See George Takei Return To Star Trek As Captain Sulu

In a disarmingly touching scene, George Takei returns to voice Captain Hikaru Sulu on the latest episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks.

By Michileen Martin | Published

Captain Hikaru Sulu, voiced by George Takei, in “Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus”
Star Trek: Lower Decks, Season 3, Episode 8

George Takei just made a surprise return to his signature Star Trek role of Captain Hikaru Sulu in “Crisis Point 2: Paradoxus,” the latest episode of the animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks. Takei voices his character in a somewhat bizarre scene that may or may not be Ensign Boimler’s (voiced by Jack Quaid) hallucination. In spite of Lower Decks‘ comic tone, the scene winds up surprisingly powerful particularly in light of tragic news from the past few months.

Unlike Nana Visitor and Armin Shimerman’s recent work on the series, voicing their Star Trek: Deep Space Nine characters, George Takei’s Star Trek return as Sulu wasn’t promoted at all. It makes the scene that much better, particularly considering Boimler actually thinks he’s about to meet William Shatner’s Captain Kirk instead. With the very public feud between the former co-stars, Boimler’s misidentification has a bit more edge to it than most of the show’s humor.

The scene in which George Takei returns is made to remind fans of 1994’s Star Trek: Generations, when Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard enters the timeless Nexus to find Kirk living in a facsimile of his home. In fact, Sulu tells Boimler he bought the ranch from Kirk. Whether or not that’s “canonically” supposed to have happened comes into question, however, when Sulu warns Boimler the horse is going to bite him, the horse does bite him, and Boimler wakes up in the Cerritos sick bay.

The latest episode of Lower Decks finds Boimler wrestling with the meaning of life after he finds out his transporter double–introduced last season–died. For most of the episode Boimler and his friends are supposed to be having fun on the holodeck with a sequel to the Ensign’s Season 1 holodeck program “Crisis Point.” After he learns of his double’s death, however, the ambitious officer instead uses the program to try and discover the meaning of life.

george takei star trek sulu
Sulu tells Boimler about the friends he’s lost

It’s after passing out on the holodeck that Boimler witnesses George Takei coming back to Star Trek as Sulu. As he’s brushing his horse, Sulu tells Boimler, “I’ve lost many friends; some heroically, some tragically. The randomness of death is merely a reflection of the unexpected joys we find in life.”

While no doubt George Takei recorded his performance long before the loss of his former Star Trek co-star Nichelle Nichols, it’s impossible to not think of the news of her passing from the end of July. Not to mention of course, that Takei is now one of only three surviving members–along with William Shatner and Walter Koenig–of the original series cast.

Speaking of the original series, with his debut on Lower Decks, George Takei has landed a Star Trek milestone as Captain Hikaru Sulu. While the show had previously featured guest appearances from regular cast members of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager; Takei has become the first–and so far only–regular cast from Star Trek: The Original Series to voice his animated counterpart on Lower Decks. Maybe Boimler can have some hallucinations of Chekov and/or Kirk somewhere down the road.