Casting Uhura (or, Why I suddenly care about the new “Star Trek”)


Until quite recently, I didn’t give a toss about the upcoming J.J. Abrams reboot of Star Trek — not for any lack of geekiness, but because ever since Generations let me down, I’ve relied on my sister to stay remotely in the loop. Then along came a casting sheet, courtesy of Ain’t It Cool News:

“[UHURA] 25ish -African American. Brilliant, beautiful, heroic and FUN!, Uhura is almost tom-boyish – as if she grew up in a houseful of brothers.”

Brilliant, beautiful and “tom-boyish”? That certainly got my attention (and not just because of the bizarre punctuation and sentence structure). Sure, the call sounds a bit corny and oversimplified, and the first Lieutenant Uhura isn’t much of a tomboy, but she is by far my favorite character in the original series. As the Sci Fi channel says, “She’s the intergalactic switchboard operator we’d all like to be put through to.”

Whoever plays the young Uhura has some big shoes to fill. Nichelle Nichols‘ groundbreaking role inspired legions of fans, from future NASA astronaut Mae Jemison (who grew up to be the first African-American woman in space) to Whoopi Goldberg (who grew up to host The View).

Uhura’s part may have been small, but she was smart and gorgeous — and could kick serious, sexy ass when required. Watch her show parallel-universe Sulu who’s in command:


I hope the new Uhura will get more screen time than Nichols ever did — and in a spirit of optimism, I’ve got a few casting ideas of my own.

Zoë Saldana

Dominican-American actress Saldana (Guess Who, Center Stage) has my vote. She also has attitude and skills, and if Abrams makes Uhura do another fan dance (though let’s hope not), classically trained Saldana might be able to pull it off.

Rose Rollins

Yes, we want her for everything, and yes, Rollins strikes me as more tough girl than tomboy, but she’s the first person who came to mind and I’m sticking with her. Besides, it’s acting, right? If nothing else, we already know she looks good in uniform. Maybe we’d even get some great new pics to circulate.

Meagan Good

D.E.B.S. isn’t exactly a tour de force for Good, but it proves she can wield a weapon and do camp, and Star Trek is nothing if not campy. And again — we know she wears a uniform well.

So, all of you Star Trek and Abrams fans, I’m sure you have even better suggestions. Throw ’em out there — maybe Abrams is listening.

More you may like