Star Trek: The Cruise V is proud to welcome George Takei back to the bridge for Year 5 of the most extraordinary Trek experience in the universe. With Captain Hikaru Sulu’s steady hand and positive energy, Star Trek: The Cruise V is destined to put an exclamation point on our pioneering 5-Year Mission and set the course for the incredible Trek adventures that lie ahead.
While we await the Star Trek legend’s epic return to the high seas in 2021, Starfleet caught up with George to discuss his memorable maiden voyage, his Mission Orders for 2021 and his important perspective on the world today and the future of mankind.
STTC: When you look back on your first voyage, what made Star Trek: The Cruise a unique Star Trek experience?
TAKEI: Star Trek: The Cruise was an all embracing, all Star Trek gathering of people. There were Star Trek actors from all of the iterations of Star Trek — people I knew, people I’d heard of and people I never knew. It was great fun getting to know them as related colleagues and become friends. There were Star Trek fans from throughout this world — fans from Asia, Europe and Latin America who have become pals that I look forward to seeing at future gatherings. Our worlds become bigger and more friendlier.
STTC: As a veteran crew member, what do you hope is in your mission orders for the 2021 sailing?
TAKEI: “To boldly go where no one has gone before.” This has always been our mission and will always be. Life is full of new adventures and a cruise is a wonderful journey of unexpected new experiences and new people.
STTC: Your first appearance as Sulu hit the TV airwaves in 1966 and your footprint on the Star Trek universe has continued to evolve into its 6th decade. How was Sulu a significant character for you, for TV and for society in general?
TAKEI: For me personally as an Asian American actor, Sulu proved to be a breakthrough character; perhaps the first time American television depicted an Asian of a future society as an integral part of a crack leadership team. For television, a medium not known for social progressivism, we saw a team that found its strength in its diversity of races, cultures, histories and faiths. For mid-20th century society, turbulent with the civil rights movement, the Vietnam war, hippy culture and the assassinations of our political leaders, Star Trek provided a shining hope for our future that culminated in 1969 with the Apollo landing on the moon.
STTC: Did you think Star Trek would still be launching into new worlds in 2020?
TAKEI: The Original Series was a low-rated television series all three seasons on the air. Our cancellation in 1969 was disappointing but not unexpected. So the thought of our show becoming a seminal series that gave birth to countless spinoffs, feature films, books and merchandising was the farthest thing for the wildest of hopes any of us may have had. Never dreamed of a future for Star Trek.
STTC: You proudly moved to the captain’s seat on the USS Excelsior and proclaimed “Shields!” when it was time to raise shields. Can you describe how it felt to swoop in and save the day, earning a big thank you from your old Captain Kirk?
TAKEI: In true keeping with Starfleet as a meritocracy, Sulu who was No. 1 in his graduating class from Starfleet Academy and recognized as the best helmsman of Starfleet. It was an eminently natural progression for Sulu to rise to the captaincy of his own command. Sulu loved his Excelsior and proudly served as her Captain. That he was able to save his old captain and the beloved Enterprise at a time of crisis is a point of particular pride.
STTC: What do you consider the most meaningful impact Star Trek has had on the world?
TAKEI: One television series, Star Trek, has brought the vast and diverse audience of this global society together in one galactic fandom. The theme of Star Trek, IDIC, infinite diversity in infinite combinations, is the adhesive that I hope someday will truly unite our divided and turbulent world.
STTC: In the realm of space exploration and technological advancement, in what ways are we moving toward a world only once dreamed of on Star Trek?
TAKEI: We are discovering that technology for all its inspirational aspects has a dark underbelly. I was initially fascinated by the power of technology to connect and bond our global society with social media. Now we are being impacted by the divisive and damaging use of technology by nefarious forces such as cyber-hackers of our institutions, economy and elections. Ultimately, the integrity and humanity of humans has to be at its core.
STTC: We know you are a great actor, what other amazing talent do you have that we don’t know about?
TAKEI: I love the theater and acting. It is my passion. And I equally feel fulfilled by writing and reading. I am engaged by politics and its role in contributing to a humane society. I’m also uplifted by great architecture throughout human history as well as the protection and preservation of our built history. I am a man of the arts.