Thoughts on Sulu:
Sulu was a competent helmsman but never hesitated to take on other duties as required. He was confident in taking leadership roles, whether assuming command of the Enterprise (even on the verge of battle with Klingons) or leading an away team. He had varied interests, being familiar with botany, history, and antique weapons – including use of those antique weapons, which he had more opportunities to demonstrate than one might expect. As Captain of the Excelsior, he was not afraid to put his career on the line to help Captain Kirk.
As many Star Trek fans know, George Takei missed some of season 2 of the TV series due to an unexpected scheduling conflict with a movie he was filming. This resulted in some expanded roles for Chekov and fewer roles for Sulu. After this, Takei was a persistent advocate for his character, and we have him to thank that Sulu finally ended up promoted to Captain. It would have been interesting to see some more prominent Sulu roles in the TV series, but I do wonder if that would have made Takei more content with Sulu’s role, and we might never have seen him as Captain.
Some of my favorite Sulu moments are:
- The Enemy Within. Trapped on a planet in sub-freezing temperatures due to a transporter malfunction, Sulu maintains a sense of humor, diffusing tension by asking the Enterprise to “find a long rope somewhere and lower us down a pot of hot coffee,” and keeps his team warm by draining phasers into a rock to heat it up.
- Shore Leave. As a collector of antique(ish) things myself, I like that Sulu was an antique firearms enthusiast. I also liked that, upon discovering a working replica of one he’d always wanted, he simply followed his instinct to pick it up and start firing away at target practice.
- Check out Sulu’s page on memory-alpha
- Here’s a behind-the-scenes video from 1996 highlighting George Takei in the Voyager episode Flashback that gave us a glimpse of Sulu’s time as Captain of the Excelsior