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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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Gays in Space

sci fi classics

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#1 jaragon

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 08:43 AM

There is a gay couple in the new "Alien Covenant" https://youtu.be/_q5fPJR4ivw

 

 


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#2 jaragon

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 04:09 PM

Well, they didn't say he was heterosexual either. It was never stated, therefore he could have been gay the whole time. One only assumes he was hetero due to societal norms.

 

You're right about the new films giving them free reign. The whole point of the opening of the 2009 film was that previous events had been reset and that this "new universe" was open to entirely new interpretations, for the new films and filmmakers to do with as they wished, without the heavy burden of previous continuity hemming them in.

JJ Abrams made the right decision to reset the series in a new time line which let him play with the Star Trek mythology- which brings me back to Sulu's sexuality- why didn't they make him gay from the first movie?  I mean unless they told people that Sulu was gay before the movie opened nobody was going to tell the difference- like I said before - he has zero romantic interaction with his husband. 



#3 jaragon

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 04:04 PM

Well said. Of course this is not a 'new' problem in the world of cinema.

 

In 1943, Universal reproduced a Technicolor version of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (with Claude Rains taking over in the role played by Lon Chaney in the famous silent version). Henry Koster wanted to change the basic premise, that the Phantom was really Christine's father obsessing about her. Actually, I think that makes more sense-- because any dark romantic overtures on his part toward his daughter would be Freudian and a type of horror, but it would also explain why he went to such lengths to help her career. 

 

Anyway, too many people objected to Koster's idea and he eventually was taken off the project and it was given to another director who stuck to the original idea. But even when the Technicolor sound version hit screens, critics were complaining that it was not the same as the earlier one with Chaney. Well, it wasn't supposed to be. The goal was to update it for wartime audiences.

That's an interesting twist on "The Phantom of the Opera"


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#4 TopBilled

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 01:08 PM

Well, they didn't say he was heterosexual either. It was never stated, therefore he could have been gay the whole time. One only assumes he was hetero due to societal norms.

 

You're right about the new films giving them free reign. The whole point of the opening of the 2009 film was that previous events had been reset and that this "new universe" was open to entirely new interpretations, for the new films and filmmakers to do with as they wished, without the heavy burden of previous continuity hemming them in.

Well said. Of course this is not a 'new' problem in the world of cinema.

 

In 1943, Universal reproduced a Technicolor version of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (with Claude Rains taking over in the role played by Lon Chaney in the famous silent version). Henry Koster wanted to change the basic premise, that the Phantom was really Christine's father obsessing about her. Actually, I think that makes more sense-- because any dark romantic overtures on his part toward his daughter would be Freudian and a type of horror, but it would also explain why he went to such lengths to help her career. 

 

Anyway, too many people objected to Koster's idea and he eventually was taken off the project and it was given to another director who stuck to the original idea. But even when the Technicolor sound version hit screens, critics were complaining that it was not the same as the earlier one with Chaney. Well, it wasn't supposed to be. The goal was to update it for wartime audiences.


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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#5 LawrenceA

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 12:35 PM

but in a way they are retconning Sulu's sexuality, since it was never implied he was even bisexual.

 

Well, they didn't say he was heterosexual either. It was never stated, therefore he could have been gay the whole time. One only assumes he was hetero due to societal norms.

 

You're right about the new films giving them free reign. The whole point of the opening of the 2009 film was that previous events had been reset and that this "new universe" was open to entirely new interpretations, for the new films and filmmakers to do with as they wished, without the heavy burden of previous continuity hemming them in.


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#6 TopBilled

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 11:12 AM

My remarks are in bold:

 

Takei also felt that making Sulu gay was an easy-out, since he is gay in real life, and that audiences wouldn't like it.

 

I think audiences have been quite receptive to it-- much more than Takei has been.

 

What the filmmakers and Zachary Quinto, the openly gay actor that plays Spock in the new films, have said was that the decision to make Sulu gay was to honor Takei, and his groundbreaking LGBT activism, as well as to have a gay character that was integrated in the show's history. They felt that creating a new character that was gay would be perceived as creating that character solely to shoe-horn in a gay character, and not to organically exist as a character in the story.

 

I agree with them on this, but in a way they are retconning Sulu's sexuality, since it was never implied he was even bisexual. So they are rewriting some of the character's history. But in reboots, writers and producers should be allowed to make updates/modifications to keep the story relevant to modern audiences.

 

I was surprised by Takei's reaction, and felt the new filmmakers were trying to do the right thing.

 

Yes-- they were definitely trying to do the right thing...and I am sure they were shocked by Takei's criticism.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#7 LawrenceA

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 10:58 PM

I started a fairly lively thread about this topic a few weeks ago in the Off-topics section entitled "Sulu is Gay". 

 

Takei has long spoken about the fact that Roddenberry had said that he would like to have had a gay character on one of the shows, but TV wasn't going to allow it at that time. Takei was upset for two stated reasons: he felt in his mind that the character of Sulu was straight, although it was never stated in any of the shows or films, only that Sulu had a daughter. Takei also felt that making Sulu gay was an easy-out, since he is gay in real life, and that audiences wouldn't like it.

 

What the filmmakers and Zachary Quinto, the openly gay actor that plays Spock in the new films, have said was that the decision to make Sulu gay was to honor Takei, and his groundbreaking LGBT activism, as well as to have a gay character that was integrated in the show's history. They felt that creating a new character that was gay would be perceived as creating that character solely to shoe-horn in a gay character, and not to organically exist as a character in the story.

 

I was surprised by Takei's reaction, and felt the new filmmakers were trying to do the right thing.


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#8 jaragon

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 09:00 PM

But there's no validity in objecting to the changes-- it's not revising the story or compromising Roddenberry's vision in any significant way. Reboots happen all the time. Characters' genders, orientations and ethnicities sometimes change when reboots occur (and other actors don't make a big deal about it). If it makes the story more accessible to modern audiences, he should be able to put those objections aside. I just feel it's a weak argument he's making and he's using Roddenberry to counter Paramount on it, when obviously Roddenberry is no longer around to speak for himself. Roddenberry was a true progressive and I am sure he would have welcomed the clearer delineation about Sulu's sexuality.

I agree that Roddenberry would have created an out gay character by now if he was still alive


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#9 TopBilled

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 07:35 PM

My understanding is that it wasn't because 'he has hang-ups about gay characters' but instead making changes to well established characters.    E.g.  say the new film had Sulu as a woman or black?     I assume Takei would object to that but not because he has hang-ups with women or blacks.

But there's no validity in objecting to the changes-- it's not revising the story or compromising Roddenberry's vision in any significant way. Reboots happen all the time. Characters' genders, orientations and ethnicities sometimes change when reboots occur (and other actors don't make a big deal about it). If it makes the story more accessible to modern audiences, he should be able to put those objections aside. I just feel it's a weak argument he's making and he's using Roddenberry to counter Paramount on it, when obviously Roddenberry is no longer around to speak for himself. Roddenberry was a true progressive and I am sure he would have welcomed the clearer delineation about Sulu's sexuality.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#10 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 07:32 PM

Takei has become a strong advocate of gay rights

 

Yes I know this.  He really tried to make a difference here in CA when Prop 8,  a ban on SSM, was on the ballot (but sadly it won).



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Posted 02 August 2016 - 07:32 PM

Takei has become a strong advocate of gay rights

Yes, that's the irony here-- because he won't support the character being gay, a character he is identified with, it almost impedes his individual progress in this regard. Personally, I feel he's confused-- that in his mind he wants to play straight, and that keeping Sulu straight helps him indulge that fantasy. Now Paramount has destroyed his ability to do that.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#12 jaragon

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 07:30 PM

My understanding is that it wasn't because 'he has hang-ups about gay characters' but instead making changes to well established characters.    E.g.  say the new film had Sulu as a woman or black?     I assume Takei would object to that but not because he has hang-ups with women or blacks.

Takei has become a strong advocate of gay rights



#13 jaragon

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 07:28 PM

I think Takei would have welcomed it, but it appears he has hang-ups about gay characters existing in the Star Trek universe. I felt he was using Gene Roddenberry as an excuse to justify his own discomfort with it.

 

I doubt that Roddenberry would have created an out gay character for the original show- he had a hard time getting a woman on the bridge no too mention the then shocking interracial kiss between Uhura and Kirk.  Now later shows have failed to have not only an out gay character- but even a gay story line -  David Gerrold wrote a script with a gay romantic subplot that was eventually filmed as a fan project-



#14 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 07:27 PM

I think Takei would have welcomed it, but it appears he has hang-ups about gay characters existing in the Star Trek universe. I felt he was using Gene Roddenberry as an excuse to justify his own discomfort with it.

 

My understanding is that it wasn't because 'he has hang-ups about gay characters' but instead making changes to well established characters.    E.g.  say the new film had Sulu as a woman or black?     I assume Takei would object to that but not because he has hang-ups with women or blacks.


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#15 TopBilled

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 07:17 PM

I think Takei wasn't happy about taking his classic character in a direction that was not it's creator's original intention- I'm a long time Trek fan and in some ways I agree with him- the series has always featured the Kirk/Spock bromance. Now I like the fact that there is finally a gay character in an official Star Trek movie ( there have been gays in fan made films but that is another story)  I would have created an original character who was gay and least shown him in bed with is boyfriend.

I think Takei would have welcomed it, but it appears he has hang-ups about gay characters existing in the Star Trek universe. I felt he was using Gene Roddenberry as an excuse to justify his own discomfort with it.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#16 jaragon

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 07:00 PM

I think Takei wasn't happy about taking his classic character in a direction that was not it's creator's original intention- I'm a long time Trek fan and in some ways I agree with him- the series has always featured the Kirk/Spock bromance. Now I like the fact that there is finally a gay character in an official Star Trek movie ( there have been gays in fan made films but that is another story)  I would have created an original character who was gay and least shown him in bed with is boyfriend.



#17 jaragon

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 06:55 PM

Did you mean to say 'but there is NO romantic,,,,,,'.    Anyhow what I found interesting is George Takei's comment that he didn't really support having Sulu be a gay character. 

There is suppose a kiss between Sulu and his husband but it was cut.



#18 TopBilled

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 06:46 PM

Did you mean to say 'but there is NO romantic,,,,,,'.    Anyhow what I found interesting is George Takei's comment that he didn't really support having Sulu be a gay character. 

Yes, I had a discussion about this very thing with some friends on Facebook a week or two ago. Some of us felt it was a form of Takei's own ironic internalized homophobia. That for years he took a strange comfort in playing a straight character and being identified as such-- as though he were living vicariously through a straight fiction-- then, when it turns out the studio makes the character gay in a reboot, as an obvious nod to him and his own real-life orientation, he balks. It's a weird backlash and could be perceived by some as sort of undermining his progress as a gay rights advocate.


"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#19 jamesjazzguitar

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 06:43 PM

I saw the new "Star Trek Beyond" which has Sulu coming out as gay man- but if you blink you will miss it- yes Sulu is shown with a man but there romantic or sexual interaction between them- that they might as well be best friends.

 

Did you mean to say 'but there is NO romantic,,,,,,'.    Anyhow what I found interesting is George Takei's comment that he didn't really support having Sulu be a gay character. 


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#20 jaragon

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 06:40 PM

I saw the new "Star Trek Beyond" which has Sulu coming out as gay man- but if you blink you will miss it- yes Sulu is shown with a man but there zero  romantic or sexual interaction between them- that they might as well be best friends.






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