Next May, CBS will play host to Star Trek: Discovery, a spinoff of the landmark sci-fi series about the USS Enterprise’s galaxy-hopping crew. But even with the premiere date still months away, the project has already begun to cause a stir in the industry; Discovery will break new ground in the Trek universe by introducing a new openly gay character with a homosexual Starfleet officer portrayed by Anthony Rapp of Rent fame. And today, Variety reports that none other than George Takei — a man who knows a thing or two about being gay in space — has weighed in on the show’s forward-thinking gesture.

During Saturday evening’s Unforgettable Gala, an event dedicated to Asians and Asian-Americans in showbiz, Takei spoke positively of the increased LGBT presence in the Star Trek canon. “I’m eager to see him,” Takei said of Rapp’s character, expressing a change of tune since he voiced his misgivings about revealing Sulu to be gay in this year’s Star Trek Beyond. “When I was informed they were making Sulu gay, I said, ‘It’s wonderful that they can deal with the gay issue. But honor Gene. It’s not about me. It’s about Gene’s vision and respect him and respect the characters that he created.’”

“But be as imaginative and creative as Gene was,” Takei continued, “Create a new character and make him or her gay with the issues he or she might have to deal with in the 23rd century. That would be exciting. That would be paying tribute… I wasn’t persuasive and they made Sulu gay. They said it was a tribute to me, so I appreciate that part. But now Gene is really going to be honored by Star Trek: Discovery by having that original character, played by a wonderfully talented actor. I think it is the way it should’ve been done.”

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