Before Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Nyota Uhura wasn’t given much of a backstory.
Aboard the USS Enterprise on Star Trek: The Original Series, Lt. Nyota Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols, spent most of her time confined to the communications console. “Hailing frequences open” was often one of her only contributions to an episode. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds has started the change in Uhura, bringing her aboard the Enterprise under Captain Christopher Pike’s command as first a cadet in season one and an ensign in season two.
But in a Star Trek: Picard season two, viewers saw a brief glimpse of a commemorative plaque indicating a young Picard had served aboard the USS Leondegrance under Captain Uhura. The idea got its roots in a proposed Short Treks episode that never came to fruition with the idea that Picard would have been mentored by Uhura. With the death of Nichelle Nichols, we were never able to see that onscreen. Yet, we’ve seen other Star Trek characters’ promotions like Captain Sulu.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds could be the beginning of a promotion we’ll finally be able to see for Nyota Uhura.
We know very little about what happened to Captain Kirk’s (William Shatner) crew after the last Star Trek movie, but seeing the plaque, we know that Uhura had been promoted and served as the captain of the Leondegrance from 2301 to 2305. The ship was commissioned in 2288 for a five year mission of exploration in the Lesser Magellanic Cloud before becoming an Academy training ship in 2317. Uhura remained captain until 2333.
That’s a lot of ground to cover, and though some Star Trek fans are saying there should be less focus on Legacy characters, the underutilized characters have had rich futures that never really unfolded onscreen after Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Uhura was never seen after that movie. Though it would require a recast of an older Uhura, (or an aged Celia Rose Gooding) it seems only fitting that we learn more about this underused character since we know, at least briefly, what happened to the other characters aboard Kirk’s Enterprise.
At this point, even bringing back a Short Treks episode would be welcome for Uhura since this is an important piece of history and one that shouldn’t go unseen.