You probably recognize George Takei as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the 1960s sci-fi series Star Trek. He continued playing Sulu in six Star Trek films and an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. But did you know that he has also portrayed a sadistic Japanese POW camp commander, a priest, and was even in Star Wars: The Clone Wars? Today, as we celebrate the 80th birthday of this iconic actor, we take a look at five lesser-known George Takei roles.
George Takei is better known for starring in the live-action Star Trek TV series, but he has a long list of voice acting roles as well. If you saw the 1998 Disney animated film Mulan, you may have missed the USS Enterprise helmsman’s voice.
In Mulan, George Takei plays the leader of the Fa family ancestors. He is awakened from his slumber when Mulan runs away to join the army. He and the other ancestors initially disagree on what to do, but they all eventually decide to send a guardian to retrieve her. George reprised his role in the sequel, but no word yet as to whether he’ll be joining the cast of the 2018 live-action Mulan remake.
Nearly every actor with Asian ancestry has done a martial arts film during their career, and George is no exception. If you can even count Ninja Cheerleaders as a martial arts film.
In the film, George portrays a ninja sensei named Hiroshi. When a mafia boss kidnaps the sensei, his three cheerleader students need to rescue him. UGO Networks called the comedy film “just an excuse for hot women to do martial arts.”
Kubo and the Two Strings
George’s work in Kubo is a friendly reminder that this actor is in no rush to retire. The film revolves around a boy named Kubo and his journey to subdue his mother’s corrupted sisters and his power-hungry grandfather Raiden (aka, the Moon King), who stole his left eye.
George plays Hosato, a villager who teaches his daughter their Japanese culture and traditions. George’s character’s name is a subtle nod to George’s own Japanese heritage as Hosato is Takei’s Japanese name.
Another voice role, George Takei played Master Sensei, the head teacher of the Yamanouchi Ninja School in the animated series, Kim Possible. The show revolves around high schooler Kim Possible, a teenager tasked with fighting crime while coping with everyday issues commonly associated with adolescence. George appeared as Master Sensei in three episodes of the show.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
There’s a bit of a rivalry between Star Trek and Star Wars fans, but this Star Trek actor wasn’t concerned when he took a role as Lok Durd in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Lucasfilm initially planned on bringing George Takei in to play a recurring villain in the show, but their plans went nowhere and George’s character never appeared again.
Lok Durd was a male Neimoidian arms developer who served as a General in the Separatist Droid Army during the Clone Wars. He appeared again in the Rogue One novel as one-half of a prisoner exchange set up to secure the release of Galen Erso, Lyra Erso, and the baby Jyn Erso from imprisonment on Vallt.