The woman who inspired Natasha Yar was more involved in Star Trek then you think.
For many, Natasha Yar is a character that will exist as a “what if?”. A scenario where the character got more time and more opportunity to develop beyond what she was. For the creators of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Yar was a collection of other fictional characters but the one that may be the most prevelant in her developtment was Vasquez form Aliens.
Vasquez was supposed to be a woman of Hispanic descent, who carried around a large gun and generally didn’t seem to care too much for the Xenomporh aliens that persued her and the other marines in Aliens. Her death in the film remains one of the most memorable moments in a film filled with them.
Vasquez was played by Jenette Goldstein, who was making her big screan debut in the film. The character stood out in the film, which was hard, considering that stars like Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Lance Henricksen and Bill Paxton were all in the film as well.
Her impact was so impressive, the Next Generation started developing their security officer after Vasquez, though changes would be made that would move the character away from what Vasquez was and into more what fans now remember Yar as.
Well, despite being the inspiration for Yar’s character, the actress who played Vasquez actually had a career, though minor, of sorts with Star Trek.
She appeared in 1994’s Star Trek: Generations as a science officer on the U.S.S. Enterprise-B to start the film, as Generations was beginning the film portion of The Next Generation, it was a neat little moment to marrie the inspiration for a main character into the show’s tapestry as it transformed to film.
She would then do voice work for the 2000 video game Star Trek: Invasion, before appearing in the franchise again for 2019’s Short Trecks, where she appeared in two episodes as the computer voice of the U.S.S. Enterprise.
The most ironic thing? Despite her character inspiring Yar, Goldstein herself was among the early candidates to portary the role.