In observance of Star Trek Day (Sept. 8), George Takei, who played Sulu in the original series, joined several other actors from the franchise outside Paramount Studios in support of the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes.
Picketing has gone on for more than 50 days outside major studios and networks in Los Angeles, New York and other cities.
“Thank you to everyone who boldly joined us for Star Trek Day to honor the true meaning behind ‘Star Trek,’ equality and respect,” Takei posted on Facebook. “I hope the studios and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers will hear us, see us, and treat us with the respect we all deserve. United we trek. Live Long and Picket.”
In an interview with KTLA, Takei noted that contrary to the perception that all actors are well off, the vast majority of SAG-AFTRA members don’t earn the annual minimum required to receive health benefits.
Takei made his debut as Sulu 57 years ago on Sept. 8, 1966, when “Star Trek” premiered on NBC. The show was canceled in 1969 but he has also appeared in the animated series (1973-74), six movies (1979-1991), and episodes of “Voyager” and “Lower Decks.”
Other Trek actors joining Takei on the picket line included:
Walter Koenig (Chekov) from the original series;
Isa Briones (Soji/Dahj), Michelle Hurd (Raffi), Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine), Santiago Cabrera (Rios), Jonathan Del Arco (Hugh) and Todd Stashwick (Shaw) from “Picard” (Ryan previously appeared on “Voyager” and Del Arco on “The Next Generation”);
Linda Park (Hoshi Sato), John Billingsley (Dr. Phlox) and Dominic Keating (Malcolm Reed) from “Enterprise”;
LeVar Burton (Geordi LaForge) and Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) from “The Next Generation” (both also appeared on “Picard”).
The studios have generally said they want the WGA and SAG-AFTRA to agree to similar terms already approved by the Directors Guild of America, which iclude a roughly 12.5% salary incrase and an estimated 21% jump in streaming residuals, along with assurances that artificial intelligence will not supplant the duties of human beings.