John Cho, Sulu in the new Star Trek, has been given the thumbs up by the original Sulu, George Takei. In an interview conducted at San Francisco’s WonderCon yesterday, Cho told SCIFI WIRE that, like his fellow cast members he was doing his best to “pay homage” to his predecessor and felt that he had “big shoes to fill,” but a lunch with Takei set his mind at ease.
Cho on Takei Lunch:
I wrote him a letter, and we met, and he gave me what amounted to a blessing, and in his typically classy way, … I told him I was nervous, and he said, ‘Relax. Pretty soon people are going to refer to me as the guy who played the old version of John Cho.’
Cho seems to be having fun, telling SCIFI WIRE what the first time putting on the uniform felt like:
I can’t tell you how cool it feels to put on the outfit, look at yourself in the mirror, and go ‘Holy s–t.’ And then take yourself and your outfit over to the bridge of the Enterprise. But you’re looking around, and you’re on the bridge of the Enterprise. It’s really crazy.
Read the rest of Cho’s interview at SCIFI WIRE.
UPDATE: More from Cho’s panel
Comic Book Resources reports on the WonderCon panel discussion for “Harold and Kumar Go to Guantanamo Bay,” where there was also a bit about Trek:
Cho was also asked about his role as Sulu in the upcoming J.J. Abrams-directed “Star Trek” movie, filling the role as younger version of George Takei’s character. He said Abrams is taking a new direction in hopes of drawing a new audience to the franchise, but which he thinks will satisfy long-standing Star Trek fans.
He said that when he was a child, he’d admired Takei’s work as one of the few Asian actors playing non-stereotypical roles
John Cho at WonderCon (WireImage: Al Ortega)
First? This is my first time being first!!!!!!! Anyways John Cho rules!! I think he will be a great Lt. Sulu!!!!
He looks permanently pissed off.
But I’m sure he’ll be fine.
I won’t be able to get Harold and Kumar out of my head while watching the movie. That only adds to the experience in my opinion. :)
Lets just hear him say OH MY!!!!!
who wants white castle?
Harold and Pavel set course for White Castle
Maybe because I’m Chinese, I just can’t buy an ethnically Korean actor taking over a ethnically Japanese actor playing a Japanese character. (see also: Sato, Hoshi and Park, Linda)
That being said, I am a big fan of John Cho and I do wish him all the best in his contribution to the Trek universe.
“Are you kidding?”
Sulu was never stated to be Japanese. His first name (Hikaru) is Japanese, but his last name (Sulu) is Filipino. Besides, what would a Japanese man look like in the 23rd century? ;)
I always liked the character of Sulu. A don’t way.
Ahh the old discussion.. it’s true, Sulu is from San Francisco, and at least in the movie he IS Asian opposed to New Vo.. err Phase 2 having a Hispanic portraying Sulu now…
The use of a katana in the new movie seems to confirm they will keep the character’s established Japanese ancestry, although indeed they could’ve just made him Korean as well.
Karl Ubran, eh? Wonder if he’s playing Dr McOcy ;)
Eeh. He’s the only one I’m still not too sure about. But if Takei likes him I’ll just accept it and hope for the best.
#13: Yeah. Karl Urban is McCoy.
Don’t call me tiny!
#14, um, you missed a lil’ joke there.
The new Phase II Sulu is Hispanic??
Talk about having to keep an “open mind…”
#8 Petey- I’m NOT Asian, but a Chinese friend of mine thinks the same thing- what’s up with yet another Korean playing a person of Japanese heritage in Trek?
It’ll be the same arguement- it’s the future and who’s to say, blah, blah, blah.
But this is NOW and maybe the filmmakers could show a little more respect(?) I dunno…. just my 2c.
oh for goodness sake, are any of you complaining about Jimmy D/Simon Pegg not being scottish?
The right actor for the right job and a smidgen of tolerance, or should the shat, not have gotten the job for…his… delivery…. I… ask thatyoureconsider… your….views
love the quotes BTW, however how about we look to a Chekhov quote “ABSOLUTELY I will not interfere with it!”
The reason as I see it is a fundamentally different understanding between the West (the US) and Asia (China, Japan, Korea) of what CULTURE is. In Western countries, and the US in particular, it is indeed possible for an immigrant of “foreign” heritage to assume a new cultural identity, and rather quickly so even, while in the culturally homogenuous East-Asian countries, this is totally unimaginable… someone who was born abroad will always remain a foreigner, and (if not legally) even their children will remain aliens. To assume that these distinct cultures are somehow interchangeable or could be mixed is nothing short of an insult then.
In the end, I don’t see that Hollywood will ever change its stance; all we can do is accept it, maybe keeping in mind this is not meant to be an ethnological documentary and even if they tried harder the depiction of any foreign culture could never be fully accurate anyway. I.e., if you want accurate depictions of Asian cultures, watch an original movie made by their thriving industries. ;)
”But you’re looking around, and you’re on the bridge of the Enterprise. It’s really crazy”
So much for continuity. Sulu was the physicist in the second pilot. NOT the helmsman.
Abrams, Cho, Pegg & Yelchin dont fill me with confidence. Prove me wrong.
#18 No but people are complaining that Paul Mcgillion should have gotten the job over Pegg. Rod I agree this whole thing gotten beyond the realm of foolishness.
I am Japanese, and I don’t mind John Cho playing Sulu at all. Sure it would have been nice to have someone from japan, but as I have stated MANY times before, our actor’s English is simply not good enough to be in a movie such as ST. We just have ourselves to blame….. :-(
I sincerely hope that one day in the near future, there will be more japanese actors who can speak english that’s good enough not to distract the audience from the flow of the movie. Although they did a good job, I couldn’t help cringe at certain points in the the last samurai, the memoires of a geisha, and the movie with Ethan Hawk in it (Cedar something or the other). So my view is that its better to have someone who speaks good english who isn’t japanese than have someone who is but makes me cringe! Perhaps I could tolerate it for any other movie, but PLEASE not for Star Trek!!!! ;)
#10 “Besides, what would a Japanese man look like in the 23rd century? ;) ”
I would like them to be more attractive than they are in this century. Period. :-) (Am I being too harsh???) :P Come on Japanese men, you can do better than that!!!! (*runs towards the hills*)
In Japan, Korean TV dramas are hugely popular at the moment, and its partly to do with the actors who are so much more good looking than their couterparts in japan. So, from that point of view, the casting of John Cho makes sense as well!!!
I’ll stop ranting…. ;)
Quote: John Cho, Sulu in the new Star Trek, has been given the thumps up by the original Sulu, George Takei.
“THUMPS UP?” Is that more than a “Thumbs” up?
Most of the people here are so used to looking at the characters first, and the actors decades later.
Imagine seeing Star Trek only after you’d seen George in the Green Berets.
I’ve also seen one little clip of Walter in an earlier role as a leather-jacketed street tough.
It’s really hard, since we have so long to wait. It’s almost counter-productive to see these guys out of character. Let the movie create its magic.
Has anyone seen Simon Pegg lately? I feel like he’s on lockdown for some odd reason. He wasn’t at the Cloverfield premiere… have we seen any spy shots of him from the set? I don’t think so. Scotty, are you there? Come in, Scotty. Scotty, now would be a good time!
I am marrying a Chinese girl. My sister’s children are half-Sierra Leonian, from west Africa. My ancestry is Scottish, French, and Sicilian with a little German, English, and Irish tossed in. Even among the ‘homogenuous’ Asian cultures things aren’t as homogenuous as we are likely to believe (Japanese Ainu and Okinawan, Chinese Miao, Manchurian, and Mongolian peoples, etc. Hell, even Scottish is a multi-ethnic identity if you go into its history: Irish Scots, Norwegian northerners, Picts, the Norman-Angle influence from the south). I’m not saying that we should be ignorant enough to think Japanese, Chinese, Korean are all the same (among the uneducated in China, as with the uneducated in the States they don’t see much difference between French and Italians, and Germans), but we shouldn’t get so locked into identities which are fluid, especially in an immigrant country like the U.S. and an increasingly global world. So who knows what the 23rd century will bring? I’m all for blending. It is harder to hate the “other” when they are your cousin, uncle, or nephew. Go Cho!
#23 Oh crap, Trotter really did write “thumps up” didn’t he? That’s kind of funny.
TK- Korean dramas do rule in Asia, and usually include many hysterically funny moments as well. Some Vietnamese friends introduced me to Korean films a while back and so far they are all filled with, as you said, very attractive actors and actrsses, pathos and hysterically funny subtext. Korean boy bands are also very hot right now throughout Asia.
Perhaps Cho will be acting like a Japanese man acting like Sulu? After all, he is an actor.
What’s for dinner? Sounds like a great big mess o good eats.
I also have a Chinese wife, and a new baby who can count Chinese, American, Irish, Dutch, Swedish, & English in his genetic heritage. My sister is married to a Turk and they have two kids. My brother married a good Italian gal.
Roddenberry picked the name “Sulu” from a map of the Sulu Sea. Hikaru didn’t even get a first name until the movies, and that was no doubt to honor George’s heritage. THIS Sulu may have different influence. Can’t wait to see.
Patrick Stewart wasn’t a frenchman either but I think we have all gotten over that.
Patrick Stewart wasn’t a frenchman ???
Get the paddles! Clear! zzzzzt! Again! Clear! zzzzzzt!
OK, better now.
#’s 13 & 16…I chuckled.
“Nurse, hand me that sterilizer”
“Okeedokee, Dr. McOcy”
34th!!! I got to be 34th!!! How cool is that?????
..- Hey.. Cho is Trek’s nice guy..
“Maybe because I’m Chinese, I just can’t buy an ethnically Korean actor taking over a ethnically Japanese actor playing a Japanese character. (see also: Sato, Hoshi and Park, Linda)”
Technically, the Japanese are an ethnic offshoot, originally descending from the Korean.
So, in point of fact, it IS canon.
I ‘ m romanian..and i remember now abot the movies with..Dracula…wich looks always so..non-romanian…
The most ridiculous was Ricardo Montalban playing an Indian with a Spanish accent!!
But I loved him in the role anyway….
And Scotty wasn’t Irish either!
Who cares. That’s why they call it ACTING.
Oh wow . . . I never expected to run into a debate on actor ethnicity on these threads.
I think any hangups people might have won’t seem as big once the show comes out. But I have to admit . . . they totally should have gotten a real vulcan to play Spock, not this new Romulan clown. Oh and the way they got those humans to play Klingons in TOS still gets on my nerves. And that Swiss guy they got to play the Gorn? Totally unbelievable. :P
Patrick Stewart (I almost typed John Stewart) played Othello on stage once. And we’re talking about a fantastical story based on a series where there was a planet of Romans, a Nazi world, space hippies, and of course Shatner’s acting. I think, as Trekkies, we should by now be able to suspend our disbelief enough to accept a Korean actor as Sulu. I’m sure Cho will be fine. :)
But can he do the Sulu Dance?
George Takei likes John Cho in the role, so whats the problem here? Cho is an actor playing a fictional character. I can’t fathom the logic of people against him playing the part of a Sulu. Its as silly as the notion that Patrick Stewart an Englishman should not play a French character Jon Luc Picard. Acting by definition means Portraying a wide range of characters
Think about it ,
I am half-Sicilian, half Russian/Swedish. My ex-wife/mom of my kids is Irish/German/Hungarian. I am now engaged to a Polish girl.
I think by the 23rd century, all of this will be moot.
#38. Well said Starfleetemom! We’ve all accepted Khan and Scotty without any qualms at all. :)
#37. Marian, I can definitely understand that. But I think the actors in the Dracula movies just in general didn’t try. Barely any of them could pull off a real Romanian accent, and movie producers can’t even manage to create a real Carpathian “feel” in general. But I think Cho will still be able to pull off the job better than Christopher Lee could pull off a Romanian.
If you read this actually rather odd description of Sulu from Phase II days you’ll see that Roddenberry thought of the character as sort of, well, pan-Asian. For whatever that’s worth.
Any previous version of what the character Sulu has been does not determine what he will be in the new production. As we’ve stated a zillion times, this is new and BASED on GeneRs TOS. It wouldn’t have mattered if Sulu was an Iraqi. In fact the sword work would’ve made more sense. Rock on JJ! Give us something NEW!
Are you freaking kidding? Because if not…. good lord. Who gives a crap?
#20 I get the impression that your not going give them or this movie a fair chance. Am I right about this? please tell me.
#20 I hope you’re just an idiot and didn’t actually mean that.
I think he’s just saying that because all the trekkies will go crazy with love! The Trekkies are seriously way to easy. Like kids in a candy store no matter what. HAHAHAHA it’s really not hard for these guys to make these movies at all. In fact I’m sure they didn’t have to obsess over it. I guarantee they didn’t do that.
Ya know, there are plenty of really lame TOS episodes. A few really lame Star Trek movies.
Really, this movie cannot really be the worse Trek has to offer—but even if it is, it’s not the end. There will be more and we will always have the favorites of the TOS to lean on.