I can kind of agree with both sides of the discussion,
though I personally have no problem with John Cho's Sulu being gay.
George Takei's perspective is that it isn't true to Gene Roddenberry's original version of Star Trek, because his Sulu wasn't gay in that. While I can
see where he's coming from... kind of... well... in response to that I have to say... has Mr. Takei even seen
the first two movies? Neither of those, in many ways, were true to Roddenberry's vision, either. My way of dealing with this issue is simply to call nuTrek what it is: an entirely separate universe
(outside of Nimoy cameos, which, sadly, can no longer happen) that merely has in-name-only versions of Kirk, Spock, Sulu, etc. Just like the Mirror Universe
(even if the mirror characters were played by the same actors in the original shows). Sure, there are many similarities between the nuTrek characters and the Trek Prime characters, but there are just as many differences as well.
Sure, nuTrek and Trek Prime were supposedly
exactly identical up until the point where Nero entered from the Prime universe, but I've already called that into question,
anyway (and that's not even counting other instances of time travel into the pre-Nero timeline by later crews from Trek Prime, e.g. Star Trek: First Contact.
) And there were already differences between the nuTrek and Prime characters, even before that, so who can say for sure that nuTrek Sulu is (and was always) gay whereas Prime Sulu wasn't? (Well, I guess Simon Pegg can, since he's the one who wrote Beyond.
So there you go.)
But generally speaking, yeah, Pine-Kirk is not Shatner-Kirk. Quinto-Spock is not Nimoy-Spock. Saldana-Uhura is not Nichols-Uhura. Pegg-Scott is not Doohan-Scott. Yelchin-Chekov is not Koenig-Chekov. Urban-McCoy is not Kelley-McCoy (though out of all of them, I'd have to say Karl Urban's Leonard McCoy is probably the most similar to DeForest Kelley's Prime version). Cumberbatch-Khan is most definitely
not Montalban-Khan. And, of course, Cho-Sulu is not Takei-Sulu, even above and beyond the issue of sexual orientation or whatever. And, on the whole, I suppose that is a good thing, because it would be rather boring if the characters were exactly the same as the originals.
To put it succinctly, with all due respect to George Takei, complaining that nuTrek Sulu
is gay makes about as much sense as complaining that Terran Empire Sulu
is evil. This is my stance from an in-universe standpoint. From a meta standpoint (which, really, is what the disagreement between Takei and Pegg concerns), I mostly agree with Pegg on this one. I think Takei is simply coming at it from the standpoint of "Sulu wasn't gay in the original, so he shouldn't be gay here, either" and I get that, but I just don't think it's relevant, from either a meta standpoint or an in-universe standpoint. (To be fair, to get back to the in-universe stuff for a bit, the whole "alternate dimension vs alternate timeline" thing threw me off for a while,
(With all that said, even so, I still have little to no interest in going to see Star Trek Beyond,
for the reasons I've already stated.
Cho-Sulu being gay wouldn't have been a dealbreaker for me, though.)