he’s it, he’s it.

I don’t consider this casting choice to be a disaster, but I have to say: John Cho doesn’t look enough like Takei did in the ’60s. Takei’s Sulu really does look specifically Japanese. And John Cho really does look specifically Korean (though he could pass for Chinese if he needed to, in my opinion). I think there are certain people of Chinese or Korean descent who can pass for people of Japanese descent, but John Cho is not among these people.

#45 raffie

I’m from Japan, but I am totally cool with this decision to go with a non-japanese actor. I agree with #37 who said that “Cho is the best choice by far of the small pool of regularly working youngish Asian male actors in Hollywood.” I mean, the young japanese actors that I know (based in japan) a. most can’t act b. won’t be able to do the american accent properly, let alone speak english. I don’t know about the situation in hollywood i.e. how many japanese american actors there are, but i guess JJ and team really wouldn’t have had much choice but to go with an actor with an oriental background rather than stick to japanese. So it’s cool. Really.

I’ll just add that I was a bit disappointed when they cast a chinese lady as the main character in the movie memoire of a geisha. Now THAT is a totally different story. We’re talking about a geisha, which is a quintessentially japanese thing. Come on Japenese actors!!!

From what I’ve seen in the clips above, Cho’s cute ;) So I am totally for Cho as Sulu.