Famous Historical Icons That May Not Have Existed
Let's be real. Star Trek is more than just a massive film and TV franchise. It's become a beacon for everything nerdy and sci-fi that has influenced Hollywood. It's a pop-culture icon in its own right. With that, we can't help but look back at all the amazing women who have taken on the mantle of being a Star Trek character. Here are some of the most famous female appearances on Star Trek. Trekkies, these are the women you've been dreaming of.
Let's kick things off with a face/character; you're probably fresh in your memory of the franchise. J. J. Abrams's Star Trek reboot came with a fresh, modern, and less-campy take on the beloved franchise's titular roster of characters, the original Enterprise crew. The iconic role of communications officer Nyota Uhura was reimagined with all the best parts of the original dialed up to 100%. Only one actress could have made this possible.
The most recent iteration of Lt. Uhura is made possible by the amazing talents of Zoe Saldana. Her take on the titular character was more focused on her technical skills, quick-wit and intelligence, and ability to bring out the humanity in Spock. She could also go toe-to-toe with any of the crew's enemies.
If you didn't already know, Zoe Saldana is one of Hollywood's highest-grossing actors to date. It seems like the actress knows how to pick her roles. They almost always have the potential to be blockbuster franchises. You know her as Gamora from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, let's not forget that she's also the lead for James Cameron's Avatar. With Star Trek, that makes three of Hollywood's hottest properties.
We can't talk about the new Lt. Uhura without giving props to her forebearer. While many might say that Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) Uhura is full of dated and less-than-acceptable gender tropes, the character was groundbreaking. Along with George Takei's Sulu, the character was Gene Roddenberry's tool for slowly pushing racial integration into the show's casting choices.
The woman that gave life to the TOS version of Uhura was Nichelle Nichols. It isn't a secret that the actress wanted to leave the show because of all the stereotypical tropes they put her and the character in. However, Nichols was convinced by none other than Martin Luther King Jr. because to him, her role had more social impact than she had realized. Nichols heeded the advice, and things did change.
For the most part, it seemed like showrunners of TOS just loved putting Uhura in situations where her uniform would tear apart one way or another. This just made the character a sex symbol for the show's endearing legions of fans later on. The episode about the "Mirror Universe" comes to mind the most. Everyone loved that version of Uhura. We did too!
Star Trek: Voyager introduced Seven of Nine in its fourth season premiere. Serving as the Borg envoy on board the Voyager, Seven of Nine got stranded on the Voyager after the destruction of her cube and the end of the temporary alliance between the Starfleet crew and the Borg. She eventually became an essential member of the Voyager crew.
According to CBR, the creation of the character was the show's attempt at introducing a character that had an agnostic relationship with Captain Janeway. The show also needed a way to keep its primary viewership demographic, male teenagers, glued to their television screens. Thus, the beautiful and talented Jeri Ryan was cast.
Ryan was featured on over one hundred episodes as the Borg-turned Starfleet crew member. It was her first long-term role on television after starting her acting career six years prior in 1991. Her success on Star Trek: Voyager and all those form-fitting catsuits earned Ryan mixed criticism but undoubtedly launched a solid career in television. She recently reprised the role of Seven of Nine in 2020's Picard.
Another character from the prime Star Trek universe that made it into J. J. Abrams' reboot trilogy was Carol Marcus. In The Wrath of Khan, Marcus was revealed to be an accomplished scientist and Captain Kirk's former flame. She was re-introduced in a scene-stealing manner in 2013's Star Trek: Into Darkness, with Alice Eve taking on the role's duties.
Some Star Trek fans have this running joke that everyone in the "Kelvin Universe" or the J. J. Abrams reboot trilogy is hotter. Alice Eve entering the scene as Carol Marcus definitely made added more reality to the running joke. Before joining the Star Trek family, Eve gave an impressive performance in Entourage, She's Out of My League, and Men In Black 3.
Since making her mark on the Star Trek franchise, and just like Zoe Saldana, Alice Eve has also been snatched up by another franchise with a massive fanbase, Marvel. She was cast as the comic-book villain and sometimes anti-hero, Mary Walker, a.k.a Typhoid Mary on Iron Fist. Most recently, she's been on EPIX's period drama, Belgravia.
If you're a casual fan of the franchise, you might be surprised to find out that Star Trek: The Original Series had two pilot episodes. We'll talk about an awesome lady from the first one later on, but for now, let's discuss the second one. It was entitled "Where No Man Has Gone Before” (1966). The episode featured Dr. Elizabeth Dehner, a Starfleet psychiatrist that powers behind anyone's wildest dreams!
While the '60s, including her appearance on TOS, were filled with promising one-off appearances, Sally Kellerman never gave up on her dream to become a big name in Hollywood. It eventually became true when she landed the role of Maj. Margaret "Hot Lips" O'Houlihan on MASH. It would earn her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Ultimately, Sally Kellerman would carve out a career in Hollywood that would span an impressive sixty years! MASH would prove to be her launching point for a reputable film career. You'll also know her for roles in Last of the Red Hot Lovers and 1986's Back to School with Rodney Dangerfield.
Remember when we mentioned the TOS episode "Mirror Mirror" and said that we loved how Uhura was a little bit more naughty there? Well, the same episode introduced us to Lt. Marlena Moreau. She was Captain Kirk's mistress in the Mirror Universe, and boy was she a tantalizing figure.
By the time Barbara Luna appeared as the scene-stealing figure of Lt. Moreau, she had already become a seasoned actress. She started her career on Broadway, debuting as a teenager. Her early film roles include late-50s films like Tank Battalion, Cry Tough, and The Blue Angel. She'd also feature in Burt Lancaster's Elmer Gantry in 1960. She was only 21-years-old at the time.
Barbara Luna took part in over a hundred films and television shows altogether. On top of that, she's also acted in about just as many stage productions on and off Broadway. The woman is an amazing and versatile actress. One role that comes to mind is her part as Frank Sinatra’s blind love interest in director Mervyn LeRoy’s The Devil at 4 O’Clock.
Only a handful of characters have had the honor of coming between the budding off-and-on bromance between Captain Kirk and Dr. Hank McCoy. Edith Keeler is one of those women. She broke both their hearts on the episode entitled “The City on the Edge of Forever.” Only an actress like Joan Collins could have the acting chops to do so.
To say that Joan Collins is an amazing actress would be an understatement. The woman is practically Hollywood royalty. The Golden Globe-winning actress was already an accomplished film actress by the time she was asked to guest star Edith Keeler on TOS. While she was endearing Trekkies and breaking their collective hearts, she was just getting started with television.
Nearly a decade and a half after appearing on TOS, and after several noteworthy film and television appearances, Joan Collins struck gold once more with Dynasty. As Alexis Carrington Colby on the daytime drama, Collins would be nominated for six Golden Globes, winning one and having another Primetime Emmy nomination too!
In the TOS episode "The Which Survives," the crew of the enterprise encounters the mysterious and beautiful Losira. What they don't find out until later is that Losira is as deadly as she is beautiful. In the end, they find out that she is a projection of a doomed planet's defense system and eventually do away with her as heroes do.
The actress who played Losira, however, wasn't that easy to dismiss from our screens. Lee Meriweather had already been in the acting business for about ten years when she showed up on the set of TOS. She was known for her roles in The Time Tunnel and Batman a couple of years prior.
Meriweather would be featured once more in the Batman franchise, but this time as Catwoman in Batman: The Movie in 1966. Older television fans will recognize her for her roles as Buddy Ebsen’s secretary, Betty Jones, in Barnaby Jones and Lily Munster in The Munsters Today. She has also lent her voice to the Batman franchise for the animated projects and even a couple of video games like Metal Gear Solid.
Princes Eleen of Capella IV served as one of the focal points of the TOS episode titled "Friday's Child." In the episode, the crew of the Enterprise is tasked with securing a mining contract. The mission goes sideways when the sovereign of the planet dies, leaving his pregnant wife and their unborn child in danger. Cultural differences and Dr. McCoy's determination to help the princess ends up in some entertaining comedic moments. A total face-slapper.
It's not surprising that the people running TOS cast Julie Newmar as the beautiful yet head-strong Princess Eleen. After all, the actress had already named herself an undoubtedly beautiful actress who can hold her own as a femme fatal. She, too, played Catwoman in the Batman television series with Adam West but was also the lead in My Living Doll a few years prior.
When the '70s and '80s rolled in, quality work began to decline. Newmar appeared in several low-budget films that we think she'd love to forget. She ended up focusing her life outside of showbusiness, save for the occasional guest star. She has dabbled in real estate and even designed her own lingerie. During her prime years in Hollywood, Newmar was a sex symbol. Nonetheless, the Tony Award-winning actress will always be a princess to her fans' eyes.
It's not unheard of for television shows to cast a certain actor for different roles. For this actress, however, Star Trek: The Original Series had her on three times. She played Dr. Ann Mulhall and the godlike astral projecting alien Thalassa in the episode “Return to Tomorrow.” Then she came back one season later as Dr. Miranda Jones, a blind telepath.
By looking at Diana Muldaur, we know that TOS would have been crazy not to ask her back on the show. Muldaur had a great start with her career, with early roles as Ann Carwell in a five-episode arc for The Doctors. Her first two outings for the Star Trek franchise would prove to be a launching pad for the talented actress.
While Muldaur's career didn't reach international fame and all-star acclaim, it was a respectable one. She received two Primetime Emmy nominations for Best Supporting Actress for her part in L.A. Law. What's more, Star Trek invited her back to the franchise as Doctor Pulaski in Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) for 20 whole episodes.
Speaking of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the crew of the USS Enterprise-D, had to have their own sex symbol. This was Deanna Troi. Serving as the resident counselor for the Starfleet crew, Troi knew what everyone was feeling. It also helps that she was half-Betazoid which meant that she was a telepath.
Counselor Deanna Troi was Marina Sirtis's breakout role. She portrayed the character for 176 episodes of TNG, TNG's succeeding films, guest-starred on Voyager. Since then, she's had success in both film and television and lent her voice to animated projects. However, it looks like Star Trek is never really far away.
For better or worse, stars of a franchise as huge as Star Trek seem like they can never be disassociated from it. This proves to be a good thing for Sirtis as it looks like Star Trek is coming up with big things as of late. She recently reappeared as Troi for an episode of Picard and Star Trek: Lower Decks.
Say what you will about TOS, but there is no doubt that they really did give its fans some memorable characters. Even small, supporting characters that were never given names have had lasting impressions on the fandom. Hence, the Orion slave girls make this list. Before enterprise making them more than just slaves with "prowess," the intense quantity of pheromones their skin releases sent fans of the show quivering in their seats.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a Star Trek fan who has no idea who Susan Oliver was. As Vina, the green-skinned, blue-eyed slave girl dancing in "The Cage," she commanded your attention. The image of her is tattooed in the minds of most, if not all, Trekkies. What you might not know is that she was once one of Hollywood's most eccentric actresses.
Between 1960-170, Susan Oliver was one of the most in-demand actresses. She had appeared in over sixty-five films and television shows in a span of ten years. She was also an incredible figure off the screen. Oliver was also a pilot and is the fourth woman to fly a single-engine aircraft solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Susan Oliver wanted to write, act, direct, and produce when women in Hollywood were being boxed into social stereotypes. She was truly ahead of her time.
TOS featured two Orion women, but it definitely wouldn't be the last time they'd be mentioned in the franchise. Though considered a semi-offensive plot device from Star Trek's archaic past, these characters are some of the Trekkie fandom's most beloved characters to cosplay. There's really no need to ask why.
In the TOS episode "Whom Gods Destroy," a second Orion woman is introduced. This time, her name is Marta, and Yvonne Craig played her. She tries to seduce and kill Captain Kirk but is eventually stopped by First Officer Spock. She later meets a terrible end at the hands of the episode's main villain. She's also the third actress from The Batman TV series to make it to TOS.
Fans of the campy sixties Batman TV series will remember that Yvonne Craig also played Barbara Gordon. That's right, folks, the Orion girl who tried to poison Captain Kirk also played Batgirl. Unlike the other stars on this list, Craig slowly made her way out of Hollywood a little over a decade after appearing on Star Trek.
With the successful introduction of Jeri Ryan's Seven of Nine, the showrunners of Star Trek: Enterprise thought it would be best to continue the "hot-as-hell ice queen" character trope. Thus the Vulcan science officer T'Pol was introduced to Trekkies worldwide. She also came with a catsuit-like uniform for, you know, continuity.
A relatively fresh-faced actress named Jolene Blalock was given the opportunity of a lifetime on Enterprise. Before this, Blalock had about three years and a handful of one-off TV credits to her name. She would be W.I.R.E.D Magazine's 10th most important and ScreenRant's 8th most attractive Starfleet character.
Blalock is long past her days playing Subcommander T'Pol. After Enterprise was canceled in 2005, roles have been few and far between for the actress. However, it doesn't seem like she has a problem with it. These days, she's a happily married mother of three running her humanitarian foundation with her husband. So she's still every bit the hero she was on TV.
There's a laundry list of reasons why Number One takes the final spot on this list. Let's start with the basics. Number One appeared in the original, unaired pilot of Star Trek: The Original Series. She was a strong female character in a position of power. She was Captain Pike's first officer, which didn't rub the studio the right way, so things had to be changed.
That, however, didn't stop Majel Barret's involvement in the franchise. Barret would later become Gene Roddenberry's wife. This allowed her to take part in creating the beloved franchise. She became the voice of other characters for the animated series. Of course, TOS still had a spot for her as Nurse Chapel.
Her Star Trek accolades don't stop there! Almost every iteration of Star Trek has seen or more likely heard Majel's voice. She was the narrator for Deep Space 9, the USS Enterprise's computer's voice in TNG, Voyager, and almost every Star Trek film. For Trekkies and other fans of the franchise, she's really the Queen of the franchise.
While there are so many other amazing female actors that graced the screens of the different Star Trek films and TV shows, these are our top picks. Did yours make the cut? Are you looking to go where no man has gone before as well boldly? Share your love for the Star Trek franchise in the comment section. For more fun lists like this, check out Amomedia!