Some Star Trek fans want Majel Barrett to always voice Star Trek computers.
Majel Barrett would’ve been 90 years old this past Wednesday, and in honor of her birthday, many Star Trek fans took to the interwebs to talk about her. Us included. Yet, one Facebook group, Everything Star Trek (private), suggested that even though Barrett is gone, she shouldn’t be forgotten; or replaced.
They believe that because Barrett’s voice is recorded phonetically, she should be used as the standard voice for all Star Trek ship’s computers going forward. Even though she passed away 14 years ago. This is something that her son, Rod Roddenberry (also the son of Gene Roddenberry), was in favor of in 2016 when Star Trek: Discovery was in production.
That didn’t end up happening, as the role went to Annabelle Wallis. Despite fans’ admiration and support around Barrett maintaining the role of the ship’s computer, we should move on from her. She’ll always be an icon, but she’s gone.
Acting is for the living, and the trend of using deceased actors to reprise their roles is frankly, gross.
Star Trek should avoid the mistakes of Star Wars
I want to be clear, this is a bad idea for any film or movie, but I’m using Star Wars as the example due to it being the property I’m most aware of having done this. While some will think about how Star Wars special effect designers de-aged Luke Skywalker and used a computer program to help make him youthful again, I’m thinking more of what they did with horror icon Peter Cushing.
Cushing was re-created for Star Wars: Rogue One, for nothing more than a throw-away scene in a movie most people forgot. While some will bring up all sorts of positives, frankly, there’s no positive that can get past the extortion of a person.
Cushing wasn’t alive to consent to the role. His likeness was used and he had no say in that. That alone should be enough to not do it. Yes, you can argue that the family signed off on it, but that’s not a good justification. He didn’t.
Not only that, but if this is becoming a trend, then where does it stop? Do actors stop being people? Do we start signing away likenesses and then a computer does all the work? What about the human experience? That’s the whole point of acting, to relate to one another through storytelling.
There’s a quote form Supernatural that’s fitting here; “What’s dead should stay dead”.
I get that people don’t want to let Barrett and other icons of their past go, but you have to. There should be an end for all of us. It’s what makes our time together meaningful. Let new people have the opportunity to forge their own legacies, and let’s let the icons of the past lay undisturbed.