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  • 30 Jan 2023

    Seemingly out of the blue, the Star Trek Universe has lost one of its most recent additions to the family.

    Perhaps as widely recognised for her roles in 24 and Bosch, Annie Wersching may well remain as one of fandom's best parts of Picard's second season. But at the age of just 45, the actress has sadly lost her battle with cancer.

    As the third and most recent incarnation of the Borg Queen, Wersching was a key element of the story with her social media feeds full of shots from her time on Picard. Indeed, Wersching was becoming something of a staple of conventions in 2022 however her online activity seems to have slowed in August of last year. Indeed, it seems that she kept her diagnosis - confirmed in 2020 - very private. Already there is a GoFundMe campaign which has raised $135,000 to help support her three children following Annie's death.

    Breaking out thanks to her role as Agent Renee Walker in the groundbreaking 24, Wersching had an active onscreen career as well as voice acting in the game The Last of Us which has recently been converted into a series in itself.

    Some Kind of Star Trek offers its condolences to her family at this sad time.

  • 07 Jan 2023

    What seems like years have passed since the mid-season break for Nickelodeon’s impressive Star Trek: Prodigy leaving us wondering what lay ahead for the youthful crew and how the real Kathryn Janeway would affect proceedings.

    It's return hasn’t disappointed. At time of writing we’re hitting the midway point of the second half of season one (episode 15 in shorthand) with each week just adding a little more spice to this young child of the Star Trek Universe.

    Just to recap, the crew seemed to have defeated the Diviner and made good their escape aboard the USS Protostar however it came to pass in the final seconds that the real Admiral Janeway and the USS Dauntless were hot on their heels. Problem is that the Protostar is carrying a weapon from the future which could destroy Starfleet if it so much as communicates with any element of the organisation.

    This was borne out in the mid-season premiere, Asylum in which the starship docked with a distant Starfleet communications outpost and met with its sole operator, the Denobulan Barniss Frex. Revealing Murf’s race in the process (and almost off nonchalantly) it opened up the mystery of what species Dal is and showed the destructive power of the Protostar’s terrible secret which cannot be removed. Offering the first real contact with Starfleet it expectedly doesn't go to plan.

    If you thought the opener was a powerful move, its successor in Let Sleeping Borg Lie, topped out with the return of the Borg. But wait, instead of First Contact/Voyager Borg, Prodigy chose to go full-on retro and chose to take the cybernetic collective back to their TNG days albeit that little more stylish. It’s an episode that definitely stakes a claim that Prodigy isn’t a kids series for the most part with a big call back that would require at least some knowledge of the franchise to ‘get’. There’s even phaser modulation, reference to specific pieces of Borg tech and a visually gorgeous cube packed into the episode.

    Actually let's justify that even further. The Borg haven't felt this menacing since First Contact. They are malevolent, unstoppable once more and ooze the menace that has been missing from them for nearly thirty years. Let Sleeping Borg Lie takes the crew deep into a Cube in search of a vinculum (previously referenced in VGR) but turns into a nightmare as Zero links with the Collective and near turns into a Drone. This is potentially Prodigy's most bleak instalment, driving the show to its darkest limits and trusting that fans of all ages will follow the nods to the past. It's actually a good thing to see the Borg once again raised to the level of a truly threatening opponent right where they should be.

    Following on, All the World's a Stage is a strong episode to highlight the Prime Directive (non-interference) while also providing an unexpected sequel to TOS. Star Trek has mocked itself before through most of Lower Decks and notably VGR's Live Fast and Prosper and this episode combines that with the storytelling aspect of the latter's Muse. It even nods towards the times Starfleet inadvertently influenced civilisations such as the Iotians from A Piece of the Action.
    As with the Borg-focused previous episode, the intrinsic links to the show's history are key to the understanding of the plot. Prodigy seems to be stepping firmly out of "just a kids show" and into the mainstream of the franchise with its choice to embrace near six decades of lore. My only concern is that while it is a clear chance to promote all the great elements from Star Trek's far and wide corners, the fan friendly nods might end up alienating the younger generation who were the original target audience. That said you can't ignore how good it feels to have such a rich history to mine, explore and expand upon just as we see here.

    In All the World's... Starflight has inspired the Enderprizians way of life for a century. While the eventual reveal of the real Gallows is a tip to The Motion Picture's V'Gr, it's still an effective story that would be accessible to new fans. It gives a glimpse of the franchise's past and therefore a little temptation to find out more while also giving long-term fans something of a payoff that they might not have been expecting. Earlier in the season we'd seen Dal tackle command choices by recreating the bridge of the Enterprise-D replete with assorted crew from the franchise and now we have the appearance of the classic Enterprise bridge both as a stage performance and also to assist the Enderprizians when they are aboard the Protostar.

    But there's also real development for the characters here. Ok, so the Diviner's return and amnesia drives the story, we are starting to see each of the main crew come into their own. Dal has a mystery to solve alongside his evolution as a would-be captain. Gwyn has become more trusting as the series has gone on. Ruk isn't a third wheel to most of the stories and Zero is proving to be even more enigmatic than before.

    But the two standouts at this stage have to be Jankom Pog (whom I really didn't like at the beginning) who is helping viewers to expand their understanding of Tellarites (cleverly mirrored with the Dauntless' medical officer) and has shown himself to be an adept engineer. Then there's Murf. His species now revealed, the cute blue blob has started to evolve, opening up a whole heap of new possibilities as yet untouched by Star Trek and all borne from one single reference in a first season TNG episode. Not bad at all. His evolution into some sort of super-agile defender of the crew is amazing and gets played slightly comedically which can seem out of place in the show's more high-intensity sequences.

    Four episodes in to this half-season and Crossroads actually felt like the right time for Admiral Janeway to come face to face with the young runaway crew of the Protostar. She has her questions as to what's happened to Captain Chakotay (and his crew?) but the point that Dal wouldn't reveal what was going on did feel as though it was the first real misstep of the show.

    Why not just explain what was going on and save the subsequent (but cool to see) chase between the two Starfleet ships? It makes for a great action-filled story that combines space combat with neat snow-bound racing with added Thadiun Okona yet it does feel oddly convoluted and a bit like banging your head on a wall.

    With that issue still in the back of my head, Masquerade did further the Dal/genetics plot as well as the continued pursuit by the Dauntless and the appearance of the Romulans. It feels as though this was the episode of the season where the most elements were crammed in to the half-hour run time. Fortunately (but rather abruptly) Okona leaves and that does alleviate some of the focus. That's odd in itself since there's a lot made at the opening of the episode around his speedy integration with the Protostar's crew.

    Unboxing some of Dal's recessive genes makes for a different take on his character and one that does have lasting effects beyond Masquerade. Sometimes that's a good thing with Prodigy and at other points it does make him look like a spoiled child however that in turn does allow for a good breadth of character exploration.

    Escaping the Romulans intact is one thing and Preludes provides something of a respite before hitting the final run of four episodes. What's great here is that viewers get to see some of the character background and references played out which have been sprinkled in across the course of the season - and there have been a fair few. Jankom's pre-Federation sleeper ship for one, Zero's capture for another, Rok-Tahk's familiarity with Nutra-goop a third; they're all dipped into with more clarity. This could have been a filler yet wisely chooses to expand the understanding of the cast in a way that greatly benefits the show, not that audiences won't already have a level of attachment.

    While all this is going on aboard the Protostar there's still the ongoing narrative surrounding the revitalised but amnesic Diviner aboard the Dauntless. Janeway's crew is a little more generic but her first officer and doctor do receive at least decent screentime to act as her support. The main focus though does tend to be on Janeway and Ensign Ascensia. The junior officer does have a lot to offer as you head into the final run of episodes and is far more integral to the show than we might have anticipated back in Asylum but again if you watch it back there are small hints right from her introduction that there is more to be revealed.

    Potentially the most disappointing episode of the season could have been Ghost in the Machine. As a kids show it's a solid move to introduce a holodeck-breaks episode while also a brave step to head into heavily charted territory. Certainly there are hints of TNG's Emergence with the holodeck seeming to bear surreptitious messages in the sequence of programs. Of course there is an endgame to it all which leads into Mindwalk.

    As with the holodeck dangers, body swapping is an oft-used trope especially in Trek with it only recently utilised in the excellent Spock Amok with particular aplomb. Here it does help to further the overall arc and give Kate Mulgrew some new and different material to work on as Dal in Janeway's body. As a vocal performance she absolutely hits the mark and that has to be in part thanks to some sparky dialogue and the work of the animators to envisage just what it could be like. As said, it does really focus the attention onto the final two part episode.

    Sharing it's name with the recently released Prodigy game, Supernova has two very distinct parts to it. The first 30 chew out the dangers of the Living Construct buried aboard the Protostar and the second with the aftermath. Why does this work? Because the show actually takes time to deal with the results of the (SPOILER) devastation caused by the Construct and what to do with the Protostar crew. Again I don't want to screw over anyone who hasn't seen it yet but this is one of the most emotional, intense conclusions to a season that Star Trek has produced for a good few years. The characters really are fully rounded and for once a finale doesn't just round it all off nicely and reset. There are consequences here, there is fallout and it is a fitting way to round off season one.

    As a season this is one of the finest pieces in the Kurtzman jigsaw and totally, utterly, jaw-droppingly unexpected. For years I've dreamed of a Star Trek series that each week I've wanted to come back to over and over to find out what happens next and Prodigy delivered. Great characters, cool ship, great villain and a great, respectful nod to Voyager and the franchise. A grade Trek that's for kids... wink wink.

    What's been your take on Prodigy? Favourite moment or character?

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  • 07 Jan 2023

    A wormhole, a religious society and a space station might not have seemed the most obvious route to take when Star Trek was looking for a new direction in the early 90’s.

    Three decades later and seven full series on, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine remains the only show to have chosen a stable location for its base of operations week in, week out.

    Taking a decidedly different stance from TOS and the simultaneously on air TNG, DS9 revolutionised the franchise with many of its choices from day one. Utilising a reclaimed Cardassian mining station, having the lead only ranked as a commander and have the main cast include several non-Starfleet personnel are just a sprinkling of the offerings in Emissary.

    Amazingly - and with five series (one more than the Berman era of '87 to '03), the Kurtzman take on Star Trek has yet to try something similar. Ok, Discovery went with a non-captain lead (initially) and both it and Picard attempted season long arcs with varying levels of success. Discovery has mixed up the cast, spun a curveball with its 32nd Century jump but yet not one of the five have decided to set up roots in one place.

    Story arcs nowadays are nothing new but in 1995 when DS9 really kicked the Dominion War into touch it was a landmark for Star Trek if nothing else. Thirty years on and its legacy has only grown in stature. Now rated as potentially one of the best if not THE best Star Trek series, DS9 might have boldly stayed put for seven years but it allowed for a healthy ballast of secondary characters, recurring and ongoing stories and possibly the biggest galaxy building exercise in franchise history. The show developed backgrounds of both the Alpha and Gamma Quadrants with the latter still remaining largely untouched by the new era of shows.

    Aside from Enterprise it also remains largely untapped in 2023. Enterprise remains almost outcast but DS9 is conspicuous by the demands of fans for answers to the show, nods to what happened after What You Leave Behind and more. Recently Lower Decks has opened up passage to the station for its third season Hear All, Trust Nothing which returned both Nana Visitor and Armin Shimerman to voice their roles of Kira and Quark but there was still no word of what had occurred in the time since Sisko's disappearance.

    Amazing to think that back in 1993 it started off with one of Star Trek's best pilot episodes only to descend into an "alien of the week" show seemingly trying to be the swansong-approaching TNG but in one place. To quote from another space station based show around the same time, it was the last best hope... it failed.

    DS9 could never be TNG and that's where those first 20 episodes tend to fail. What it did do was illustrate that the galaxy wasn't as goddamn perfect as viewers were led to believe from aboard the Enterprise-D and that outside the Federation it wasn't all kisses and hugs galore. There was tension, there were differences out there on the frontier and while Voyager caved to internal demands, effectively neutering the Maquis, DS9 retained a healthy mix of personnel and believably all the way through. It never shied away from character changes and consciously embraced them. Sisko went badass, Bashir was briefly a Changeling and then revealed as an augment - and that's just two of the multiple characters.

    Looking back at that first season thirty years on, it's not that bad. Rose-tinted glasses are in play perhaps if you're not a super-fan of the Kurtzman shows, but even the weaker episodes are more memorable than some of Discovery's third and fourth season offerings. Move Along Home, The Storyteller and If Wishes Were Horses all seemed rather flat in '93 yet their presence in the franchise still echoes strong today. If nothing else they entertain, the characters are decently written even if the circumstances are bats-arse crackers. At its worst (allamaraine!) there seems a much greater depth and resonance to the plots than we see today. Admittedly no-one does ask what the Wadi are up to but hey, we can hope?!

    But it wasn't all cheese back then (no Voyager pun intended). Season one memorably brought about the oft copied but never bettered Duet, Tosk and ended with the arrival of Vedek Winn and the true beginning of the show's Bajoran political and religious arc.

    There was a tendency to over-rely on canon characters early on with the Duras sisters, Q, Vash and of course Picard all turned in before episode eight but that seemed to be dealt with rapidly. Q would never go back thankfully and bug Janeway for the next few years, Generations saw off the Duras sisters and it would take until Blood Oath in the late stages of season two before any other classic characters would wisely be brought back.

    Titillated during the first season and prominently in the opener, Emissary, the Bajoran arc seemed bungled to a degree before Winn and Vedek Bareil came aboard. Season two's opening trilogy of Homecoming, The Circle and The Siege showed the first real signs of life and potential rather than just that "alien of the week" approach that weighed down it's preceding year. But again, with some tweaks and thought, the Bajoran arc with its Pah Wraiths, orbs, vedeks and more would grow with the show. Initially it also provided a key way of showing the series could step outside the TNG-style framework and be unique since TNG never dared cover religion in such detail. It was a becoming a show that realised it could breathe on its own and tell its own stories without having to rely on its soon-to-finish sister series.

    Breathe it did with the arrival of the Dominion and that first volley of phaser fire from the USS Defiant in The Search, Part I. A season later Worf jumped ship in the "Dorn to DS9" twist that was The Way of the Warrior and the show truly hit its stride. I could wax on for hours about the brilliance of seasons five and six; For the Uniform, Children of Time, Call to Arms, Sacrifice of Angels, Far Beyond the Stars and unashamedly the franchise rocking In the Pale Moonlight are just a mere fraction of the demonstrations of both writing and acting talent this show would produce between 1993 and 1999.

    DS9 is, in my opinion, unchallenged in its greatness and ability to say it is the best of all the Star Trek series right from day one. Was it better after Ira Steven Behr took full control and was allowed to just do what he wanted because the focus was on the UPN jewel Voyager? Absolutely and it's all the better for it.

    DS9 is not without its faults and many of those are in its first 46 episodes but it learns, adapts and grows in ways which none of the current shows in the stable have even shown a glimmer of achieving. In their defence, two of these shows are animated, one is ending after three seasons and one has only completed a season but nothing says EPIC in the way that DS9 said it or rather screamed it for several years.

    Maybe it's therefore a good thing that we have stayed clear of a starbase, space station or colony so far in this era of the franchise. DS9 has left such a lasting impression that it may well have become the untouchable child, the one series that people just don't want to mess up. It had a start, a middle and an end and was fairly concrete in its

    At present the nearest we may get to seeing such a "single location" show is through the much rumoured Academy series or maybe the much delayed Section 31 show. So the wait for something, anything, that might be a follow up to this phenomenal part of the franchise is ongoing. One day, yes, there will be a show that treads a similar path but I think we'll have some time to wait before that becomes a reality. For now it's best to grab the box set and start that journey one more time.

  • 07 Dec 2022

    On December 5th 2012 I posted up the first piece to SKoST and wondered where it was going to go.

    A decade on and I'm probably no nearer answering that question than I was then. The Star Trek landscape has drastically changed. In those ten years we've seen the arrival of two movies and the relaunch of the franchise on TV. Amazing to think how little material we had to work with back then in comparison to now!

    It's been that cliched Long Road with all sorts of twists and turns on the way. A ton of reviews (RIP Eaglemoss), interviews, previews, opinions and more that I can't quite remember across the (to date) 988 articles I've posted. Some were "ok", some were experiments that will never be repeated again and there have been some in there which are genuinely very memorable for a host of reasons. So I thought back to the pieces that I loved putting together, ones that I loved writing or just thought were fun to attempt. Definitely not a list of "The Best" but ones where there's a bit of a story behind them.

    In no particular order...here's a selection from the years!!!

    5. Disaster

    The one that started it all and I kept reposting for a few years. The original concept for this blog was to review each and every episode of Star Trek from the point I'd hit back in December 2012. For a few weeks I managed to pull it off with a couple more articles on season five of TNG but then I thought I could do more than just retread ground that everyone else had been doing for years. While nowhere near my favourite piece, it's still got a special place as being the first that was published on here. Bizarre fact, I haven't watched Disaster since that review!

    4. Eaglemoss Preview

    For as long as I was writing there seemed to be Eaglemoss. A ship, an object, a terrible bust, another ship, a space station, a badge... something. As we know now it's all over and done ad probably on a shelf in your local Home Bargains or B&M in the UK. Back in the day I hounded Eaglemoss relentlessly for weeks about doing something in regards to the collection in its early days and small and insignificant as it seems now I was granted the chance to preview their first special - Deep Space Nine.

    I have no idea why they let me do it but I was the first site to show any pictures of the model and was used as Eaglemoss' unveiling of the special. I felt incredibly honoured at the time to be allowed to do it and little did we know what that journey would be like back in 2013! The XL and the Attack Wing version are probably better results but this one is a model that I recall very well thanks to the access I was given.

    3. The Toskars

    For the love of Christ. Back In The Day I made the unwise choice to try and do a podcast and it utterly fell apart. It proved to be too much work even though there were some points where my jaw hit the floor during recordings. I realised I write, I don't produce audio material and this short-lived series (thanks to Tiff and Ian for joining in with the chaos) was a laugh if nothing else. I've learned since just to guest on podcasts and have no involvement in editing and the like! Why the Toskars? Because of ALL the things that I've attempted over the years this is the article/piece that I still get asked about - will you do another one?

    Well, considering that several times during the recording of it I had a near complete breakdown I said "No" many times and very firmly. But...dammit... with the tenth anniversary approaching I reached out to Simon from The Engage Podcast and suggested (read "gave no option") to a Toskars episode. It's been recorded, got Tiff back for it along with the TEP gents, it exists and you'll be able to hear it soon.

    Si - hats off to you, you've taken a lot of time over it and I've been a pain in the ass but it was 100% worth the time. Loads of fun and it felt right to do now. Thanks to all involved with making it happen. Emotional - shall we do it again in 2027?!

    2. Fansets

    While Eaglemoss sapped the cash from my wallet in one direction, along came Fansets. Why would I pick these guys? Because - and I only found this out in the last year from Lew at Fansets - I was the first site to review their first batch of Star Trek pins. I was fairly shocked considering the appeal of their products and just how much the business has grown since that first review
    Over the years I've continued to collect and I absolutely owe Lew Halboth some page space because it's been too long. I've loved receiving those packages from the US (whatever the travel costs!) and the quality has always been excellent as has the customer service. Reviewing them has been a lot of fun and with a few new bits I guarantee I'll be back talking about some of their pins in the next few weeks - some older, some recent but all incredible.

    1. Aron Eisenberg

    I've been blessed to talk to several Star Trek alumni over the years in no small part to the generosity of venues (Wil Ross and David Limburg my thanks as always) to let me grab some time with their guests - and the guests themselves for putting up with a round of questions. I fanboyed way, way too much with JG Hertzler, had photography lessons from Robert Picardo and discussed classic literature with Natalia Nogulich (that one should have been 30 mins but ended up at 90!)

    But of all of them, the one I remember most fondly is the time I got the nod to chat to Aron at First Contact Day in 2016. He said hi and we wandered down a corridor into a meeting room where there was another one of the crew having lunch. I dropped my phone on the table and hit record. The next hour was amazing. We just talked, went into some Trek territory and more. It was a true emotional rollercoaster and while all the interviews are a blessing, I came out of this one just blown away by the kindness, openness and just all round friendliness of Aron Eisenberg. As we closed it up, the guy eating his lunch was still in the room. He looked up and said; "Wow. That was an incredible interview."

    I still have the original audio for it and haven't listened to it for a long time but I may just have to now. While I was probably over exuberant with my thanks I still don't think I did him justice and his passing was a very saddening moment for me. I'm ridiculously thankful that I got the chance to talk to him.

    0. YOU

    To every single person who has written something, read something, chatted in the comments, message boards, Facebook, Twitter... wherever - thank you. Even to the guy who once asked me to have an argument and include facts with references - you've all been a big part of this last decade and I've made a whole host of new friends across the years. I would name you all but I know I'll miss someone out so I'll just say THANK YOU. Without the input, the badgering, the laughs, the occasional moment of being pissed off and jacking it all in, you've made it all worthwhile and a great trip this far. Is this the end? Is this where I close the book and move on? Absolutely not. I did start the year in a very strange place mentally but things have certainly changed and I'm, inexplicably, still here.
    More to come. I guarantee it.
    Thank you all
    Clive

TrekCore Latest Updates

30
Jan

1918 David Opatoshu is born.
1934 Alan Bernard is born.
1935 Jean-Paul Vignon is born.
1938 Robert Wiemer is born.
1941 Gregory Benford is born.
1946 Jerry Sroka is born.
1955 Sheldon Collins is born.
1961 Denys Cowan is born.
1962 Abdullah bin al-Hussein is born.
1963 Daphne Ashbrook is born.
1967 Third day of filming on TOS: "Errand of Mercy". The 27 January script version marked as "Shooting Script" for TOS: "The City on the Edge of Forever" is reportedly revised to have internal pages marked with this date.
1971 The Eighteenth UK Story Arc continues in TV21 & Joe 90 #71 with the seventh of nine installments.
1980 Chad Haywood is born.
1983 Mack Reynolds dies.
1989 TNG: "Unnatural Selection" airs.
1991 Third day of filming on TNG: "The Nth Degree".
1992 Fifth day of filming on TNG: "The First Duty".
1994 DS9: "Armageddon Game" airs.
1995 DS9: "Life Support" airs. VOY: "Time and Again" airs. Last day of filming on VOY: "Prime Factors". First day of filming on VOY: "State of Flux".
1997 Third day of filming on VOY: "Distant Origin". Final draft script for DS9: "Ferengi Love Songs" is submitted.
1998 Fourth day of filming on DS9: "In the Pale Moonlight". Third day of filming on VOY: "Living Witness".
2001 Sixth day of filming on VOY: "Author, Author".
2002 ENT: "Sleeping Dogs" airs. Fifth day of filming on ENT: "Oasis". Thirty-seventh day of filming on Star Trek Nemesis.
2003 Third day of filming on ENT: "Horizon".
2004 Sixth day of filming on ENT: "The Forgotten".
2008 Herb Kenwith dies.
2012 Thirteenth day of filming on Star Trek Into Darkness.
2018 Star Trek: Adversaries is released.
2019 Dick Miller dies.
2020 PIC: "Maps and Legends" premieres on CBS All Access.

View tomorrow's page

  • 30 Nov 2022

    Presented below is the complete set of final prices realized for the 303 lots of Star Trek memorabilia that were offered in the Prop Store Nov. 29, 2022 Star Trek: Picard Auction; which concluded yesterday in a live online bidding session at the Prop Store (usm.propstoreauction.com) auction site.

    The most expensive item in the sale was Lot Number 22, the Data (Brent Spiner) "Daughter" with Back Turned Hand-Painted Framed Painting, which realized a final price of $68,750 (including a 25% buyers premium). Lot #198, an Admiral Jean-Luc Picard Stunt Starfleet Uniform with Production-Quality Replica Combadge sold for a final amount of $55,000 (based on a high bid of $44,000); and Lot #256, a Maurice Picard PADD and Pen with a Yvette Picard Wedding Ring, witnessed a final price of $50,000 (including buyers premium). Other highly notable items in the auction included Lot #7, a Jean-Luc Picard Stunt 2360s Starfleet Uniform with Replica Combadge, which witnessed a final sales price of $36,250 including premium; and Lot #48, a Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) Federation Case and Starfleet Combadge, that sold for $20,000 including premium.

    The following results show the final prices realized for the various memorabilia lots, which includes the additional 25% buyers premium. Just click on any of the images below to view an enlarged version ...

  • 01 Aug 2022

    On the night of Saturday, July 30th, 2022, the world lost another much beloved cast member of Star Trek: The Original Series with the passing of Nichelle Nichols at the age of 89. According to a statement to the New York Times from family spokesperson Sky Conway, the actress died of heart failure at her home in Silver City, New Mexico. Her son, Kyle Johnson, posted the following statement on the actress's offical website Uhura.com: "Dear Friends, Fans, Colleagues, World, I regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for so many years. Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away. Her light, however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration. Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all. I, and the rest of our family, would appreciate your patience and forbearance as we grieve her loss until we can recover sufficiently to speak further. Her services will be for family members and the closest of her friends and we request that her and our privacy be respected. Live Long and Prosper, Kyle Johnson".

    Nichelle Nichols, born Grace Dell Nichols on December 28, 1932 in Robbins, Illinois, played Lt. Uhura, the beautiful and intelligent Communications Officer on the Bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise, the head of her department aboard the ship and a linguistics expert who handled all ship-to-ship transmissions and communiques to/from Starfleet Command, participated on the occasional landing party expedition, and was a technical specialist in the underlying circuitry of her Bridge workstation – effecting repairs when needed. As a highly skilled senior staff operations division officer, she was capable of substituting for other positions on the Bridge, and, indeed, was assigned to the navigation station by Mr. Spock in “The Naked Time” to replace Lt. Kevin Riley; and also took over Navigations from Lt. Stiles in “Balance of Terror”. In “The Galileo Seven”, while Spock was away in command of the shuttlecraft mission, Uhura manned the Science Station for Kirk and was the one who discovered the planet Taurus II where the shuttle had crashed.

    With her magnificent portrayal of the truly pioneering role of Lt. Uhura, Nichelle Nichols made television history and helped shape the social consciousness of the nation. Uhura was a character that completely broke down the stereotypes of those years – as a black female in a leadership role was simply unheard of in ‘60s television prior to TOS.

    Not all fans of the Original Series are aware that Nichols came extremely close to leaving the show at the completion of the first season; and had in fact met with Gene Roddenberry and resigned after filming the last episode of the year. It was an unanticipated historic encounter literally the next day that caused Nichols to re-evaluate her decision. As described in her autobiography Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1994):The following evening I attended an important NAACP fund-raising event. I was chatting with someone when a man approached and said, ‘Nichelle, there is someone who would like to meet you. He’s a big fan of Star Trek and of Uhura.’ I turned to greet this “fan” and found myself gazing upon the face of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” During their conversation, Nichols mentioned to Dr. King that she did plan to leave the series, and he literally talked her out of that decision with an impassioned and eloquent articulation of the importance of her continued presence on the show. From “Beyond Uhura” .. “’You cannot,” he replied firmly, “and you must not. … You have the first nonstereotypical role on television, male or female ... You have created a character of dignity and grace and beauty and intelligence. … You’re more important for people who don’t look like us. For the first time, the world sees us as we should be seen, as equals, as intelligent people.... Remember, you are not important there in spite of your color. You are important there because of your color.”

    Of course, not only did Nichelle Nichols remain on Star Trek, but on the night of Nov. 22, 1968 – with the broadcast of the 3rd season episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” – she stepped into the history books again by participating in the first televised interracial kiss, between a black woman and a white man (William Shatner), on American network television. Despite a high level of internal controversy about the momentous scene, with NBC executives becoming quite nervous about upsetting or angering audiences in the Deep South, and some well planned conspiracy on the part of Shatner and Nichols to deliberately flub every take of a network requested alternate version of the scene that would feature a fake, simulated kiss - thus leaving the studio with no usable footage except that with the real kiss – the episode in fact was successfully aired and received a tremendously positive response with much enthusiastic fan mail. Indeed, Nichelle Nichols noted in Beyond Uhura that just a single, mildly disapproving letter arrived at the studio, from a white Southerner who wrote: “I am totally opposed to the mixing of the races. However, any time a red-blooded American boy like Captain Kirk gets a beautiful dame in his arms like Uhura, he ain’t gonna fight it.”

    Between the ages of 12 and 14, Nichols had studied classical ballet at the Chicago Ballet Academy, and she began her entertainment industry career as a singer and dancer, performing with Duke Ellington and Lionel Hamptom before narrowing her focus to acting. She was also a dancer in the 1959 Columbia Pictures musical film Porgy and Bess, and a performer in the 1961 New York City-based musical stage show Kicks & Co. As an actress, Nichols appeared in an episode of Gene Roddenberry’s series The Lieutentant in 1964, and had also played television roles in Peyton Place, Tarzan, and a few other shows prior to being cast in TOS. In later decades, she would lend her voice to such animated series as Batman, Gargoyles, Spider-Man, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command and Futurama; and, in recent years, the actress has made appearances on such live action/dramatic series as Heroes, The Young and the Restless, and Renegades.

    One of Nichelle Nichols most noteworthy non-acting endeavors was her volunteer work with NASA to assist in the recruitment of women and minorities into America’s space program. A tremendously successful project, Nichols was involved in the program that recruited Dr. Sally Ride – the first female U.S. astronaut; Col. Guion Bluford – the first African-American astronaut, and others. Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to travel in space is well known to have been greatly inspired to reach for the stars by Nichols performance as Uhura while growing up watching Star Trek well before the TOS actress became affiliated with NASA. Since the mid-80s, Nichols also served on the Board of Governors of the Wernher von Braun founded National Space Society advocacy organization.

    On a personal note, like millions of fans around the world, I feel as if I've lost a family member today. I first met Nichelle Nichols in late July, 1976 at the Toronto Star Trek '76 convention held at the Royal York Hotel in my hometown of Toronto, Canada. All of the Star Trek stars at that event went out of their way to put the fans at ease and were very gracious with their time, even pausing to chat with each fan a bit after signing autographs for them. The same was also true of Ms. Nichols. At the age of 14, despite being awestruck in her presence, I somehow overcame my youthful shyness and asked Nichelle if I might give her a kiss. She smiled, and I recall her bringing her face close to mine and then allowing me to place an innocent kiss on her cheek. After that momentous experience, I was truly in heaven for days! And surprisingly, the story of that kiss does not end in July 1976. Seventeen years later, in the summer of 1993, when I attended a Chicago Dreamwerks convention and told Nichelle of our prior encounter, with no underlying desire other than to thank her for a past kindness, the lovely actress surprisingly rose from her chair at the signing table and stated "History should repeat itself." And this time it was a full kiss on the lips. I do feel so honored to have met this beautiful, inspirational, Star Trek legend several times over the years; and to likely be in a rare category of fans that can claim to have shared a kiss with her on multiple occasions! The world has truly lost an icon, trailblazer and one of its most beautiful and gracious souls, while the heavens have gained a new shining star. Nichelle's legacy will long be celebrated by future generations.


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