Star Trek’s original Sulu George Takei is crossing franchises this Friday, voicing the villain Lok Durd in the Cartoon Network show Star Wars: The Clone Wars. In a new interview promoting the episode, Takei talks about going from Trek to Wars and beyond.
Takei, from Trek to Wars to Heres
excerpts from interview with ComicBookResources
Takei on ‘switching franchises’ from Star Trek to Star Wars
I don’t consider it jumping ship. You know, the Star Trek philosophy is to embrace the diversity of life and Star Wars is a part of that diversity. I think that Star Trek and Star Wars are related beyond just the word “star.” I think Star Trek is Science Fiction and Star Wars is more Science Fantasy. But with the episodes of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” that I worked on, I think there is a merging there. It does deal philosophically with certain issues of the time, which is what “Star Trek” was known for. War and Peace, technology and humanity, sacrifice and courage, these issues I found engaging.
on differences doing Clone Wars and Star Trek The Animated Series
When we did the [Star Wars] recording, they had the entire cast there so we could bounce off of each other. So you get an idea of the characterization and vocal rhythms of the other characters. When we did the animation for “Star Trek,” they accommodated each one of us in our various schedules, so we came in individually. As I was coming in, Leonard [Nimoy] was leaving and I’d go into the recording booth and they would have the script with my lines underscored with a colored pen. I’d just read my lines according to how the scene was supposed to play but not really playing with Leonard. Then when I was finished and I’d be leaving, Jimmy Doohan might be coming in and he’d step into the booth and do his lines. I think this way, the “Star Wars” way of doing the recording, is much more fun as an actor when you can bounce off of each other.
George voices Lok Durd on Clone Wars "Defenders of the Peace" [Cartoon Network]
On Trek references in Heroes:
I chatted with some of the crew people and I found that a great number of them are really wildly dedicated Star Trek fans. The Prop Master was the most avid of them all. He prepared as the license plate of my limousine the number NCC1701, which is the registry of the Starship Enterprise. Then one of the guys on the writing staff is a great “Star Trek” fan and he said, “George had a great sword fighting scene in ‘Star Trek’ and why don’t we work in a sword fighting scene for Kaito Nakmura?” That’s how that first samurai sword-fighting scene in the first season came about. Then you may have noticed I had another sword fighting scene with a young man that I took to be a thief, a robber in my own house, in the third season, who turned out to be the future version of my son Hiro. So there is a lot of tie-in and bouncing off of “Star Trek” with “Heroes.”
George Takei in Heroes episode "Dual" [NBC]
On John Cho and the new Star Trek
[JJ Abrams] told me that he was thinking of John Cho and I said, “John would be wonderful.” I’m on the board of Governors of the East West Players, an Asian-American theatre company, and John had done many plays for us before I had that breakfast. I told J.J. that John was a versatile actor, that I had seen him do comedy and very serious drama and I thought that he would be wonderful. So assured by that he went on to cast him. John then seemed to have been somewhat awed by his new challenge. So he asked me to have lunch with him and I told him, “Do your thing. I’ve seen your work and you’re a talented actor.” I assured him that it wouldn’t be long before I’d be known as the old guy who played John Cho’s part. And assured by that he went on to do his thing. All the scuttlebutt I’m hearing is that John’s done a great job. Sulu’s got a new lease on life. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the new film.
Takei approves of Cho as the new Sulu in JJ Abrams "Star Trek" [Paramount]
Much more from Takei on Trek, Star Wars and more at CBR.com
"Defenders of the Peace" featuring George Takei as Lok Durd on Star Wars The Clone Wars airs on Cartoon Network Friday January 23rd. More information at the official site. Here is a preview featuring (a little) of Takei as Lok Durd.