VIDEO: George Takei On “Star Trek VI: Captain Sulu To The Rescue” + John Cho, Shatner Feud + more

Last night Star Trek’s original Sulu, George Takei, was the guest for the screening of Star Trek VI at the Royal Theater in West LA. George and I talked a lot about his long lobbying effort to get the Captain’s chair for Star Trek VI and how he wanted to get it back for a Sulu TV series. We also talked about John Cho’s new Sulu, his famous feud with William Shatner and more. See below for highlights from the event plus full video.


Takei: Captain Sulu to the rescue


  • Takei talks about pitching getting Sulu a promotion to captain starting as early as the original series and continuing with lobbying producer Harve Bennett and Nick Meyer in 1982 for Star Trek II, but had given up by Star Trek V [diplomatically noting "the powers that be with that one"], but was happy when he saw script for Star Trek VI which opens with Captain Sulu
  • Takei says he has three favorite Trek films: Star Trek II, IV, and VI, but VI is his "favorite favorite" because it has a "substantial message, but presented with suspense, action, heroic deeds, boldly going…it is relevant beyond its time"
  • Takei notes how Sulu gets a key role at key dramatic moments and jokes that the subtitle for Star Trek VI should be "Captain Sulu to the Rescue!"
  • Felt that Captain Sulu series was the "obvious" choice to follow Voyager, but "somebody at Paramount was dense" and they "did the very opposite thing Gene Roddenberry envisioned by going forward…and went backwards [with Enterprise]"
  • Takei retold story about JJ Abrams was concerned about casting a Korean for Sulu in Star Trek (2009) and he re-assured Abrams by pointing out Roddenberry’s vision was for Sulu was to represent all of Asia, being named for the Sulu Sea instead of using a specific country-specific name
  • Considers John Cho "a very good choice" for the new Sulu
  • Also noted that he has been "impressed with" and "proud of" John Cho helping out with his activism and support for the No on Prop 8 campaign and his support of "equality of all"
  • Of the ‘feud’ between him and Shatner, Takei said "this thing about feud is silliness" but then noted "it is primarily prompted by Bill" going on to recall the back and forth between the two in the media over the story that Takei didn’t invite Bill to his wedding (which Takei denies)
  • Takei says he is willing to do a "bury the hatchet" type of summit with Shatner but not on Bill’s Raw Nerve show. Takei will only do it with a neutral moderator like Howard Stern "or even with you Tony" [referring to me!]. As of now there is no agreement. 

Full video
(again thanks to my friend Jennifer aka bdbdb)

More videos from the Summer series:


Star Trek Summer Series At Royal Continues with TNG Films & Star Trek 2009

Due to the popular demand, Laemmle Theaters and Ledjer Film & Theater services will continue the series to include the four Next Generation films and the 2009 Star Trek movie. Guests are currently in the process of being arranged. The series starts next week with Star Trek: Generations with a QA& with composer Dennis McCarthy  moderated by "Music of Star Trek" author Jeff Bond. The series will take a week off for the weekend of the Star Trek convention and pick up on August 14th with First Contact with special guest Branon Braga. I will will be moderating that and the other Q&A’s.

$10 general admission. $37.50 for a five-film ticket package.

Here is the current schedule.

Date Film Guest
August 14 STAR TREK FIRST CONTACT Brannon Braga
August 28 STAR TREK NEMESIS Wil Wheaton
(Wesley Crusher on TNG)
September 4 STAR TREK (2009) Guest TBA


What: Star Trek Movie Series

When: Saturdays at midnight in July-September (see above schedule)

Where: Laemmle’s Royal Theatre is located at 11523 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025, (310) 478-3836 

Tickets: $10 for general admission. You can buy tickets at the box office or online at

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Love Mr. Takei! Great role model for us all!

I always feel that six never really gets what it deserves in the trek world, six is just damn good. I hope that the new trek movie sequel will have shades of star trek six in it as. also Taki always gives a great interview.

That would be epic if you moderated the end of the Shat/Takei feud. It needs to end, though, it’s just dumb.

Cho has a feud with Shatner?

Oops — read that wrong!


Oh wait….. BOTH OF THEM ON MAURY !!!!!

…so ENT series following VOY series was wrong, because it was “going backward”, against GR’s vision and intention. So says Takei.

But isn’t a 23rd century Sulu series following a 24th century VOY series “going backwards”? And THAT’S okay?

I’m just asking.

Can’t believe George Takei wouldn’t go on “Raw Nerve”. And judging by some of his statements here, he is a master of irony. First, he accuses Paramount of “going backwards” with “Enterprise” while he wanted his own “Excelsior” show, which itself would have gone backwards to the end of the 23rd century/start of 24th well before TNG/DS9/VOY. Then he denies that there is a feud, yet continues to put the blame on William Shatner. And I can’t believe this guy had the nerve to go to Paramount DURING THE RUN of TOS to press for his own series.

Now, don’t call me a hater. I like George Takei. I think he played an important role in the franchise. But judging from some of his statements, it is clear to me that it isn’t just William Shatner who has a big ego.

#5, 6

I’d rather see David Letterman help resolve these guys’ feud. He handled his own scandal well plus he is a damn great interviewer.

Thanks for doing the videos of the guests at the screenings. It’s great to be able to see them and hear the guests speak! Too bad there wasn’t one for Star Trek The Motion Picture.

I don’t know if an Excelsior series would have done better, but I thought Enterprise was a disappointment on many levels.

What irked me the most was the lack of any real connection to the show’s 22nd century setting. What was supposed to make this voyage interesting and different turned out to be little more than a quickly forgotten gimmick.

Originally, we were going to get the back story to the end of Earth’s internal troubles and the coming of a new era with the Federation. Supposedly, the last holdout nation only joined United Earth in 2150 (a few years before the show). This wasn’t supposed to be a fully unified planet and society. Yet, there was practically no conflict between the humans. The show didn’t delve into any of that controversy over World War III, global unity, and so forth until the very last season. And even then, it was handled in a very timid manner. ENT was a straight continuation of the same show we’ve been watching since TNG.

Wheton will be a blast for Nemesis. I actually dig the flick, but it’ll be more fun to watch him tear it to pieces and mention how he’s in the corner of, like, one shot. Hopefully people won’t get too nasty with Braga, he takes a lot of undeserved flack on the Interwebs and seems to mention it once in awhile (Voyager’s Threshold, though? Totally deserved on that one, yo.). But his script for First Contact is one of the best pieces of Trek he has his name attached to. (other great ones are All Good Things… and Frame of Mind, which is a personal favourite)

Anybody else find it funny that Will Wheaton… who had a CAMEO in Nemesis… is the guest?

On a different note… I WISH I LIVED IN CALIFORNIA! I would totally drive to see one of these.

Thanks, Anthony Pascale and for the George Takei interview. George is very funny. I think it would be cool for him to be in the next Trek movie as another Starfleet officer, perhaps even Sulu’s dad.

Excelsior show would have sucked, and probably killed Star Trek for me. The irony i suppose it that Enterprise only made me like the franchise more.

Now being in England I’m not exactly up to speed with such things, but would Stern be neutral? Not that I care particularly. Takei pretty much bores me.
And if Gene was so intent on going forward I wonder what he would have thought of Trek ’09?

Well, Captain Sulu can still have his own series and still be forward chronologically of the TNG era. Consider the prospect of Takei’s head being in a jar in the 30th century– ooh, sorry, that’s already been done. ;)

I would have loved an Excelsior/Sulu series over Enterprise. No brainer.

Start the Excelsior series, now!

The Voyager Excelsior episode was pretty boring. And they were working off of Trek VI!!!

It sort of depends on what the Excelsior series would have been about.

Honestly, Star Trek Enterprise was decent, in my view, but it wasn’t spectacular. I was quite active in following the series but became a bit annoyed with it after a while because it wasn’t as exciting as it could have been. I began to lose a bit of interest in it, in the same way that I began to lose interest in Voyager (despite the fact that Voyager had some very good stories) near the end of its run. And yes, I’m shallow enough to expect excitement once in a while. Star Trek Enterprise was canceled just when it had found its stride (or at least that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it).

That said, I like STE a great deal and plan to buy the entire series on DVD when I get the chance. I missed probably a whole 30%-50% of it.

Now, what could Excelsior, the series, have been? If it were to have been produced by Berman and Co. in the same style as Voyager and STE, then I’m not sure the results would be much different than those series, and people who liked or disliked those two series would probably feel the same way about it.

All in all, I am of the opinion that when I have the time to watch Voyager and Enterprise again, and particularly those episodes I missed the first time around, I will find myself immersed in a world of fascination and wonder. And I like feeling that way. I have very high praise for every Trek series, bar none.

But the top three Trek series, to me, are ST:TOS, DS9, and TNG, in that order. There are moments when I would prefer one series over the other; for example, I think that certain TNG episodes are better than certain TOS episodes. However, judged on the basis of overall merit, impact, characterization, profundity, continuity, integrity, and the like, I think that my evaluation in general terms is well-supported and fair. That said, DS9 and TNG, to me, are nearly tied.

STE and Voyager, to me, are not on the same level, despite the fact that many of their episodes are excellent.

Perhaps this is just a matter of personal preference. Perhaps not.

I think that Rick Berman and certain others had simply run out of new ideas and relied too heavily on existing tropes. There is a reason that “Year of Hell” made such an impact — it’s because it was so different from the general run of Voyager, I believe. And yet, I must say, even Voyager and STE were better than 90% of all television programming out there, and certain ones (including, for example, the VOY episodes about “Tuvix” and Neelix’s loss of faith in the the afterlife, respectively) were better than 99% of all dramatic programming, period.

Excelsior, thus, would have been a product of its creative circumstances, and to say more about it would probably rest on speculation as much as not.

it wasn’t Sulu’s fault. It was just a superbly lame premise for an episode. Exploring Tuvok’s memories?? Please. That would’ve been a bad episode no matter who guest starred in it.

Excelsior series would’ve been way better than Enterprise. “What might have been”, I guess.

Original Trek ended when Kirk fell out of Enterprise B, I’d have loved an Excelsior/Sulu series, but guess there would have had to have been some cast changes from the Star Trek 6 appearence. By the Voyager episode Rand had aged, sadly.


I hope so too, Brannon Braga is one of my favourite writers on Trek and with Ron Moore (another fav writer) wrote one of the best Trek movies wih First Contact.

I still find First Contact a stronger film than the new one.

With a moderator? Get on the phone and work it out.

Then pretend that you haven’t and do it with a moderator, make it fiery before ending in hugs and tears.

That should make you guys a few dollars.

Seriously though, call the guy and make a time to sit down and talk.

Am I the only one who enjoyed Enterprise?

It was not my all time fav Star Trek show and some of the first season episodes were terrible but once it got into the 3rd and especially the 4th seasons it becaame a great show. Just a shame it got cancelled when it was getting great.

George Takei may be right in saying that going back was the wrong direction but it has been going back ever since the end of Voyager. His Excelsior show would have been going back, hell the new movie is going backwards because, although it is a parallel universe, the year is 6 years before the start of the 5 year mission on TOS.

Going forward would be StarTrek Online or the current novels set in the post Nemesis era.

I do hope that Takei and Shatner can work out their differences.

dear george tekei

when i was 7, i wanted your hair from TOS… and i parted it that way with the fleck of hair down on the forehead(see ) … but, my granny wouldn’t let me have it that way.

also, i just finished ‘Excelsior: Forged in Fire’.

also, these comments are entirely random.

I know others do like Enterprise but I do believe it gets too much of a bad press.

But it was by no means the quintesential Trek show.

Really, Takei’s vanity is unbelievable! He had a small bit-part in Star Trek VI, the most important part of which was helping the Enterprise out a bit in a battle. If anything, his role in that film was diminished compared with part films.

Then cue customary dig at Bill Shatner! I mean, seriously George: Bill Shatner turns up on the web talking about anything and everything. He’s brash and entertaining. What do we really know about you? Let’s see: you used to play Sulu, you’re gay and you have an obsessional hatred of the lead actor of a TV show you worked on 45 years ago! BORING!!

Go away until you have something worthwhile to contribute beyond behaving like a bitter old has-been, riding on being a supporting act in a show made a success by the the man you hate!

And an Excelsior series made by the people behind the TNG era would have been dire. We saw that with Enterprise until Manny Coto turned up. A TNG-team-produced series would likely have convinced TPTB that no era of Trek was marketable any more!

I honestly feel as if Takei has gone on too long about this “Excelsior” series that never was.

I met him, you know. In 1997. He seemed to me a courteous man, but nothing more. I felt no great excitement in meeting him. I remember he actually announced that Star Trek: Excelsior had been green-lit, much to the unevenly positive response of the audience.

I remember reading interviews back when was still relevant. Takei, nearing the end of Voyager, was a common subject for news. He was everywhere it seemed, pitching this very idea. He also commended Rick Berman and Co. on their dedication to “Gene’s Vision”… which I never really bought into anyway… As soon as Enterprise was announced, he was bashing Berman and Co., saying just what he did here, that it was going backwards… and, no, it is not unreasonable to point out that going back to Sulu’s time would be “going backwards” as well. What struck me was the lack of integrity he displayed. For not only did he simply disagree with the decisions of TPTB, he further bashed them, claiming that TPTB had run that wonderful “Vision” of Gene’s into the ground, that Gene would be spinning in his grave. Never respected Takei at all after that.
And as for this supposed “Fued” between Takei and Shatner… well, I would be remiss failing to mention the ridiculous behavior of Bill Shatner, but Takei has held onto this for too long. George, old boy… he’s Bill Shatner. Star Trek would have succeeded with or without YOU. Hands down. Might have even been better.

27- I’ve recently started watching Enterprise on HD net.
The pilot was great the first season had some good episodes,
I’m just into the 2nd season and its PAINFUL to watch for the most part.
Cue the 3rd season- Yes it was a stunt to turn Trek on its ear but it succeeded for the most part.
Episodes like Similitude were Classic Trek moments- Archer barking “I want Trip!” to the clone gave me chills.
In the 3rd season finale Archer was finally a heroic figure to me.
The 4th season? It had definitely found its legs by then -Thanks Manny Coto.
Then they cancelled it.
I remember TNG didnt get any legs until its 3rd season either.
Go watch it again- Its better than you remember.

I think STVI was a good film for the original cast to go out on, especially on the heels of STV. I recall reading that it was Leonard Nimoy’s idea to use the fall of the Soviet Union as the basis for the film’s story. It shows that Nimoy had a real knack for taking present-day situations and turning them into Star Trek stories. The hand of Nick Meyer is quite evident in the film, from story to direction. The film had a more cinematic look than TWOK, but it had about double the budget. It kept to the flavor of the series, and was pretty well received. One thing that bugged me was Valeris being a traitor. It seemed somewhat illogical that a Vulcan character would take sides. I understand that it was hoped Kirstie Alley would return to the Saavik role, which would have made a bit more sense because she was half Romulan. And there would have been greater shock value. But Valeris being involved in the conspiracy to essentially wipe out the Klingons just didn’t ring true, IMO. Also, as has been mentioned often, the transponder which Spock applies to Kirk’s uniform — and then it stayed there throughout Kirk’s imprisonment — was awfully contrived. Whatever happened to McCoy’s injected transponders? We never saw those again cos they’d have cost the characters a lot of close-call adventures!

As for Mr. Takei, what more can be said? I like the guy, I liked Sulu, and I’m glad he got a career out of Star Trek. That said, I think the only way an Excelsior series would have worked would have been a half-hour comedy where Takei was surrounded by a Seinfeld-like ensemble of characters. I simply cannot see George Takei as the primary star of a dramatic series. I’m sure he’d want to slug me for saying that, but that’s my opinion.

Finally, Anthony if you end up moderating the debate between Shatner and Takei, you should do it in a wrestling ring. I’m giving Shatner the edge.

George, I can understand your point of view, but “the Shat” is the man and you are not! Bottom line.

ST: Enterprise wandered during season one, though I liked the characters. Season 2, it was totally lost. Season 3 was a wake-up call, but too soap opera-ish to bring in new viewers weekly. Manny Coto then arrived and found what Enterprise should have been from the series premiere through season 4. The bad part was, MANY had given up on ST: Enterprise by then and refused to come back.

Who can blame those people. B&B’s biggest mistakes that DROVE people away include: Drop the name “Star Trek”, put in a totally out of place song for the “theme song”, allow dry and boring stories during season 2 that were often rehashes of previous shows, allow races in the series that didn’t belong (like the Borg & Ferengi), and then ending it all with that final episode “Valentine” that was more like a gift of an STD. Only good parts of that final show were when Archer was getting ready to head out for the speech and the final “Space, the final frontier” montage. For the record, killing Trip in that episode was ultra-stupid and pointless.

Sad part is, I loved Enterprise. My choices in order of preference for Star Trek series TV is: TOS, TNG, ENT, DS9, Animated TOS, VOY

Don’t even get me started about the problems with VOY!!!!!! lol

I like William Shatner anyday over this dude what in the world did he really contribute to Star Trek except being the helmsman on the old program if this be the case should’nt they give the other characters that are still living their own personal show cause they did more than this guy sounds to me like someone wants attention

As much as I like George, I gotta weigh in and say how happy I am that there was NOT an Excelsior tv series. It would have seriously sucked and put a bullet into the franchise’s head.

I loved the concept behind Enterprise and feel that they didn’t really realize its true potential until season 4.

But what do I know… i’m just a fanboy.

#30 I guess what you are saying, Dom, is Love George or Hate him you certainly can ignore him.

Well, I for one am of the opinion that Mr. Takei is more vain than Shatner. /His/ character came to the rescue in Star Trek 6?? Really? His was a bit part. Sure, Sulu opened the movie, but hell, Uhura was the one who came up with a way of tracking Chang’s bird of prey! What did Sulu do? “Target that explosion and fire”. He was smiling when he said it. He didn’t even convey that much emotion to the moment. At least Shatner’s Kirk got his butt outta the command chair and growled out, “Fire!”.

I quite agree with Dom #30. Shatner has been out there for decades selling himself & his charities. What Do we know about Takei? I would add we do know he was interred in an Arkansas camp during WW2 and he ran for some public office in California in the 70’s. But really, what else?

There is no doubt, just when “Enterprise” was getting its legs, UPN made the brilliant move of pulling the plug. Yes, ENT had low ratings. Yes, Star Trek was dying a slow, painful death. But rather than invest any energy into ENT, rather than give it more of a chance under Coto’s watch, rather than try to re-promote it, UPN just gave up. I do believe that after 14 years of TNG and VOY, Berman and Braga were seriously burnt out, and it showed in the quality of those series. I also believe the two most serious mistakes they made were A) trying to distance themselves from TOS; and B) not using legitimate sci-fi writers to bring in stories.

I have to say I agree with Bill on this (and in my opinion this is part of the reason Bill is a star and George isn’t) – Takei is confusing a good role for an actor and real life. The role he has in VI is not good for him, he’s away from the action and has what is basically a bit part. And even worse, when there is the family photo at the end of VI (makes me tear up), HE ISN’T THERE. All the other characters basically give up their careers for the Enterprise and each other, Sulu actually prefers his career … Bill told him being on the Enterprise was a better role for an actor for V, but George didn’t listen. Sorry, but Bill was right.

The point is not your position on the ship, it’s your acting, and the roles you choose.

I would add that he did deliver the ‘fly her apart then’ line with some style.
Beyond that I agree with Shona’s well posted comments.

I dont know George personally, or any of the cast for that matter, never meet any of them so far (hope to change that someday). I just know that they created character’s (esp. Shatner, Nimoy, and D. Kelly) that had an inpact on my youth, and even into my adulthood, for that I am grateful to them all.
George appears to be a nice chap, and I love the character of Sulu, but honestly I cant wrap my wits around a weekly TV series with him( Sulu) in the lead. I cant blame him for wanting it, what actor would’nt? But I just dont think it would have worked out very well in the end. I dont know, I could be wrong and I suppose we’ll never know, but thats how I see it.

I love George! And what an amazing voice! This was fun. But I fear that another feud has begun – haha!

#27 Am I the only one who enjoyed Enterprise?

No, I quite enjoyed Enterprise, and count it as my third favorite series behind Voyager (#1) and TOS (#2). The first two seasons aren’t the best in Trek, but both have some great episodes. The third season was quite good and the fourth season was just spectacular. I was sad to see the series canceled.

I saids it afore, I’ll says it agains…

I would pay good money ta’ see Cap’n Sulu again… even if he be sweatin’ and had a sword in his hand…

Oh, I kidz cuz’ I luvs…


Enterprise would have been a great sho if they would have stayed in the Solar System and showed how things would evolve. They went to fast to go out and explore. Can you inagine what a 4-5 part arc of reminising about Khan as he was exiled!? More about the 1st warp flight? How the transporters and phasers were being tested and invented? More about the Utopia complex on Mars being built? More about Starfleet HQ? I would have LOVED seeing those types of shows!!! Stay close to home and make it so!

@ 46… Khan’s (and his followers) exile was hidden from the world, per “Space Seed.” Archer’s people shouldn’t have known anything about it.

However, I agree they did zip out into the galaxy too fast. Maybe it’s just the closet engineer in me, but I’d have loved for episodes of Enterprise that were akin to some of the outstanding programs on the History and Discovery Channels.

Anthony, do it!

Takei vs Shatner on Trekmovie would be epic!!!

40 – you could also say that even though he’s not on the ship, he still has a pretty big impact on the movie’s plot ala Nimoy’s short role in Star Trek. Also, George gets a chance to chew out Christian Slater. Did anyone else in Star Trek ever get to do that?

Why on earth would they need a moderator? Is Takei worried Shatner would make him look a bit of a wimp? Oh wait, I think I just answered my own question.