A character in the upcoming Star Trek movie was made gay to "break some ground", the film's co-writer and star Simon Pegg has told ITV News.

Addressing criticism from some fans and George Takei - the actor who used to play the character in question Hikaru Sulu - Pegg said the decision was made in the spirit of the creator of the original Star Trek television series, Gene Roddenberry.

The idea was just to break some ground, in the spirit of Gene Roddenberry, do something progressive. He was an extraordinary visionary and he fought great battles for tolerance.

Simon Pegg

Simon Pegg stars as Scotty, along with Idris Elba as the villainous alien Krall, in Star Trek Beyond, which held its European premiere in London tonight.

Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Sofia Boutella, John Cho, Idris Elba, Justin Lin, Simon Pegg, Lydia Wilson and Chris Pine attending the premiere of Star Trek Beyond held at the Empire in Leicester Square, London Credit: PA

George Takei played the part of Hikaru Sulu in the original television series and in the first six films. He said it was "really unfortunate" that his Star Trek character is revealed as being gay in Star Trek Beyond, saying that it twisted the vision of the show's creator.

Pegg however believes the show's creator was unable to introduce an LGBT character, telling ITV News: "If he could have fought that battle, he probably would have done, but the fact is the network wouldn't have wanted it."

"We're still a tentative, kind of suspicious species when it comes to change," Pegg added.

The movie is set for UK cinema release on July 22.