There are few franchises as beloved as Star Trek. Spanning both TV and film, generations of sci-fi fans have sat down to watch where no man has gone before. And it all began with the original Star Trek series, starring Will Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and Nichelle Nichols. Nichols played the original Uhura, making history when she and Shatner participated in the first interracial kiss in TV history. Overall, she is known for being one of the first true African American TV stars, and Nichelle Nichols recently spoke to the importance of the franchise, including where the property stands for modern audiences.
It looks like Nichelle Nichols understands how much the fandom is truly apart of the Star Trek community at this point. Original fans shared their excitement down generations, and with new films and a TV series being produced, the sci-fi epic is given a modern flare.
Nichelle Nichols's comments to the LA Times also highlights how the franchise has been a mold breaker many times during its tenure on the air. The original series was inclusive and diverse in a time where most shows were almost exclusively made of caucasian actors. Yet Nichols and George Takei were able to join the series as regulars, allowing African Americans and Asian Americans to have someone to look up to an identify with on television.
And the Star Trek franchise has always continued to push for more inclusivity and equal representation. The most recent film series retconned Sulu as a gay man, which seemed polarizing for both the fans and George Takei.
And when the cast of Star Trek: Discovery began leaking out, there were naysayers that weren't sure about the show's inclusive cast. While some fans were miffed about Walking Dead alumnus Sonequa Martin-Green having the lead role, there were also critics of Anthony Rapp's gay character, as well as Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh keeping her authentic accent on the series. These types of problems were usually rebuffed by the hardcore fandom, who seems to be aware that diversity was always what series creator Gene Roddenberry was envisioning with the original cast. Regardless, these fans are very passionate, which is likely why Star Trek has been such a lasting franchise for these decades.
It's currently unclear if the current Star Trek film franchise stands, and how it'll factor into Quentin Tarantino's developing film. Star Trek: Discovery is streaming on CBS All Access. In the meantime, check out our midseason premiere lis to plan your next binge watch, and our cancellation list to see if your favorite show got the chop this year.