Helmsman Hikaru Sulu, played by John Cho, will be back on the big screen on Thursday, May 16, when J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek Into Darkness” opens in the U.S. and Canada.

Paramount announced Tuesday that it is rescheduling the release date, which was originally May 17.

“Into Darkness” is a sequel to “Star Trek” (2009), which relaunched the franchise with younger versions of the iconic crew of the USS Enterprise from the 1960s TV series.

Cho has taken over the role that George Takei played for more than 40 years on TV, in movies and in video games. Also known for the “Harold and Kumar” and “American Pie” movies as well as such films as “Identity Thief” and “Total Recall,” Cho currently plays Steven on the NBC sitcom “Go On” and played FBI agent Demitri Noh on the ABC sci-fi series “FlashForward.”

He has emphasized that he isn’t trying to duplicate Takei’s portrayal of Sulu. “His vocal register is unique in the human spectrum — it’s so low,” Cho explained in an interview with AMC. “Also, he’s become kind of iconic as an actor and I felt like it was a little dangerous to do an imitation of him.”

In an interview with Trekmovie.com, Cho said that the sequel is “more thoughtful than the first one. Maybe the movie feels more substantive to me because they didn’t have to roll out the characters again. We are there – on the bridge. So in a way there is more story than last time.”

Also reprising their roles are Chris Pine as Capt. Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Simon Pegg as Scotty, Anton Yelchin as Chekov, and Bruce Greenwood as Adm. Pike. Joining them are Benedict Cumberbatch as the new villain, John Harrison, Peter Weller as Adm. Marcus, and Alice Eve as Dr. Carol Marcus.

The main cast is expected to appear in at least one more “Star Trek” film, although it is unclear if Abrams will direct since he has also committed to directing the seventh “Star Wars” film for release in 2015.

“Into Darkness” is the 12th “Star Trek” movie. The first six (1979-1991) featured the cast of the original series, including Takei; the next four (1994-2002) starred the cast of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

The film will open on May 9 in Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the U.K. and Ireland, and May 10 in Mexico and Taiwan. Fans in Japan will have to wait until Aug. 23.

The Hollywood premiere will take place on May 14 at the Chinese and Kodak theaters. Cho is scheduled to appear on “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” on May 13 and KTLA’s morning newscast on May 14.

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