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The cast of the original Star Trek series is the very definition of iconic. The cast may have suffered from type-casting, and few had particularly stellar post-Trek careers, but even most people who don't know the show can recognize the actors on sight, even if they can't name them. They're an indelible part of pop culture, just like Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher over in that other space franchise (sadly, none of them achieved the same stardom as Ford). However, according to a new tidbit of info from Trek actress Nichelle Nichols, the crew of the Enterprise might have looked a little different if she'd won the role she initially read for...Spock.
The revelation comes from an interview Nichols gave the Huffington Post about the new documentary Trek Nation (which was made by Gene Roddenberry son, Rod Roddenberry). Here's what Nichols had to say about her first interview and audition for Star Trek:
They gave me a three-page script to read from that had three characters named Bones, Kirk and somebody called Spock, and they asked me if I would read for the role of Spock. When I looked at this great text, I said to myself, 'I'll take any one of these roles,' but I found the Spock character to be very interesting, and I asked them to tell me what she [Spock] was like.
As The Mary Sue points out, this audition was likely before the character of Spock -- at least the version we know now -- really existed. Trek fans will recall that the show originally portrayed Spock as anything but emotionless, even grinning at one point. The template that became Spock was instead occupied by Number One, the Enterprise's first officer, played by Majel Barrett, who was at the time dating Gene Roddenberry. Number One was portrayed as emotionally chilly and intensely logical, attributes that were later shifted onto Spock when Number One got the axe, Majel became Nurse Chapel, and Leonard Nimoy as Spock got a promotion to First Officer.
So, perhaps Nichols was actually reading for the Number One role? Maybe Number One was officially named Spock at the time? We're diving deeper than my knowledge of Trek trivia reaches at this point. Either way, it's a fascinating little historical footnote. Just imagine how different Trek might have been if Spock was played not by Leonard Nimoy, but by Nichelle Nichols. Does that mean Nimoy would have played Uhura? Did he have the legs to rock a miniskirt back then?