Hikaru Sulu: Wikis


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Hikaru Sulu
Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu, from Star Trek (1966).
Species Human
Home planet Earth
Affiliation United Federation of Planets
Position USS Enterprise helmsman
USS Enterprise-A helmsman
USS Excelsior commanding officer
Rank Lieutenant
Lieutenant commander
Portrayed by George Takei
John Cho (2009)

Hikaru Sulu is a character in the Star Trek media franchise.[1] First portrayed by George Takei in the original Star Trek series, Sulu also appears in the animated Star Trek series, the first six Star Trek movies, one episode of Star Trek: Voyager, and in numerous books, comics, and video games.[2] John Cho assumed the role of the character in the 2009 film Star Trek.[3]


Development and portrayals

George Takei recalled Gene Roddenberry wanted the character to represent all of Asia, which symbolized the peace of the Trek universe in spite of the numerous wars in the continent. Roddenberry did not want a nationally specific surname, so he looked at a map and saw the Sulu Sea. "He thought, 'Ah, the waters of that sea touch all shores'," the actor recalled, "and that's how my character came to have the name Sulu."[4] In the book Inside Star Trek The Real Story, the character's name is noted as a pun on the name of vice president of Desilu Studios, Herb Solow.[5]

Novelist Vonda McIntyre first presents 'Hikaru' as the character's first name in the novel The Entropy Effect.[6] However, the name did not become canon until its mention in Star Trek VI, and it was included only after Peter David, who authored the film's comic book adaptation, visited the set and persuaded director Nicholas Meyer to insert it.[7]


Robert Justman, co-producer of the original Star Trek series, noted that Takei had previously played bad guys, but through Star Trek had become one of the first Asian actors to portray a character in a positive light. Justman described him as "the antithesis of the so-called expressionless-unemotional-inscrutable Asian".


The fictional character Hikaru Sulu was born in San Francisco[8], and is of Japanese and Filipino descent.[9] He was shown as the USS Enterprise's staff physicist in the pilot episode, "Where No Man Has Gone Before",[10] but served as helmsman throughout the rest of the series, during which he held the rank of lieutenant.[2]

Throughout the series, Sulu is shown having many interests and hobbies, including gymnastics, botany,[11] fencing,[12] and ancient weaponry.[13] Spock says that he "is at heart a swashbuckler out of the 18th century".[14]

The character is promoted to lieutenant commander some time before Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and to full commander by the time of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.[8] During the first five Star Trek movies, he serves as helmsman aboard both the USS Enterprise and USS Enterprise-A.[2] He is promoted to captain and given command of the USS Excelsior three years before the events of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.[8]

Star Trek Generations[15] introduces Hikaru's daughter, Demora Sulu,[2] whose origins are also depicted in Peter David's non-canon novel The Captain's Daughter.[16]

2009 film

John Cho portrays a young Sulu for the 2009 film Star Trek. Abrams was concerned about casting a Korean-American as the character, but George Takei explained to the director that Sulu was meant to represent all of Asia on the Enterprise, so Abrams went ahead with Cho.[17] Cho acknowledged being an Asian-American, "there are certain acting roles that you are never going to get, and one of them is playing a cowboy. Playing Sulu is a realization of that dream — going into space." He cited the masculinity of the character as being important to him, and spent two weeks fight training.[18] Cho suffered an injury to his wrist during filming, although a representative assured it was "no big deal".[19] James Kyson Lee was interested in the part, but because Zachary Quinto was cast as Spock, the producers of the TV show Heroes did not want to lose another cast member for three months.[20]

Cho portrays a younger Sulu in the 2009 film, though he is actually older than Takei was when he portrayed the role in the original series; Cho was 36 while Takei was 29.

Guest appearances

George Takei reprised the role of Sulu, as part of Star Trek's 30th anniversary, in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Flashback".[21] In the episode, Captain Sulu appears in Tuvok's flashbacks of his time serving aboard the USS Excelsior, during events depicted in Star Trek VI.[2]

The non-canon fan production Star Trek: New Voyages episode "World Enough and Time" starred George Takei as Captain Sulu on the Excelsior recalling a time on the original Enterprise when a transporter accident caused him to come back thirty years older and with a daughter, Alana. Demora also appears in this episode, as well as Hikaru's granddaughter.[22]

Other media

The Lost Era novel The Sundered[23] depicts a USS Excelsior mission under Sulu's command.

The novel Forged in Fire[24] depicts an earlier USS Excelsior mission prior to Sulu's assuming command of the ship.

Simon & Schuster Audioworks released three non-canon Captain Sulu Adventures, featuring voice acting by Takei and various others, in the mid-1990s: Transformations,[25] Cacophany,[26] and Envoy.[27]

In the William Shatner Star Trek novels, it is revealed that Sulu is elected to an unprecedented three terms as President of the United Federation of Planets.[28]

In the TV show Scrubs, Turk wants to be married by a priest who looks like Sulu. The priest is actually played by George Takei.


  1. ^ Asherman, Alan (1993-05-01). The Star Trek Compendium. ISBN 978-0671796129. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Okuda, Mike and Denise Okuda, with Debbie Mirek (1999). The Star Trek Encyclopedia. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-53609-5. 
  3. ^ Borys Kit (2007-10-12). "Final frontier for Cho, Pegg". Hollywood Reporter. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117972130.html?categoryid=13&cs=1. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  4. ^ Michael Simpson (2008-04-30). "John Cho Will Be a Great Sulu In 'Star Trek XI', Says George Takei". Cinema Spy. http://www.cinemaspy.ca/article.php?id=871. Retrieved 2008-05-06. 
  5. ^ Solow, Herbert; Robert Justman (06 1997). Inside Star Trek The Real Story. Simon & Schuster. pp. 78–79. ISBN 0-671-00974-5. 
  6. ^ McIntyre, Vonda N. (06 1981). The Entropy Effect. Pocket Books. ISBN 0671836927. 
  7. ^ Comics Buyer's Guide. March 2006. pp. 10. 
  8. ^ a b c Okuda, Michael and Denise Okuda (1996). Star Trek Chronology: The History of the Future. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-53610-9. 
  9. ^ http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0001473/bio
  10. ^ "Where No Man Has Gone Before". Star Trek. NBC.
  11. ^ "The Man Trap". Star Trek. NBC.
  12. ^ "The Naked Time". Star Trek. NBC.
  13. ^ "Shore Leave". Star Trek. NBC.
  14. ^ The Naked Time.
  15. ^ Star Trek Generations.
  16. ^ David, Peter (1995-12-01). The Captain's Daughter. Pocket Books. ISBN 0671520474. 
  17. ^ Steve Fritz (2009-01-21). "From 'Trek' to 'Wars', Part 2: George Takei on Star Trek". Newsarama. http://www.newsarama.com/film/010921-Takei-2.html. Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  18. ^ "John John Cho: Sulu Is A Badass". TrekMovie. 2007-12-16. http://trekmovie.com/2007/12/16/john-cho-sulus-a-badass/. Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  19. ^ Anthony Pascale (2008-03-17). "Cho Injured On Trek Set". TrekMovie. http://trekmovie.com/2008/03/17/cho-injured-on-trek-set-talks-a-bit-of-trek/. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  20. ^ Ileane Rudolph (2007-10-29). "Heroes Preview: Ando's Secret Superpower Desire". TV Guide. http://www.tvguide.com/news/heroes-preview-ando/071029-01. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  21. ^ "Flashback". Star Trek: Voyager. UPN.
  22. ^ Star Trek: Phase II Downloads
  23. ^ Martin, Michael A. and Andy Mangels (2003-08-01). The Sundered. Star Trek: The Lost Era. Pocket Books. ISBN 074346401X. 
  24. ^ Martin, Michael A. and Andy Mangels (2008-01-01). Forged in Fire. Star Trek: Excelsior. Pocket Books. ISBN 978141654767. 
  25. ^ Stern, Dave (1994-02-01). Transformations. A Captain Sulu Adventure. Simon & Schuster Audioworks. ISBN 067188624X. 
  26. ^ Malloy, J.J. (1994-09-01). Cacophany. A Captain Sulu Adventure. Simon & Schuster Audioworks. ISBN 0671522868. 
  27. ^ Graf, L.A. (1995-04-01). Envoy. A Captain Sulu Adventure. Simon & Schuster Audioworks. ISBN 0671522868. 
  28. ^ Shatner, William. Star Trek: the Ashes of Eden. Simon & Schuster. ISBN: 0-671-52036-9

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