By Jackson Holtz Herald Writer
At 74, George Takei, also known as Sulu from “Star Trek,” is battling much more than Klingons.
The actor and activist is using his celebrity and his personal experience to tackle racism, xenophobia and homophobia.
He’s one of many sci-fi celebrities participating in the 10th annual Emerald City Comicon from March 30 to April 1 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.
Other big names include James and Oliver Phelps, the twins from the “Harry Potter” movies; and Adam Baldwin from “Ordinary People” and “Chuck.”
The Comicon is an annual comic book and pop culture convention, a three-day gathering of movie, television and comic book personalities. Visitors dress in costume to seek autographs and hear directly from their favorite characters.
These days, Takei said, he often meets several generations of “Star Trek” devotees.
Like the Vulcan saying, “Live long and prosper,” so has enthusiasm for the 1960s sci-fi television series.
“That’s because of the fans,” Takei said. “It’s their undying support, their passion and their love for ‘Star Trek.’”
Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Marvin Koenig and other actors from the series are like a family with one exception: “Bill Shatner, who is a strange bird,” Takei said.
But Takei likes to expand the conversation beyond his iconic role as the navigator aboard the USS Enterprise.
“The activist part is very personal to me,” Takei said during a recent interview.
He spent four years, from age 5 to 8, locked up in a concentration camp during World War II.
Takei talks about this dark chapter of American history when law-abiding Japanese Americans were summarily rounded up and put in camps for simply looking like the enemy.
As a gay man, he also is fighting for equal rights for gays and lesbians, he said.
Here in Washington he plans to continue his crusade against people who oppose same-sex marriage.
“They are the people who are trying to make our government less democratic,” Takei said. “They are against their own sons and daughters, their brothers and sisters, their aunts and uncles. They are trying to disenfranchise their own kin.”
In his campaign, Takei also has mastered social media, accumulating more than a million Facebook fans.
“I am just astounded by the power of this medium that we have today,” he said. “It is immediate, it is all-embracing, and it is comprehensive.”
He’s still very much in the public eye.
He was on the past season of “Celebrity Apprentice,” but “I’ve joined a legion of people that have been fired by Donald Trump,” he said.
His acting work continues on Nickelodeon’s “Supah Ninja,” and he’s working on a new semi-biographical musical, “Allegiance,” scheduled to open in San Diego later this year before going to Broadway.
“I’m very thrilled about it,” he said. “That’s my legacy project.”
Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3447; email@example.com.
The annual comic book and pop culture convention runs from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 30; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 31; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 1, at the Washington State Convention Center, 800 Convention Place, Seattle.
Tickets are $60 for a three-day pass, $20 for Friday, $30 for Saturday, $25 for Sunday. Children 3 to 10 are $10, good for admission all days. Children 2 and under are admitted free. Tickets available at the door.
More information at www.emeraldcitycomicon.com.