- This page details Hikaru Sulu in the primary universe; for the Hikaru Sulu in the mirror universe see Hikaru Sulu (mirror); for the Hikaru Sulu in the Kelvin timeline created by Nero's temporal incursion, see Hikaru Sulu (Kelvin timeline); for the Hikaru Sulu in the mirror universe created by Nero's temporal incursion see Hikaru Sulu (mirror) (Kelvin timeline); for the Hikaru Sulu in all other alternate universes see Hikaru Sulu (alternates).
- This character is a member of the Sulu family.
Hikaru Kato Sulu (also known as Hikaru W. Sulu or Itaka Sulu) was a human Starfleet officer, best known for commanding the USS Excelsior, as well as serving aboard the USS Enterprise and USS Enterprise-A.
Early life and career
In 2248, Sulu and his family moved from Earth to Ishikawa, on the planet Ganjitsu, located along the Federation-Klingon border. An unexpected Klingon force attacked the colony they lived at. This resulted in the death of a girl Sulu was close friends with. Only many years later, did he finally release this consuming guilt he had harbored. (TOS movie, novelization & comic adaptation: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)
By 2251, Sulu was living on Hafjian, a high-gravity planet where the inhabitants were forced to wear Lieber exoskeletons. Years later, Dr. McCoy was concerned that this might cause problems for Sulu after he turned 70. By 2252, Sulu was once again living on Ganjitsu, when he snuck aboard the USS Aerfen to meet Captain Hunter. Sulu was discovered and given a guided tour of the starship. (TOS novel: Enterprise: The First Adventure)
Sulu entered Starfleet Academy in 2255, and quickly developed an aptitude for Spatial Navigation, as well as fencing, in which he became champion for three years running. Hikaru also took up an extracurricular in botany, finally graduating in 2259. This aspect of his hobbies earned him the nickname, "D'Artagnan" six years later. (TOS episodes: "The Man Trap", "The Naked Time")
Sulu's first shipboard deep-space assignment as a Starfleet ensign following his graduation was aboard the USS Arjuna, where the starship encountered the nomadic Betelgeusian species, whose entire civilization were carried aboard massive fleets of interstellar argosies after fleeing the impending supernova of their home star. On his very first day as an ensign aboard the ship, Sulu accidentally spilled coffee all over the helm controls, a mortifying experience that did not endear him to the ship's captain. (TOS novel: The Face of the Unknown; TOS - The Modala Imperative comic: "A Little Seasoning")
- A contradictory account of Hikaru Sulu's immediate post-Academy career is presented in the video game Starship Creator, where, instead of taking a shipboard assignment after graduation, Sulu decided to continue his studies, and as a result of his research and publishing an article about "Experimental Subparticle Physics and Their Application to Warp Drive", received a promotion to lieutenant, junior grade in the same year. (ST video game: Starship Creator)
In 2259, Sulu entered Starfleet Command School at the Academy. He entered for the fall semester of that year. He had flown a simulation helicopter, much like the Huey 204 series, while training there for his pilot certificate. (TOS novel: The Kobayashi Maru, TOS movie, novelization & comic adaptation: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)
Aboard the Enterprise (NCC-1701)
In 2264, Sulu was expecting to be assigned to the USS Aerfen when he received orders to board the USS Enterprise as the ship's helmsman. Although he requested a transfer, this was refused by Captain James T. Kirk, and following the voyage around the Federation Phalanx Sulu decided to remain aboard anyway. (TOS novel: Enterprise: The First Adventure)
- According to TOS comic: "All Those Years Ago...", Sulu was serving aboard the Enterprise under the command of Christopher Pike, prior to Kirk assuming command in 2264.
- According to the elder Spock in TOS novelization: Star Trek, "In both our histories the same crew found its way onto the same ship in a time of ultimate crisis." This may imply that there is an untold story set in the prime timeline in which Kirk's crew faced an extremely serious challenge while still a new and untested unit.
Later that year Sulu transferred to the Astrophysics department and was replaced at the helm by Lieutenant Commander Gary Mitchell. However, Sulu was temporarily thrown back into helm duties by the crisis at Mestiko, as the pulsar ravaging that world threatened to destroy the Enterprise. Following Mitchell's death in 2265, Sulu requested to be transferred to another Constitution-class starship, as he was bored in astrophysics. Rather than losing a much valued officer Captain Kirk offered him the position of helmsman, and Sulu accepted. His mathematics skills carried over into this new field. (TOS episode: "Where No Man Has Gone Before";TOS - Mere Anarchy eBook: Things Fall Apart; TOS - My Brother's Keeper novel: Constitution; WizKids module: Attack Wing)
Soon after, Sulu led his first landing party on an uncharted world that held archaeological ruins. A member of Sulu's team accidentally triggered an ancient security system and geologist Vanani Manprasad was killed. Sulu confided with friend and shipmate Janice Rand about his self-doubt as to whether or not he was truly bridge officer material. Sulu got over his doubts after the Captain cleared him of all wrongdoing in the matter and assured him that the helm was still his if he wanted it. (TOS short story: "The Landing Party")
At some point during the Enterprise's five-year mission, Sulu was transported via an unknown phenomena to the USS Valiant in the Trexelian Expanse. Sulu temporarily assisted the Valiant crew. (TOS video game: Trexels)
In 2269, Sulu considered applying for a transfer off the Enterprise because he felt like more of a challenge. Kirk realized this and put through a request that Sulu be promoted to Lieutenant Commander. This promotion went into effect the same year. (TOS novel: The Entropy Effect, ST website: StarTrek.com, TOS movie, novelization & comic adaptation: Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
In 2270, while piloting the Enterprise as it worked to save the mining colony on Klondike VI from its decaying rings, Sulu had a unique opportunity to meet and work with old Earth astronaut Shaun Geoffrey Christopher, who had briefly been transferred into Kirk's body via an alien probe. Realising that he had been 'programmed' with the energy pattern the probe used to stabilise an ancient program to preserve the planet's rings, Christopher was allowed to sit at the helm of the Enterprise alongside Sulu to fire the ship's phasers to duplicate the effect, saving the colony, Sulu noting to Christopher that he had always been a fan of early cosmonauts (TOS novel: The Rings of Time).
In a region of the Trexelian Expanse, Sulu's shuttle was retrieved by the USS Trexelprise during the course of that area of space being involved in a weakening of the time continuum. (ST video game: Trexels)
- It is not clear when or even if this occurred during Sulu's primary universe service, due to the conditional nature of Sulu joining the crew in the distortions present in the Trexelian sectors.
In early 2270, Sulu actually did request a transfer off Enterprise as he blamed Kirk for the fatal wounding of his girlfriend, the ship's A-and-A officer Ensign Mai Duyen Trinh, during an away mission. Kirk regretfully approved the request and Sulu was transferred to the USS Courageous as its second officer. Despite his promotion, Sulu was not happy and deliberately didn't integrate with the crew of the Miranda-class vessel.
A few months later, the Courageous and the Enterprise defended a Bajoran colony from an attack by the Ascendants. The Courageous was badly damaged and Sulu took command after Captain Caulder was killed and Commander Costley was injured. This command experience caused Sulu to reevaluate his blame towards Kirk and he requested to rejoin the Enterprise crew. (TOS novel: Allegiance in Exile)
Return to the Enterprise
During the refit Sulu and Pavel Chekov took shore leave on Earth, Chekov convincing Sulu to visit the holiday resort of Demora in the middle of the Sahara desert. At first Sulu was against the idea, but once there he met a mysterious woman calling herself Ling Sui. Sulu wound up getting sucked into Ling's nefarious activities, resulting in the pair of them getting stranded in the middle of the Sahara desert. They spent the night together in an oasis, but after falling asleep, Sulu woke to find Ling had gone. Chekov was able to rescue Sulu in a shuttle, but they found no sign of Ling. (TOS novel: The Captain's Daughter)
Shortly after the encounter with V'Ger, Kirk decided to name Sulu as his second officer, feeling that it would be good command level experience for Sulu. When Spock took personal leave on Vulcan, Sulu stood in as first officer. (TOS novel: Ex Machina) Sulu took the opportunity to tell the story of his Kobayashi Maru test to Kirk, McCoy, Scotty and Chekov while they were stranded aboard a drifting shuttlecraft following an accident. (TOS novel: The Kobayashi Maru) When a child was killed by a plasma grenade during a fight between Klingons and an Enterprise landing party on Cragon V, Weyland, the omnipotent ruler of the planet, punished Kirk by sending Sulu, Scotty and Chekov back in time. Sulu found himself in Japan in 1600, where he swore allegiance to Torii Mototada, the lord of Fushimi Castle, and fell in love with Mototada's concubine, Lady Oneko. Oneko pleaded with Sulu to take her into the mountains and live there with her as a farmer, but Sulu was unwilling to live in hiding and without honor. He brought her to safety in Edo, Japan and returned to Fushimi Castle, knowing that the forthcoming siege would result in the deaths of every person there. As the inevitable end of the siege approached, Sulu rode out into the enemy but was returned to the 23rd century by Weyland. (TOS novel: Home Is the Hunter)
In 2278 the Enterprise put in for another refit, and during her downtime Sulu was approached by Captain Morgan Bateson and offered the posting of First Officer aboard the USS Bozeman. Sulu accepted the position, but was instead called to Starfleet Medical by Dr. Leonard McCoy, who informed Sulu that Ling Sui, whose real name was Susan Ling, had died and left him a daughter, Demora Ling. At first Sulu planned to send Demora to a boarding school and take the Bozeman posting, but as he grew to know her, he decided to take up fatherhood, accepting a posting at Starfleet Academy with Captain Kirk, so he could remain in San Francisco and care for her. (TOS novel: The Captain's Daughter)
When the Cetacean Probe began damaging Earth's atmosphere in its search for humpback whales, Hikaru Sulu and the senior crew of the late starship Enterprise traveled back in time from 2286 to 1986 to retrieve a pair of humpbacks. While in San Francisco of 1986, Sulu met and spoke in Japanese with a young child - the child believed Sulu to be his uncle. When McCoy asked who the child was, Sulu replied that the child was a distant ancestor of his. Sulu and his colleagues were able to successfully retrieve George and Gracie, and helped bring them back to the 23rd century, saving Earth in the process. His skills at firing the braking thrusters (twice) to escape Sol's gravity proved successful. (TOS movie, novelization & comic adaptation: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)
Upon the successful resolution of the Whalesong Crisis, a brand-new starship, the USS Enterprise-A, was launched and placed under the command of the newly-demoted Captain Kirk, in early 2286. Hikaru Sulu was once again assigned to the command staff of the Starship Enterprise, this time in the dual role of First Officer as well as Helmsman (Captain Spock remained on-board in his traditional role of Science Officer). Sulu would serve as executive officer aboard the Enterprise-A for approximately four years, from 2286, until November 2289, when he would be reassigned to the USS Excelsior. (TOS comic: "Choices!"; TOS novel: Excelsior: Forged in Fire)
In late 2289 Commander Sulu was assigned to the USS Excelsior as Executive Officer under Captain Lawrence Styles. Captain Styles treated Commander Sulu coldly, due to his involvement with stealing the USS Enterprise from Spacedock and for the public embarrassment that he and his command crew took. Commander Sulu also was commonly at odds with Lieutenant Commander Meredith Cutler, the Excelsior's Chief of security who had been tapped to be XO before Sulu arrived.
In one of his first missions as Captain, he attended a summit held at the Korvat colony at which Ambassador Curzon Dax used the tactic of angering Klingon delegate Kang in order to get him to move beyond posturing rhetoric. The tactic was successful, but Sulu considered Dax to be a loose cannon. (TLE novel: The Sundered)
This would, however, prove to be futile as the Federation/Klingon Peace Talks broke down due to a terrorist attack by the Klingon pirate, the Albino. In the attacks, Captain Styles was killed and Commander Sulu was made acting Captain of Excelsior by Starfleet. (TOS novel: Excelsior: Forged in Fire)
In 2290, Sulu and his crew then assisted the Enterprise as they helped the Tabukans disarm their warheads, maintain their peace between their worlds and prevent Romulan interference. (TOS - Tests of Courage comics: "Divide...and Conquer", "Showdown!"
In 2293, Captain Hikaru Sulu expressed his convictions to a young Ensign junior grade Tuvok for rushing to aid Kirk and the Enterprise at Rura Penthe and Camp Khitomer. Sulu's life was saved numerous times (TOS episodes: "The Enemy Within", "The Naked Time", "The Squire of Gothos", "The City on the Edge of Forever", "The Return of the Archons", "Catspaw", "That Which Survives", TAS episode: "The Infinite Vulcan") by Kirk and McCoy — who had just escaped Rura Penthe — and Sulu felt he owed them, even if it risked his career. (VOY episode: "Flashback")
Also in the same year, Sulu took the Excelsior to rescue the USS Ranger and Enterprise-A that had been caught in the Janus Vortex. During the event, he and his crew were transported into the mirror universe, where they exchanged places with their counterparts in that reality and found themselves on board their ISS Excelsior. After fighting off an attempt to destroy his vessel by Pavel Chekov, Sulu took his vessel and crew on a journey to Janus Ultima in order to return to their own universe. To accomplish this, he had to take the ship through Terran Empire space. Whilst on the journey, his ship came under attack from Klingon fighters and a battlecruiser, but the arrival of the ISS Renegade — under the command of Captain Kael — forced the Klingons to retreat. Kael then escorted Excelsior to Starbase 9, but was unaware of the fact that the ship has been replaced by counterparts from the primary universe. Arriving at the starbase, Sulu used an aggressive posture to convince the local CO into repairing his ships until they received a communication revealing Sulu to be an enemy. The starbase launched fighters to attack the Excelsior, but the crew's own complement of fighters managed to repel the attack. After the repairs were complete, the fighters of the Excelsior disabled the ISS Renegade; allowing Sulu to escape from the Terran base.
Attempting to reach the Klingon border, Sulu's crew crossed into an old weapon-testing range, where they encountered the M5 Unit, which had taken over four derelict vessels. The M-5 began attacking the Excelsior in an attempt to protect itself. Controlling four Constitution class starships and a number of drone fighters, the M5 Unit began its attack, and was suspected to be installed on the ISS Hood. After the annihilation of the Hood, the fighters self-destructed. Before the weakened Excelsior could continue its journey, an Orion scavenger ship attempted to pick it off, but thanks to its fighter squadron, the Orion ship was destroyed. Sulu then took the Excelsior to the border of Klingon space and found a Terran starbase, where he attempted to gain dilithium crystals to power his vessel, only to be ambushed by Chekov with a small fleet of ships. After a pitched battle between the two sides, Sulu managed to defeat Chekov, who was once again forced to flee. Taking the crystals, Sulu managed to re-energize the warp drive of his ship.
After entering into Klingon space, Sulu began to feel uneasy after traveling into a system that was supposed to be a primary industrial center in the Klingon Empire but only found small planetoids and asteroids in its place. Once there, they fought several Klingon fighters and were later attacked by Orion raiders, but managed to repel these assaults. Traveling deeper into Klingon space, he encountered more devastation and answered the distress calls of a nearby Klingon outpost, which was threatened with destruction by two damaged battlecruiers whose warp cores were about to explode. Despite trying to help, the Excelsior was attacked by the Klingons; who thought the ship was a Terran Empire vessel that was attacking the outpost. He later assisted the Klingons in destroying the Doomsday Machine which the Terran Empire had tricked into Klingon space, and which had been ravaging their territory. By saving the Klingon homeworld of Qo'noS, he earned their gratitude, and they helped escort him to the Romulan border. Once there, he was ambushed by Chekov's forces, who tried to destroy his Klingon escorts only to be repelled by the Excelsior's crew. While continuing his journey, he encountered the Mirror counterparts of Balok and the First Federation, who attempted to destroy him through the use of radiation emitting space buoys. Sulu and the crew managed to defeat Balok, and continue on their journey to Janus Ultima.
After entering the Romulan Neutral Zone, Sulu had to contend with a remote Romulan patrol, and destroyed them to prevent them from informing their military of the incursion into their space. Entering into Romulan space, he encountered a warning in the form of the dead hulks of numerous starships in their space, but continued his course. He eventually learned that the Romulan Republic of this reality had its space being ravaged by the Space amoeba entity, and Sulu helped them destroy the organism. In gratitude, the Romulans escorted him to Tholian space, where he was once again ambushed by Chekov. Despite the attack, he repelled Chekov's offensive, allowing Sulu to enter Tholian territory. In an attempt to avoid a large fleet from the Imperial Starfleet, Sulu had the Excelsior engage its warp drives, which had been damaged earlier. This action created a wormhole and deposited the ship into Tholian space. Before he could go to Janus Ultima, he received a distress call from the I.S.S. Enterprise-A, which had been attacked by Tholian ships, and was doomed without any help. Despite his reservation, Sulu helped Chekov, and in gratitude, the Imperial Starfleet Commander formed an alliance with Sulu, and helped him in fending off attacks from other ships.
Reaching the Vortex, they encountered a large, Terran Imperial fleet that attempted to stop them, but the assistance of the I.S.S. Enterprise-A allowed the Excelsior to enter the Janus Vortex, where they attempted to recreate the incident that allowed them to cross realities. In-between dimensions, he encountered his Mirror counterparts, and a battle erupted between the two until Sulu deployed the dilithium warhead, which catapulted both crews back to their own realities. Once back to his home universe, Sulu was informed by Chekov that the Klingons and Romulans were eager for him to lead them into a war against the Federation, but he declined the offer, and plotted a course to the nearest starbase. (TOS video game: Shattered Universe)
Sulu, along with his new First Officer, Cipriano, were then sent by Admiral Renshaw on diplomatic mission to meet with the Tholians in the Vyell system, to find about their recent disagreement/offense with the Federation colony on Mirabi 5 near their border. On the way the meeting with the Tholian, Sulu and the crew of the Excelsior responded to a distress call from the USS Shepherd, which had suffered heavy damage from a supernova. Fortunately they were able to rescue the Shepherd 's crew, but were 37 minutes late to the meeting with the Tholians. (TOS - Captain's Log comic: "Sulu")
In 2298, Sulu made contact with the sundered branch of Earth humanity known as the Neyel when the Excelsior followed an interspace corridor into the Lesser Magellanic Cloud. Sulu's efforts were crucial in preventing war between the Neyel and the Tholian Assembly. (TLE novel: The Sundered)
At some point in the early 24th century, Sulu takes shore leave time from Excelsior on an unnamed jungle-planet, when he is mistakenly attacked by Kang (now governor of a Klingon colony world), believing him to be the deceased James T. Kirk. Kang, investigating the alleged reappearance of Kirk there (following his disappearance in 2293), agrees to team up with Sulu in order to verify the rumor. Along the way, the pair are assaulted by an automated defense system, followed by a battle against S'alath, the Gorn captain defeated by Kirk decades earlier during the Cestus III incident. Although stunned by Sulu's phaser blast, the Gorn captain dies, apparently due to extreme age and physiological infirmity. It is discovered that the rumors surrounding Captain Kirk's "reappearance" were due to a holographic projector installed by the Gorn captain, causing visitors to see images of Kirk. Sulu and Kang bury the Gorn, shake hands, and part ways amicably, returning to their respective commands. (TOS comic: "The Veteran")
In 2308, Sulu went missing for eleven years when the Excelsior was pulled into another universe and subsequently destroyed. He and over five hundred survivors of the Excelsior crew were eventually rescued by the Enterprise-B. (ST - The Lost Era novel: One Constant Star)
Sulu remained captain of a vessel named Excelsior until at least the year 2320. Both he and his daughter — carriers of the prestigious rank — sponsored a young Chakotay's entrance to Starfleet Academy. (TOS novel: Burning Dreams, VOY episode: "Tattoo", ST novel: Tales from the Captain's Table)
In 2372, the USS Defiant was assigned to rescue the shipwrecked crew of the science vessel Victoria Adams — in particular, an unidentified Federation VIP observer who "must not fall into the hands of the Klingon High Council at any cost." During the mission, Julian Bashir encountered among the survivors an elderly Asian man calling himself "George," whom the doctor suspected to be that figure. Their conversations strongly implied that "George" was actually an incognito Hikaru Sulu. (DS9 novel: Armageddon Sky)
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After retiring from Starfleet in the first half of the 24th century, Sulu ran for public office, and eventually was elected as President of the United Federation of Planets, serving three terms. (ST novel: The Return)
When Nero and Ambassador Spock were sent back to the 23rd century, causing what was called the Kelvin timeline after Nero's assault of the USS Kelvin, a photo of Sulu and Spock's crewmates aboard the USS Enterprise-A was among the personal effects bequeathed to the alternate Spock after Ambassador Spock passed away in the year 2263. (TOS movie: Beyond)
Starfleet service record
|location||assignment||dates||rank or rate||assignment insignia||rank insignia|
|Starfleet Academy||student officer||2255-2259||cadet|
|Starfleet Command School||2259-2264||lieutenant junior grade|
|USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)||helmsman||2264||lieutenant|
|head of the Astrosciences Department||2264-2265|
|USS Courageous (NCC-1805)||second officer||2270|
|USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)||second officer/helmsman||2270-2278|
|USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)||second officer/helmsman||2285|
|USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-A)||executive officer/helmsman||2286-2289|
|USS Excelsior||executive officer||2289|
|USS Courageous (NCC-1805) personnel|
|Berenson • M. Caulder • J. Costley • Jackson • Pearson • Ramsey • Riordan • H. Sulu • March • Teglas • Tejada • Trenna • M. Wass|
|IKS B'rel/IKS Qel'poH personnel|
|Klingon Empire, Klingon Defense Force
as IKS B'rel or IKS Qel'poH
|Kruge • Maltz • Torg • unnamed Klingons (gunners, sergeant, etc.)|
commandeered as HMS Bounty
|Pavel Chekov • James T. Kirk • Konom • Leonard McCoy • Saavik • Montgomery Scott • Spock • Hikaru Sulu • Nyota Uhura|
|Terran Empire, Starfleet
temporarily commandeered as HMS Bounty
|Pavel Chekov • Spock • Hikaru Sulu|
|USS Enterprise-A personnel|
|Arex • Allocca • Arons • Banks • Barnes • Bearclaw • Benson • Bloemker • Borkowski • Boyajian • Bryce • Bob • Bull • H. Burke • L. Burke • Cassano • Castille • Chapel • Chekov • Clev • Codobach • Coletti • Connors • Darwa • Davis • Dax • del Gaizo • Delaney • Delaney • DeLeon • Dietrich • J. Finney • Fisher • Flaherty • Fouton • Fucci • Galaym • Hazzard • Hernandez • Hicks • Hunter • Isenberg • Jackson • Kaminsky • Kirk • Kitty • Konom • Laria • Lawlor • Lee • Kathy Li • Ludlo • McCoy • McIntyre • McMurphy • Meyer • M'Ress • M'yra • Naraht • Newman • Palamas • Paul • Popov • Rasche • Romaine • Ryder • Saavik • Samno • Scott • Sherwood • Spock • Staci • Sterno • Sulu • T'Rin • Tooch • Tuchinsky • Uhura • Valeris • Wetherell • Yost • unnamed USS Enterprise-A personnel|
|USS Aerfen personnel|
|Hunter • Ilya Nikolaievich • Hikaru Sulu (alternate timeline)|