John Cho on Headlining ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ and Meeting the Original Sulu, George Takei

John+Cho+Sulu+Star+Trek+Into+DarknessDespite starring in the popular Harold & Kumar movies, John Cho is probably not as famous as Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, or Zoe Saldana.  Nonetheless, his name appears first in the credits for Star Trek into Darkness, the latest entry in the long-running science fiction multimedia franchise. 

However, Cho tells not to look too much into his headlining.  He explains, “I guess that’s in keeping with the ethos of (Star Trek creator) Gene Rodenberry, which was to do it that way and not to rank people. And that’s how (reboot director/producer) J.J. Abrams wants to keep it.  Careers have exploded, but we’re all back as a team, and no actor is bigger than J.J. He is the captain for all intents and purposes. I don’t think anyone feels particularly more important than the other. It just doesn’t feel that way.”

Of course, Cho portrays Sulu, who was played by George Takei in the original 1960s series.  Though Cho was acquainted with Takei and wanted to meet him before appearing as Sulu in the 2009 Star Trek reboot, he was also quite nervous.  He reveals, “I asked to meet with him when I got the role of Sulu. He agreed and we had lunch and it was actually a big relief. I was so nervous. He’s Japanese-American and I’m Korean-American and I wasn’t sure whether people would be picky about it, whether that was going to be a big deal. I wanted to know how to navigate that if that became an issue.  He said, ‘You know, Gene Rodenberry didn’t care about that. He wanted every continent to be represented on the bridge of the Enterprise. And ‘Sulu’ comes from the name of a sea that touches many shores of several Asian countries. Sulu is a Pan-Asian idea, so don’t get caught up in the lines of a map.’ I really appreciated his guidance.”

And what did Takei think of the final result?  Cho says, “He’s been very complimentary. I think if anything he always wants to see more of Sulu. We have that in common, hah-hah!”

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