At the beginning of “Star Trek Beyond,” the U.S.S. Enterprise is returning from an extended space mission, eager to rest and get back to their families. The crew’s time off is to be spent at Yorktown, a massive space complex constructed of multiple giant rings. Sulu lives in Yorktown with Ben and his daughter Demora (a character introduced as an adult in 1994’s “Star Trek: Generations”). Later in the film, a vengeance-mad villain named Krall (Idris Elba), armed with futuristic super-weapons, puts Yorktown in danger. There is a brief shot of Ben and Demora running for their lives.
That shot, it seems, was meant to carry with it a lot more emotional heft. Cho talked about a scene wherein Ben was said to have moved to Yorktown against his will. Cho described it thus:
“There was a scene that is not in the film but was written which is very revealing, where Sulu makes a confession to Uhura and says that his husband didn’t want to move out to Yorktown, which is this remote outpost, but he made that sacrifice for Sulu’s career. Sulu felt a very heavy sense of guilt about having made that move and now had inadvertently endangered his family, and then Uhura comforts him. You know, that was a color that wouldn’t have come out if we hadn’t been paired off, and I thought that was cool.”
Cho’s reference to being “paired off” alludes to the structure of “Beyond,” which sees the U.S.S. Enterprise destroyed over an alien world, and the crew scattered. Each plot line follows a different pair of characters. Sulu is paired with Uhura (Zoe Saldaña).
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