Hikaru Sulu was 23rd century Human Federation Starfleet officer. As a starfleet cadet, he first served as helmsman of the USS Enterprise under the command of Christopher Pike. Sulu was involved in the defeat and death of Nero, a Romulan bent on the obliteration of the entire United Federation of Planets. As a result, he continued to serve as the helmsman and third officer of the Enterprise under the command of James T. Kirk. (Star Trek)
A year later, in 2259, Sulu was present when the Enterprise crew faced Khan, an enhanced Human from the late 20th century with superior strength and intellect. However, the crew of the Enterprise managed to stop him and afterwards in 2260, the Enterprise set out on the first five-year mission. (Star Trek Into Darkness)
In 2263, during its five-year mission, Sulu was present when the Enterprise was destroyed by Swarm ships, led by Krall, stranding the crew on Altamid. The crew and Jaylah, who was also stranded by Krall, later managed to leave the planet after repairing the USS Franklin, a ship commanded by Balthazar M. Edison that went missing in 2164. The crew traveled to Starbase Yorktown and stopped revenge plans put into motion by Krall, who was revealed to be Edison. Afterwards, Sulu continued to served under Kirk when he was given command of the USS Enterprise-A and continued the five-year mission. (Star Trek Beyond)
Helmsman of the USS Enterprise
Sulu took over at the helm of the USS Enterprise because the originally-assigned helmsman, McKenna, was ill with lungworm. As the fleet went to warp on its maiden voyage, Sulu forgot to disengage the external inertial dampener, leaving the Enterprise in Earth orbit for several moments as the rest of the fleet jumped away. Though embarrassing, the extra time afforded by this delay caused the Enterprise to enter the Vulcan system after Nero's assault had destroyed the rest of the fleet, likely saving the lives of the crew of the Enterprise. (Star Trek)
Sulu participated in a space-dive along with James T. Kirk and Chief Engineer Olson in an attempt to disable Nero's drilling rig as it drilled to the core of Vulcan. He was a skilled fencer and used his training in hand-to-hand combat and a retractable sword to fight Romulans on the drilling platform, saving Kirk from a potentially fatal attack by one of the Romulans. Subsequently, Kirk endeavored to return the favor, diving into a freefall to save a falling Sulu. (Star Trek)
Having been present when Pike appointed Kirk first officer, Sulu pointed out it was Kirk's right to sit in the command chair. During the Battle of Earth, Sulu carefully maneuvered the Enterprise into Saturn's orbit, where the planet's magnetic rings would shield the ship from the Narada's sensors. He sped the Enterprise after the Romulan vessel when it left the Sol system in pursuit of the Jellyfish, firing all the Enterprise's phaser banks to disarm the Narada's missiles. When the Narada was being sucked into a black hole but Nero refused an offer of help from Kirk, Sulu fired all phasers and photon torpedoes at the ship. He was later present when Kirk was promoted to captain, and remained the ship's helmsman under his command. (Star Trek)
In 2259, Sulu was piloting a shuttle on Nibiru to rappel Spock into a volcano that was endangering the Nibirans. Ash from the volcano damaged the shuttle, breaking the wire holding Spock, and forcing Sulu to dive to the Enterprise, which was underwater. (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Stopping John Harrison
During a mission to find mass murderer John Harrison, Sulu vouched for seventy-two experimental advanced long-range torpedoes being brought aboard the ship, though Montgomery Scott was refusing to allow them on board. While Kirk and Spock went to Qo'noS to apprehend Harrison, Sulu sat in the command chair and broadcast a message ordering Harrison to surrender or be fired on. His message was so frightening that McCoy asked Sulu to "remind me never to piss you off."' (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Later, when the Enterprise was severely damaged and hurtling to Earth, Sulu defied Spock's issuing of an order for the crew to evacuate the ship, preferring to go down with it. (Star Trek Into Darkness)
The five-year mission
Almost a year later, Sulu attended a memorial service for those killed, and resumed working as helmsman on the repaired Enterprise. He and Kirk spoke about the taste he had developed for sitting in the captain's chair, and Sulu expressed interest in captaining his own ship. (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Sulu left his husband and daughter behind for his duties aboard the Enterprise. In 2263, halfway through its five-year mission, the Enterprise stopped at Starbase Yorktown, where he met back up with his husband, Ben, and their daughter. After receiving a mission to escort Kalara through the Necro Cloud in an attempt to find her crew, the ship was attacked by Krall's forces. In the midst of the battle, Sulu took the conn as Captain Kirk hid an artifact known as the Abronath from the attackers. Sulu, along with Kirk and Chekov, escaped from the ship in their Kelvin pods to the surface of nearby planet Altamid. On the planet's surface, he, as well as Uhura and other surviving crewmembers, were captured by Krall. That night, Sulu and the others broke out of Krall's encampment and tried to send a message to Starfleet, only to find they were unable to. Sulu and the other crewmembers were finally rescued by Kirk, Jaylah, and others. With some difficulty, Sulu thereafter managed to fly the USS Franklin from the Altamid surface to a crash landing in Yorktown. (Star Trek Beyond)
Helmsman of the USS Enterprise-A
After Krall's attack on Yorktown was halted by James T. Kirk and his crew, Sulu attended a surprise birthday party the crew threw for their captain. At the party they watched the new Enterprise-A being built. Sometime later Sulu served as the helmsman of the USS Enterprise-A as the crew continued their five year mission. (Star Trek Beyond)
- 2258–2263: Helmsman of the USS Enterprise
- Is assigned to hunt down John Harrison, who is revealed to be Khan Noonien Singh
- Sometime after 2263:
- Transfers to the USS Enterprise-A
"He has lungworm, sir. He couldn't report to his post. I'm Hikaru Sulu."
- - Hikaru Sulu to Captain Pike (Star Trek)
"So, what kind of combat training do you have?"
- - James Kirk and Hikaru Sulu (Star Trek)
"Attention: John Harrison. This is Captain Hikaru Sulu of the USS Enterprise. A shuttle of highly trained officers is on its way to your location. If you do not surrender to them immediately, I will unleash the entire payload of advanced long-range torpedoes currently locked on to your location. You have two minutes to confirm your compliance. Refusal to do so will result in your obliteration. If you test me, you will fail."
- - Hikaru Sulu, to John Harrison (Star Trek Into Darkness)
- - Hikaru Sulu to James Kirk, on sitting in the Enterprise's command chair (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"That's one heck of a cold."
- - Hikaru Sulu to Keenser upon seeing his acidic sneeze. (Star Trek Beyond)
"You have no idea who we are, but you'll soon find out."
- - Hikaru Sulu to Krall (Star Trek Beyond)
"Mr. Sulu. You can... you know... fly this thing, right?"
"You kidding me, sir?"
- - James T. Kirk and Hikaru Sulu on piloting the USS Franklin (Star Trek Beyond)
Sulu is portrayed by John Cho.
When introduced in the screenplay for Star Trek, Sulu was described thus; "At 25, he's the Federation's best pilot." Also in the script, Sulu was referred to as having a PHD in astrophysics, and at one point physically fought with Kirk, grabbing his wrist when Spock was trying to eject Kirk from the Enterprise, although Kirk retaliated by "elbowing" Sulu. Later in the script, Sulu manually flew the Enterprise from its command chair (though, as it turned out, he is not actually shown in that chair until the subsequent film, Star Trek Into Darkness). 
When Simon Pegg was asking the principal cast of Star Trek Beyond if they had any requests for their own characters, John Cho had one thing in mind for Sulu. "I wanted Sulu to advance emotionally [....] I didn't ask for a shirtless scene," he revealed, with a laugh. (SFX, issue 276, p. 50)
Star Trek Beyond writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung intended Sulu to be gay, as a nod to Prime Sulu actor George Takei. When informed by Cho of the decision, Takei said he disagreed with the idea, feeling Gene Roddenberry had intended Sulu to be straight and that they should create a new gay character.  Pegg argued, "I don't believe Gene Roddenberry's decision to make the prime timeline's Enterprise crew straight was an artistic one, more a necessity of the time." While Pegg agreed with Takei that it was unfortunate there hadn't been an LGBT character before, imagining Sulu as gay meant they had one whose sexuality was not his defining characteristic.  Pegg expounded on his reasons on his blog.  Takei wrote he was nevertheless "flattered" by the decision and congratulated Pegg "on his daring and groundbreaking storytelling. While I would have gone with the development of a new character in this instance, I do fully understand and appreciate what they are doing." 
Simon Pegg said he was thankful the ensuing debate "has never been about whether there should be an LGBT character in Star Trek, it's been about who it should be, whether it should be a new character or an existing character."  The idea of Sulu having a daughter came as a surprise to John Cho. "I was excited about it, in terms of giving him some personal space," he admitted. Cho also found that Sulu's plight of his work requiring him to be away from loved ones for long durations was "easy to relate to," due to Cho's work as an actor demanding the same thing from him. (Star Trek Magazine Movie Special 2016, p. 66) Regarding Sulu's homosexuality, Cho commented, "I liked the approach, which was not to make a big thing out of it, which is where I hope we are going as a species, to not politicise one's personal orientations."  Although characters intended to be Sulu's husband and daughter appear in Star Trek Beyond, the nature of their relationships with each other is not established on-screen, aside from evidence that they are emotionally close.
Between takes during filming, John Cho often put his portrayal of Sulu on the backburner and concentrated on making others in the cast and crew laugh. "But as soon as the director yells, 'Action!' he transforms back into Sulu, and does his work so beautifully and gracefully. Then, as soon as we are prepped and break, he puts his character to the side and starts joking around the set [again]," commented Uhura actress Zoë Saldana, who did find Cho "very funny." (Star Trek Magazine Movie Special 2016, p. 46)
Though the script of Star Trek suggested he was born in 2233,  Sulu's dossier at the Star Trek movie app lists him as being born in 2237, to Hosato (father) and Yoshiko Sulu (mother). He is also established as having a brother, Aiko Sulu. Hikaru is listed as being a survivor of a Klingon attack on the colony world Ganjitsu in 2248. He enrolled in Starfleet Academy in 2255.
According to his dossier at the official Star Trek movie website, as with his prime timeline counterpart, Sulu was born in San Francisco. Also referenced in the same dossier, he was top of his class in astrosciences and advanced botany, and founded Starfleet Academy's European Swordsmanship club. His prime counterpart was the ship's chief of astrosciences in TOS pilot episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before" before becoming the helmsman in the series proper, and had expertise (as revealed during the course of the series) in botany and fencing.
In the novel Star Trek, while confronting Kirk about how he had been able to return aboard the Enterprise, Sulu mentions having a doctorate in astrophysics and a master's certificate in interstellar navigation, not to mention having completed a wide assortment of advanced seminars in subspace theory and related disciplines, and therefore could handle whatever explanation Kirk might give – though he recants this conclusion upon hearing the truth.
A sister, named Yuki (β), was introduced in "The Khitomer Conflict, Part 1", an issue of IDW Publishing's Star Trek: Ongoing series. She was posted on the Enterprise as an engineering officer after serving on the Armstrong, and was later revealed to be a member of Section 31. Her friend T'Pan (β) had a crush on Sulu before her death due to the destruction of Vulcan.
In the 2013 Star Trek video game, Sulu and Kirk briefly discuss friendly sparring matches they've had in the past. Sulu praises the captain and delivers himself a backhanded compliment at the same time, saying Kirk almost made contact last time.
In the first issue of IDW's Star Trek: Boldly Go comic series that is set after the events of Star Trek Beyond, Sulu is temporarily promoted to Commander and assigned to the USS Concord as First Officer serving under the alternate reality version of Captain Terrell. His family joins him there. By the fourth issue, following the Concord's destruction at the hands of the Borg, he is posted to the USS Endeavour (NCC-1805) (β), Kirk's interim posting while awaiting the construction of the USS Enterprise, as first officer.